The fun parts of cloud training

The pivotal moment must have been at the end of the first day, as we were sipping a beer on the roadside terrace. But more on that later.

Last week I concluded my 35th CCSK training. It was great fun, and more importantly, my participants had great fun too. And we could walk everywhere.

An international audience had come to my hometown of Utrecht, and almost half of the participants came from abroad.

My training location (Trainspot) is very conveniently located. I can walk to it from my home, it has a bus stop right in front of it and a parking garage a few yards away.

The international visitors admired the city. There are a number of hotels within walking distance and it is also just a short walk to the medieval city center and the typical canals (the one that is called the “new canal” was dug in 1132). After flying into the well connected Amsterdam airport, it is only a half-hour train ride into town.

The group was nicely on time the first day so we could start promptly with a round of introductions. There was a concentration of risk management professionals but some also had good architectural experience. This led to interesting conversations about how to transform companies and make them ready for the cloud mindset, be it public or private cloud.

We had lunch in a different restaurant every day, but all of them are just a short stroll away. It sure helped that it was nicely warm and sunny, so we had lunch outside if the venue permitted. The first lunch was in the park that Trainspot faces. At the end of that day I had proposed a social event in a restaurant (you guessed it: within walking distance) on the Biltstraat. I always enjoy bringing people together in an informal setting, and it definitely set a good atmosphere for the next two days.

We were winding down from the interesting day, getting to know each other a bit more, and the foreigners were really struck by the incessant stream of bicycles passing by our terrace in the commuting hour. It also impressed them to know that the Tour de France would pass within 50 meters of that spot on the following weekend.

The second day brought the start of the practical exercises. In CCSK training we actually build ourselves a working secure application on Amazon Web Services. This is built up in steps as we demonstrate various realistic cloud security controls.

What I also liked was that one of the international participants joined me as a guest at my Toastmasters meeting on Tuesday night. When I am abroad I try to visit local Toastmaster meetings. Guests are always welcome. Our Toastmasters motto is to provide a fun and safe environment in which to practice public speaking. In my trainings I try to apply that as well.

Then after three days it was over again, sadly. What remains is the feeling of having been a close-knit group working together, and being part of a community for a few days. In a way that is in great contrast with modern city life where everybody commutes anonymously to work for hours every day. And this holds even stronger in the cloud where we are totally independent of location.

Maybe you want to join me one day in one of these classes. Have a look at the calendar.