By Wenson Ding, Alibaba Cloud Certified Expert (ACE)
This article is the second part of the My Alibaba Cloud ACE Experience series, where I share my experience of completing the Alibaba Cloud Expert (ACE) certification. It explains the technical key points of Alibaba Cloud computing service. It outlines the ACE certification course content into three sections: Alibaba Cloud Knowledge, Common IT Knowledge, and Exam-specific Capabilities. Before we deep dive into each segment, I recommend you refer to the detailed exam outline.
Alibaba Cloud Knowledge
Alibaba Cloud Expert certification offers IT professionals and technical experts across functions to demonstrate and validate their knowledge in Alibaba Cloud Computing. This exam qualifies their advanced technical skills and experience in designing distributed applications and systems on Alibaba Cloud. Let’s take a quick look at the knowledge requirements to pursue this course.
- Familiarity with basic concepts of Alibaba Cloud computing products, including Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Server Load Balancer (SLB), Auto Scaling, Object Storage Service (OSS), Content Distribution Network (CDN), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Alibaba Cloud Security, and CloudMonitor. It is an essential requirement, and in my perspective, it will be useful if you read more about ECS, SLB, Auto Scaling, CDN, VPC, RDS (DRDS), OSS, Big Data, Migration and Hybrid Cloud, Security & Access Control, Middleware, and IoT.
- Understanding of main application scenarios of Alibaba Cloud computing products, and scenarios where the products are applied in a combination. Thorough knowledge of ECS and its related concepts, including the snapshot, backup policy, security group, disk encryption, and RAM instance role, is essential.
- Grasp of fundamental operations of Alibaba Cloud computing products, such as provisioning, creation, configuration, starting, stopping, and deletion, is a must-have. Understanding the design and deployment of scalable system architectures and familiarity with self-healing technology, fault tolerance service, disaster recovery, and failover policy helps you prepare for the exam better. All these requirements together give a better understanding of the solution architecture. Since the exam questions are scenario-based, it’s critical to understand the key concepts, including auto-scaling, SLB, high availability (HA), and disaster recovery, as they play a significant role in architecture design.
- Understanding of Alibaba Cloud’s big data products, including big data analysis and presentation, big data basic service, big data application service, and analysis and search service, is essential. Strong knowledge of MaxCompute, DataWorks, DataV, MapReduce, QuickBI, and PAI will place you in a better position to pass the exam.
- Familiarity with Alibaba Cloud’s security features and best practices is imperative. Understanding of services such as Anti-DDoS, Anti-DDos Basic (free, 5G), WAF, SSL Certificates, and KMS is helpful while attempting security related questions.
- An in-depth understanding of Alibaba Cloud-related network technologies, including DNS, SLB, VPC, NAT, VPN gateway, and Express Connect, helps tackle complex scenario-based questions. I recommend practical exercises such as building ECS as per different configurations and testing for a clear understanding of the concepts. Usually, questions are based on multinational corporation communication use-case scenarios. You need to choose the right service, such as DNS, Express connect, and VPN Gateway, along with RDS, ECS, and other services. Therefore, practical exercises are critical for exam preparation.
- Skills in applying Alibaba Cloud storage technologies, including Cloud Disk, OSS, and NAS will be useful in overall preparation. You must learn about OSS and its tools such as ossbrowser, ossutil , ossimport, ossftp,ossfsand, and some simple API commands.
- Understanding of Alibaba Cloud database technologies and the related methods that can be replicated like RDS, DRDS, Table Store, etc. is essential from the exam standpoint. You must know the RDS function, read-only instances, white list, TDE.
- Grasp of application migration to Alibaba Cloud is also crucial for exam preparation.
- The skilled application of Alibaba Cloud ROS and an in-depth understanding of RAM is another important requirement. Resource orchestration service (ROS) is the future of application development. You must have basic knowledge about four aspects, deployment efficiency improvement, flexible resource management, convenient architecture optimization, and compliance control.
- An in-depth understanding of Alibaba Cloud middleware technologies, such as EDAS and MQ, is another critical element of the ACE exam’s knowledge requirements.
Conventional IT Knowledge
ACE-Cloud Computing certification is designed for cloud engineers who are highly experienced in the IT field. It validates your technical expertise in cloud computing and other key concepts. Therefore, applicants must be proficient in conventional IT and cloud-related concepts. I am listing below the critical requirements for your quick reference:
- Basic understanding of general cloud computing concepts and knowledge of virtualization, storage, networks, and other related concepts.
- Knowledge of the typical web application architecture, including web servers, application servers, server load balancers, and databases.
- Experience in CDN application.
- Understanding of standard network protocols such as HTTP, FTP, TCP, UDP, and ICMP, etc.
- Network-related knowledge including routing, switching, routing tables, NAT, DNS, HTTP, DNS, TCP/IP, and OSI model, etc.
- Familiarity with the software development lifecycle.
- Understanding of multiple software development models, RESTful web service, XML, and JSON, etc.
- Knowledge of large-scale distributed system architecture.
- Familiarity with relational and non-relational databases.
- Understanding of network security fundamentals, such as firewall policies, key encryption, access control, network security, and network attack and protection.
- Understanding of information and application security concepts, including public-key encryption, remote access, access credentials, and certificate-based authorization.
In this section, I would like to focus on the key capabilities essential to pass the ACE certification exam effectively.
1) Elastic Computing and Network Design
- An in-depth understanding of elastic computing product features beyond the ACP certification required.
- Ability to deploy scalable front-end, middle-end, and back-end layers on Alibaba Cloud Application architecture.
- Deep understanding of the vertical and horizontal scaling of system structure.
- Sophisticated network design based on Alibaba Cloud.
2) Disaster Recovery and High Availability
- Implementation capabilities of DR systems based on RPO and RTO.
- Understand and the ability to architect self-healing and fault-tolerant systems.
- Ability to build the corresponding high availability system architecture based on requirements.
3) Application Deployment and Management
- Ability to manage the lifecycle of applications deployed on Alibaba Cloud.
- Ability to correctly deploy product development environment on Alibaba Cloud, test non-production environment, etc.
- Ability to select the most suitable Alibaba Cloud deployment mechanism based on different scenarios.
4) IoT and Big Data
- Thorough knowledge of Alibaba Cloud big data products.
- Ability to build a business structure based on big data products.
- Ability to select the most suitable Alibaba Cloud big data product based on different scenarios.
5) Database and Storage
- In-depth understanding of the function of the Alibaba Cloud database and storage products.
- Capability to design the best data and storage system architecture based on customer requirements.
- Deep understanding of synchronous and asynchronous replication of databases and related disaster recovery mechanisms.
6) Security and Access Control
- Ability to design a security management system based on Alibaba Cloud security products and understand relevant compliance.
- Knowledge of Alibaba Cloud Security products.
- Ability to select the most suitable Alibaba Cloud security product based on different scenarios.
7) Migration and Hybrid Cloud
- Ability to implement system-based cloud deployment as per Alibaba Cloud products.
- Ability to implement hybrid cloud deployment based on Alibaba Cloud products.
- Meticulous understanding of Alibaba Cloud middleware products.
- Ability to implement system architecture design based on Alibaba Cloud middleware products.
- Ability to deploy Alibaba Cloud middleware products.
With this, we complete the key points of the course requirements. In the next edition of this series, we will discuss how to better prepare for the ACE exam.