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Cloud-Sourcing's Long-Term Impact On IT Careers 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-your-job-in-the-clouds dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld provides a reality check on the impact cloud computing will have on IT jobs, the overall effects of which will likely resemble those of outsourcing, automation, and utility computing — in other words, a movement away from the nuts and bolts of technology toward the business end of the organization. This shift from 'blue-collar IT to white-collar IT' will be accompanied by greater demand for IT pros experienced with virtualization and Web scale-out deployments, even among midlevel organizations, and greater emphasis on SaaS integration among in-house development teams, analysts say. And though the large-scale impact of 'cloud-sourcing' is likely a decade away, those not versed in vendor contract management, cloud integration, analytics, and RIA and mobile development may find themselves pushed toward the less technical jobs to come, those that will require days full of conference calls and putting out fires caused by doing business in the cloud."
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Cloud-Sourcing's Long-Term Impact On IT Careers

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  • SOX HIPPA etc (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mc1138 (718275) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:26AM (#28795063) Homepage
    While "Cloud" computing is here to stay, it is a while off, and opens interesting problems with different legal requirements caused by regulations. How does SOX integrate with Cloud computing. As it stands currently, it really doesn't because there is a lack, or at least perceived lack of accountability. While I can agree that we will see more widespread rollouts in the next ten years, for those working at publicly traded companies or in Health Care, you can expect to see a lot of systems still in house, albeit virtualized and distributed, rather than off site. All this article really does, is reiterate the importance for any IT professional to stay current or move into management.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:42AM (#28795217)

    And I say that as a sysadmin myself.

    There are thousands of businesses around the world that are just large enough to need a couple of full-time IT people of some description. These businesses account for a lot of IT jobs. If you actually crunch the numbers, the huge companies of this world don't employ that many people as a percentage of the working population.

    SaaS allows a business to grow much larger before it needs a full-time IT presence than was previously possible - all those crappy little applications (of which there are thousands) that IT technicians, sysadmins etc. got to know backwards and inside out and were next to useless in their next job are going the way of the dodo. PC so full of viruses and spyware it's virtually unusable? Considering the amount of money you'll pay per month for a full-time member of staff, it may well be cheaper to keep a couple of spares in the cupboard and just bin it when you hit trouble.

    This is great for the business - they can get more done for less money. Not so much for the sysadmin.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @10:57AM (#28795361)

    1) Flexibility: difficult to mold SaaS solution to your specific business operations.

    2) Reliability: requiring a connection to the internet adds an additional point of failure.

    3) Speed: easy to get 40mbps internally. Internet connect is more likely to be 1.5mbps split 50 ways.

    4) Cost: from what I have seen, SaaS is not especially cheap.

    5) Security: debatable.

    6) Vendor-lockin: if you need something changed on the server side, you only have one choice for the developers.

    I don't really know, and I suppose a lot of it is situational, but I am not certain that that is going to take over the world any time soon.

  • Re:Slow Progression (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:25AM (#28795725) Homepage Journal

    What the Industry sometimes fails to realize is that it is IT people who make or break the products. From the majority of /, readers responses to all these Cloud Computing posts, the main concerns are reliability and security. Reliability may be solved soon, but I feel security will always be a neverending list of crackers and incompetence on the part of the cloud utility. Too many stories of losing usb keys, laptops, security passes, passwords, etc, on the part of large "no fail" companies that should know better. Most businesses will be very very adverse to giving up control of their data, and somehow I don't see that ever changing, even when they claim the risk is almost 0%.

    When the cloud utility is Google, IBM, Amazon or some other mega corporation there is no way in hell that the security or reliability will be any worse than what a small company can muster on their own. The writing's been on the wall for a long time now, but many techies that love dealing with server infrastructure doesn't want to give up control of what they have, or aren't able to admit that someone else can do their job better. It is the same thinking which is why some people still insist on building their own servers by assembling the hardware components themselves and running Gentoo instead of buying something pre-packaged. Economies of scale doesn't work out very well for those.

  • Re:Slow Progression (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:25AM (#28795737) Journal

    Even virtualisation has been held back by the 'needs' of the small and medium business - most have no need for it.

    I would beg to differ. Most don't see the NEED for virtualization, but I can assure you that it is very much a hidden asset (need) that is not being fulfilled.

    Most people see technology as "we'll fix it when it breaks". And they have no idea how much their lives and businesses depend on it, until it disappears.

