A Cloud Guru Reimagines Their Data with Trek10

To help them validate their PoC and do some of the legwork on the implementation, ACG decided to bring in the data engineering experts at Trek10.

A Cloud Guru is a go-to learning platform for individuals who want to advance their careers in the cloud and businesses who want to accelerate their cloud journey. From the earliest stages of the company, they had their eyes set on becoming the world leader in online cloud training.

As their usership skyrocketed, A Cloud Guru began looking for ways to expand their offerings and, in late 2019, announced their acquisition of Linux Academy, paving the way to becoming the world’s most effective hands-on platform for cloud learning.

Almost overnight, A Cloud Guru had become a much bigger company with growing data and infrastructure needs. Plus, the two companies had different pre-existing data management systems. To bring Linux Academy and A Cloud Guru together and make the most of their data, A Cloud Guru needed to create a new, unified data architecture from the ground up.

The data engineering team at A Cloud Guru put together a solid Proof of Concept for the new data platform, which reimagined the way data across the two companies was collected, stored, and analyzed. As this architecture would be the foundation of the new data platform for years to come, they wanted to get it right, and they wanted it up and running as quickly as possible.

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“We were actively defining the future architecture of our data platform. Trek10 recognized that, and they took the time to get to know us, to understand the needs of our team and our business.” - Alexandre Barreto, VP of Engineering at A Cloud Guru

To help them validate their PoC and do some of the legwork on the implementation, A Cloud Guru decided to bring in the data engineering experts at Trek10.

Being Intentional About Data

The most foundational change A Cloud Guru wanted to make was the way they thought about data acquisition: they wanted to make the data more structured and easily consumable for the analytics team.

“There was so much data not being used in the legacy data warehouse that it was difficult for the analytics team to use. With our PoC, we wanted to start asking ourselves why we need this, where it’s coming from, and how the analytics team will consume it. We wanted to position our data platform to deliver the best possible solution as A Cloud Guru’s needs grow and evolve.” - Alexandre Barreto, VP of Engineering at A Cloud Guru

A Cloud Guru’s new data ingestion system would drop all incoming data into a platform, where it would be transformed and filtered. Raw data (Tier 1) was standardized—A Cloud Guru used DynamoDB for data management while Linux Academy used RDS, which required different ingestion methods—into Tier 2 data, which was stored in a data lake. Some of the data was then transformed as Tier 3 data to be ready for analytics consumption. All data was stored in S3, where it could be quickly analyzed using Athena or Redshift Spectrum.

“The trust our data engineering team had in Trek10 folks was great. They were so easy to work with and extremely knowledgeable. There was no challenge, big or small, that Trek10 couldn’t help.” - Alexandre Barreto, VP of Engineering at A Cloud Guru

The Pieces Fall Into Place

A Cloud Guru needed to get from the planning stage to production-ready in only a few months. Trek10 pitched in on the implementation work, speeding up the process of building key capabilities and giving A Cloud Guru more time to focus on curating data sets.

There were a lot of changes happening for A Cloud Guru’s data engineering team, and it was important for them to feel confident in the new direction since they would be the ones maintaining it and building upon it for years to come. From the earliest stages of the project, the focus was making sure that the data engineers at A Cloud Guru felt proficient in the new systems they were building with Trek10’s support.

“Trek10 understood where we were and where we needed to go. They ran a workshop to gather our requirements, get everyone on the same page with the new technology we were bringing in, and highlight what we needed to consider for the future.” - Alexandre Barreto, VP of Engineering at A Cloud Guru

A Cloud Guru Looks to the Future

When Alexandre Barreto thinks about what’s next for A Cloud Guru, he goes immediately into bringing together the strengths and benefits of both A Cloud Guru and Linux Academy platforms. “We want to provide our users with hundreds of new courses, quizzes and exams, and expanded features like Hands-on Labs and Cloud Playground across all three major cloud providers, providing the most comprehensive cloud learning experience out there.”

From a data engineering standpoint, Alexandre is excited to continue evolving their data platform, enabling self-service capabilities to onboard new sources fast, and continuing to make it easier for operational data to inform business decisions.

“I’m incredibly confident in our team and what we’ve built so far,” Alexandre says. “The importance of data across every aspect of A Cloud Guru is growing exponentially. Our ability to compete will increasingly be driven by how well we can leverage data, apply analytics and implement new technologies. Our data platform is the foundation piece to enable all that.”