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Journey Into Alibaba Cloud — A Beginner’s Guide

Adit Modi
AWS Community Builder | DEV moderator for #cloud , #aws , #devops and #bigdata .
Updated on ・6 min read

Alibaba Cloud, founded in 2009, is registered and headquartered in Singapore. It was initially built to serve Alibaba’s own e-commerce ecosystem and is now offered to the public. Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud provider in China.

My Background: I am Cloud and Big Data Enthusiast , I am here because I love to Talk about Cloud. I am 11x Cloud Certified Expert. 4x AWS Certified , 3x Oracle Cloud Certified , 3x Azure Certified 1x Alibaba Cloud Certified .

What’s all the hype with Alibaba?

I’m sure you’ve had Alibaba frequently popping up in your feed. It’s a hot topic, covered often in both business and technology news.

Alibaba is China’s online shopping giant that is often compared to Amazon. Just as Amazon has a cloud computing business with AWS, so does Alibaba.

While AWS is the more established player with the largest market share and estimated revenues of $17bn last year, it is the rapid growth rate of Alibaba that is actually making people take notice:
“Alibaba Cloud growing like gangbusters, but still far behind AWS and other market leaders.” — Techcrunch

So it’s all about where Alibaba is projected to be in a few years, not necessarily where they are today.

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How to Get Started with Alibaba Cloud ?

As a new user of Alibaba Cloud, you can access a free trial worth up to USD $450 or $1,300. This will allow you to learn about and experience a range of the products and services available across the Alibaba Cloud platform.

If you sign up for a free trial as an individual, you will get $450. If you are a registered company, you may choose Enterprise free trial and submit basic info to pass the enterprise real-name registration verification before starting your free trial to the value of $1,300.

What is the ACE Exam?

Alibaba Cloud offers three levels of certifications, Associate, Professional, and Expert. Alibaba Cloud Expert Certification (ACE) is an advanced level certification and is designed for those who are highly proficient and experienced in a specific technical field.

Unlike other cloud providers, who provide just two levels of certifications, Alibaba Cloud Expert certification offers more comprehensive content and covers extensive knowledge requirements. It requires multifaceted capabilities and is undoubtedly worth the effort. It’s important to note that the ACE certification does not just include Alibaba Cloud technologies but also enhances your knowledge about the whole gamut of cloud technologies.

How Much Is the ACE Exam Fee?

At just USD 168, you get a comprehensive learning path that prepares you to have a stronghold in the cloud computing industry. Currently, Alibaba Cloud offers ACE certification at an attractive discount, and in comparison with the other cloud vendors, it’s a significant saving and ideal deal. You can make the most of this opportunity by registering today.

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What Are the Prerequisites for the ACE Exam?

Currently, there are no limits or prerequisites for the ACE exam globally. However, the prerequisites for the ACE exam in Mainland China are quite stringent. It requires more than 5-year working experience in the cloud technology and has criteria to pass the related Alibaba Cloud Professional (ACP) exam.
What Is the ACE Exam Duration and Score Criteria?
The total duration of the ACE Cloud Computing exam is 150 minutes, and the passing score is 90 out of an overall score of 150. Unlike other cloud computing exams, it offers a fixed score criteria to pass the exam.

The ACE certification is designed to test your knowledge thoroughly and thus structures the exam into single choice and multiple-choice questions, and every question carries 2 points each. The following table shows further details about the exam structure:

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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.

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My Suggestions: In order to get ACE Certified , you will first need to gather basic understanding of the Alibaba Cloud. I would suggest start with learning Alibaba Cloud by practicing various tutorials available here. Once familiar with basic knowledge about four aspects, deployment efficiency improvement, flexible resource management, convenient architecture optimization, and compliance control , try practicing with the help of ACE practice Exams , once clear with the concepts, it would be a matter of time before you get Alibaba Cloud Certified.

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I hope these article will help you in preparing for the Alibaba Cloud Expert certification exam. I look forward to hearing about your experiences. Do share your ACE journeys and key takeaways from this interesting learning experience.

If you have any doubt or unable to understand any concept feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.
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“It doesn’t matter if I failed. At least I passed the concept on to others. Even if I don’t succeed, someone will succeed.” ~Jack Ma

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