    Long term replacement plans are never employed, and businesses end up being held hostage by disaster.

    I know of plenty of small businesses who have gone out of business because their ONE server has died, and they can't recover the data. Their one server died, because it was ten to twelve years old, and they never thought to do backups, or replace it, or whatever because they don't have a full time IT staff dedicated to supporting it to explain why they need to worry about such things.

    Virtualization is just another means of removing Hardware dependencies from the equation. That Abstraction layer is such that you can migrate the server to new hardware faster and easier than trying to migrate it. I can do a whole new hardware platform migration in a few minutes with VMWare. Shut the old machine down, move the VM to the new box, fire it up.

    And when you add in features like snapshots it just rocks. I can't tell you how much snapshots are worth. I've even used VM snapshot in a criminal investigation, where we could show exactly when the fraud was started.

    It saves them money, and headaches, and eventually it will save their business.

  • Re:SOX HIPPA etc (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rabbit994 (686936) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:31AM (#28795821)

    MS really didn't come up with Cloud Computing. They have jumped on the bandwagon with their Azure platform but they are not the ones who really pushed it. Google and Amazon are more to blame for this.

    Microsoft is more pushing their Hyper-V Virtualization platform. I think they just do cloud computing enough to be like, yes we have a cloud. To me, future of cloud computing is more companies having clusters of servers where you can create additional instances and easily add more hardware. This is more what Microsoft is pushing along with VMWare.

  • by SeaDuck79 (851025) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:35AM (#28795879)

    There is more to SAAS and Cloud computing than the technical aspect. People, in general, are averse to change, and introducing another technology into the Peter Principle must be factored in as well. As our cultures become more complex and risk-averse, that is more enhanced, meaning that there has to be a very tangible REASON to change that is worth the upsetting of the status quo.

    So for the short term, only early adopters are going to dip their toes in this water, by putting hot-swap sites on a cloud (though the reliability of the cloud service still needs some upgrading). The mid-term will see server hosting on the cloud, using the same applications and processes they would have anyway. Only when SAAS can be presented as a viable economic model to the companies paying for it will they look at it.

    I know some of the guys at Amazon who are working on this. Without giving any secrets away, there are some technical and security issues that will take some re-architecture to overcome before client/server software could be reliably and easily hosted there. Amazon moves as quickly as anyplace in resolving such things, but it will take some time.

  • Re:SOX HIPPA etc (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @11:46AM (#28795995) Homepage

    Whatever happened to SaaS? Oh, still not really here is it?

    a) What do you think "cloud computing" is, exactly? That's right... SaaS.

    b) What do you think gmail and the rest of the Google app suite is?

    No, SaaS, as a concept, is alive and well. Will it grow and turn into an actual money-making endeavour? That I don't know.

    Or "Web Services?" In the end, its just another way to move data around... nothing really revolunatary.

    Funny, given there's web services *everywhere*. Amazon exposes their API through a web service. Facebook exposes their API through a web service. The list goes on. In fact, web services have been wildly successful in exactly the way intended: they've provided real, portable API-level integration between web applications.

    And that's ignoring all the *other* applications that are exposing their data and APIs through web services.

    So, revolutionary? No, of course not. Who said they would be? A further evolution of the web, and a successful one? Absolutely.

  • Re:Slow Progression (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CanadaIsCold (1079483) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:04PM (#28796255)
    I think we all need to really listen to the basic message of this article though. Things are going to change, automation and virtualization will become more and more common within the datacenter. Your point on security is a good one but public isn't the only cloud delivery model. A private cloud solution leaves the internal security organization in control. It has higher upfront costs than public cloud but has some advantages.

    I think you're right that IT people make or break a solution and the same is true of cloud models. The need for IT people to design, build and repair the automation will stay in the new model. I'm not sure if this is "blue collar" IT or not (sort of a dumb concept). I wish cloud wasn't pushed as a new concept because in reality it's a convergence of a number of concepts that have been in the industry for some time. I think that's what makes it a little more of a reality than the traditional new buzzwords. Cloud Computing is taking the standardization efforts of SOA and ITIL and adding automation and virtualization. Since most of us now have IAAS and PAAS documented it makes it easier for Cloud to catch on.

