Practical IT Clouds: What To Do AFTER The Hype

by drjim on May 20, 2009

Cloud Computing Will Require A Whole Different Set Of IT Skills

Cloud Computing Will Require A Whole Different Set Of IT Skills

Talk about your latest buzz word overkill! Just when the “Web 2.0” madness had just about hit its peak, along came “Cloud Computing” and took its crown. It’s looking like cloud computing is here to stay, so what’s an IT department to do once they get done studying the whole thing?

Your IT department will eventually use cloud computing. There, I’ve said it. If you don’t believe me, then go back and read those words to yourself out-loud several times until you do. It’s coming and there’s nothing that you can do to stop it. Just like outsourcing, it makes good economic sense and so all other objections will be worked out over time.

The idea that organizations can increase their computing power without having to buy, install, maintain, power, and cool more and more boxes is just too attractive to the bean counters to ignore. This puts IT in a tricky spot: our world is getting ready to be turned upside down – are you ready?

Here’s the problem: a lot of the support jobs that IT does today will go away along with “the boxes”. What nobody seems to realize is that they will be replaced by new IT jobs. If you’re running an IT shop, you’d better be ready!

Here are the new Cloud Computing tasks that are coming your way that you’re going to have to find ways to staff:

  • Extend: you’re going to have to come up with ways to create bridges between your existing network environment and the cloud. Oh, and then you’re going to have staff to maintain those bridges.
  • Pick: you’re going to have to pick a couple of cloud service providers. Once you’re in bed with them, you are going to have to have staff to monitor how they are performing and to provide the human interface to fix the issues that always show up.
  • Monitor: forget outages, what about day-to-day issues? You are going to need staff to monitor and mange the apps that you have running “in the cloud”.
  • Identify: who on your staff is allowed to do what? Since the old rules about getting access to boxes no longer apply, you’re going to need new rules and new staff to enforce and update them.
  • Encrypt: since you are now going to be storing data off site and “out there”, encryption becomes more than a nice-to-have, now it’s a necessity. Somebody on your staff is going to have to be double checking everything all the time to make sure that it REALLY IS encrypted.
  • Plan: for the worst. Data link outages are going to be a much bigger deal then they ever used to be. How will you handle being disconnected from your cloud for an hour, a day, a week? Somebody had better be put in charge of solving this problem and keeping this solution updated.
  • Mange: your bandwidth. Now that the link between you and your cloud has become critical to how the business runs, you had better have someone on it at all times.

We’re looking at a brave new future. Do you have the right staff with the right set of skills in order to make the most of it?

Is your IT shop currently using cloud computing or just thinking about it? How does the rest of the business feel about this? Do you have any plans on retraining your staff to work in a cloud computing world? How do they feel about this? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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