Google Acquires Qwiklabs to Teach Hands-On Cloud Building

Google may have intercepted something important from AWS: Qwiklabs bloomed into a partnership between AWS and Cloud vLab three years ago.

Google has snatched away an important tool of learning from one of its major competitors, Amazon Web Services.

The huge web services provider on Nov. 21 announced the acquisition of Qwiklabs, which currently provides hands-on lab learning environments to infrastructure software vendors for Amazon Web Services.

Terms of the transaction were not released.

Google has long provided platforms, tools and other resources for enterprises to run their own web services on the company's enterprise cloud. Now it will soon have the resources to provide hands-on lab learning environments for infrastructure software developers to build their own cloud platforms.

Qwiklabs Originally an AWS Partner

Qwiklabs bloomed into a partnership between AWS and Cloud vLab three years ago. Qwiklabs has been providing labs for AWS development; it's a wonder why AWS didn't beat Google to the punch and simply buy the company earlier.

AWS and Google cloud attributes are fundamentally independent from each other and require different development approaches. With the acquisition, Google undoubtedly will transform Qwiklabs from an AWS-oriented shop into one that points developers toward buying its own cloud tools and services.

It remains to be seen whether Google is magnanimous enough to continue training enterprise developers on how to best utilize the wares of its competitor, AWS, after it takes control of Qwiklabs.

Qwiklabs was vague in its own blog, not specifying anything about AWS in its statement.

"We plan to continue to offer lab learning credits and subscriptions for sale on Qwiklabs.com. Owners of existing credits and subscriptions continue to enjoy the same access to our library of hands-on labs. Our partners who deliver instructor-led training sessions and events can continue to do so," the company said.

Virtual Lab Learning Environment

Qwiklabs provides virtual lab learning environments that help developers and IT professionals get hands-on experience working with AWS and soon, Google. Learners can experience Qwiklabs virtual labs through authorized instructor-led training courses or through the extensive catalog of self-paced labs available at this site.

Qwiklabs' classes cover basic skills, including how to create an EC2 instance and how to use Elastic Block Store, Load Balancing and Auto Scaling. They also cover more advanced topics, such as how to use Amazon RDS for applications and how to work with CloudFormation. In total, the service currently offers 13 different classes.

Qwiklabs partners include AWS, Red Hat and Nvidia. The company is based in the Boston area.

"There's no faster way to get hands-on experience with a cloud environment and to learn all the ins and outs of today's modern cloud solutions than in a Qwiklabs lab," Google Director of Professional Services Jason Martin said in a blog post. "Qwiklabs offers step-by-step instructions to learn a popular cloud service, test different use cases and train your teams to become cloud experts.

"With Qwiklabs, we're closing the IP skills gap in the cloud."

Half-Million Users

More than a half-million users collectively have spent more than 5 million hours learning how to successfully deploy and manage multiple cloud technologies through the Qwiklabs platform, Martin said.

"We're focused on offering the most comprehensive, efficient, and fun way to train and onboard people across all our products on Google Cloud, including Google Cloud Platform and G Suite," Martin said.

"We want to help businesses get the most out of their cloud investment and, with Qwiklabs, we'll give users a place to learn and expand their cloud skills to deliver more innovation, more features and more efficiency for their customers."

You can view a video from last year's AWS:Reinvent conference about Qwiklabs here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...