    There will be a shift in roles. People that today have most of their job defined by Server Build, Application installation, or OS installation are in danger. They need to either script themselves out of a job, thereby becoming "Automation Experts" or someone will likely do it for them. Current timelines within organizations for server build of 1-2 weeks is going to become a pressing issue as we exit this recession and try to ramp up new projects. Cloud is available at the right time to address those concerns and is based in concepts that people have already been using for a couple of years. It's possible that the word Cloud will go away but the concepts that it brings are going to stick around for a long time, and be a game changer.

  • Re:SOX HIPPA etc (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vancorps (746090) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:05PM (#28796281)

    I went to an HP tech conference a month ago and everything was cloud this and cloud that and it was rather irritating for those of us that understand it's just a clustered OS in a virtual environment. With Cisco and HP creating switches that integrate with XenServer, HyperV, and of course VMWare it's just further abstraction of more and more components of the network. Of course you still need all the same hardware you used before as well as all the same software. You just need more software and more hardware to create what people expect from a "cloud."

    What got worse, the IT Director, my immediate boss is all about clouds to the owner and I had to speak up saying that we already have a XenServer based cloud, why would we need to waste even more money on outsourcing something that has had lots of issues with reliability, security, and of course requires all new programming. The owner has a problem with outsourcing thankfully as he has been burned by it on more than one occasion. Of course the real issue with outsourcing is that you still need people around that are directly employed to manage the projects you're outsourcing. This means people like me will be around for quite some time to come.

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:07PM (#28796325)

    What cloud computing will do is to erase the advantage that one company has over their competitors. Take a company who has a 'better' business process and has built their in-house IT systems around it. Now, have them move to a cloud solution. The first things that must go are their custom data models and algorithms. Companies re-engineer themselves to fit OTS applications much more often than they customize the apps to fit the business. The next thing to go wil be their in-house development staff. No sense in keeping them around when nothing is left to be written that is specific to their company. Next, the executives who have domain knowledge specific to that companies' core processes can go. Since everyone in the industry (or across many) use the same processes, why pay big salaries when the supply of suitable talent is much larger.

    So tell me: Why should I do business with your company? What do you do that your competitors don't? I mean, the cheap ones, in India or China.

  • by recharged95 (782975) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:30PM (#28796689) Journal
    Basically a high paying job doing fun, researchy stuff is an oxymoron.
    Want to work with or develop the latest tech, coolest languages, ingenious scalable configurations?
    ... Go back as a grad student (with 0 responsibility IMO), and forget about making $100K a year.
    Otherwise, as the OP mentioned, it's business as usual, suck it up.
  • Re:Infoworld Idiocy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @12:54PM (#28797051) Homepage Journal
    Not to mention this is another article in a long series of articles that essentially says "do your bosses job for less money than they will ever make or you will be fired!" type bullshit that managers just eat up(without even being remotely critical of the logic or conclusions). Essentially it allows managers to use fear to get their underlings to do even more work so the manager can spend more time golfing while getting a higher salary with the belief that only management is indispensable, but honestly I think its the opposite. If the peons really do the work of management in addition to their own they are eventually going to figure out how to start leaner companies without the need to feed a small number of incredibly useless, but well connected, people massive amounts of cash and management will be out of a job...

    Well, at least my hypothesis is at least as plausible as the one presented in the article :P
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday July 23, 2009 @01:18PM (#28797349)

    What cloud computing will do is to erase the advantage that one company has over their competitors. Take a company who has a 'better' business process and has built their in-house IT systems around it. Now, have them move to a cloud solution. The first things that must go are their custom data models and algorithms.


    Existing cloud platforms (e.g., Amazon EC2) let you run any software in the cloud. You are confusing "cloud computing" (which is, insofar as you are using someone else's cloud, hardware as a service) with software-as-a-service, which is one application of cloud computing, but hardly the only one. While a company could buy an COTS solution hosted in the cloud rather than deploying their custom solution in the cloud, they could just as easily buy a COTS solution to run on hardware in their own datacenter instead of custom software. The value calculus of COTS vs. custom software doesn't substantially change between the cloud and the in-house datacenter, indeed, it is cloud computing in its "hardware-as-a-service" form that makes remotely-hosted, dynamically provisionsed, and internally-developed and supported custom applications a stronger alternative to remotely-hosted, dynamically provisioned, OTS SaaS solutions, allowing the scalability and flexibility of dynamic provisioning with the control provided by custom applications. And open source cloud computing software enables those benefits to be realized, within the overall limits of available hardware, in the company's own datacenter, as well.

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