Cloud Computing or is my head in the cloud?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Cloud computing. A phrase which seems to be found everywhere these days. One can not read anything on the Net or a computing magazine without some reference to the cloud. Even now you will find software with cloud access to backup your work and important files.

One can easily get the impression the cloud is here to stay. The question one should ask is what does it mean for me? Especially if you work in the IT industry.

All to often I see coworkers and associates become intransigent in their ways. Sometimes I wonder why? In the last couple of decades there has been a great deal of  change. People should be used to change and yet I still hear arguments of the cloud being a fad which will pass. After all who would trust their company secrets to an unknown third party? Security is the major concern of the cloud and what’s interesting I have heard the more “free market” minded people who basically think unknown third parties are safe because why would they jeopardize their business? Security will be an ever growing importance to the cloud.

One of the main motivators I hear for migration to the cloud is to lower the cost of computing. Sometimes I wonder if CFOs (IT usually fulls under their control) simply disk like IT. Lowering the cost of computing seems to be a battle cry for most of them these days. It seems all the savings of the past are forgotten and whatever the cost of the moment is too high. The cloud seems to be their latest attempt to eliminate IT costs.

As in the past if “savings” is the guiding force for migration to the cloud, there will be many problems as was seen in the past with outsourcing and offshoring. The cloud is not something a company can leap into without a great deal of planning. As with the previous attempts to cut costs, there are risks for doing it and yet there will be risks if you don’t.

What does the cloud really mean for IT? Well? this is a question which would cover several posts to discus in detail.  I recently read IT Operations Needs to Evolve to Support Cloud out of curiosity to see what would be the evolution. It wasn’t really explained as to what you would need. Simply the main point was to embrace it, read about it and possibly train for it. Not exactly new information for a “seasoned” IT professional who has lived with change for many years.

An interesting comment was the claim which IT departments were not optimized for the cloud. Such departments were old fashioned or as they were labeled “legacy.” I can see this claim as I would suggest these departments are of the mindset of knowing what is best for the company in the matters of IT rather then viewing it’s purpose as enabling and empowering the user community.

When an IT department acts to enable and empower the workforce; it will be “optimized” for the cloud.

Another interesting comment was the claim of the cloud will grant the ability to move to locations based on need.  Some would say this increases competition while others would suggest chasing the cheapest labor possible.

If you believe in the latter, then I would suggest not to fear the coming change.  Take a look at what you do. Are you specialized? If so, it might be time to increase your knowledge in other areas. The question as always is which areas? I have read a few opinions and about the most common suggestions are network, security, virtualization, and have a grasp of storage.

It will be interesting times in the future and I am looking at more cloud opportunities  to be ready.

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