The IT job sector has been under increasing pressure. A couple of decades ago it was easy to imagine IT as a job for life, but outsourcing, offshoring and the dot-bomb brought wave upon wave of uncertainty to IT professionals. The past couple of years have seen redundancies in all sectors including IT. It is not surprising, …
So what hope is there for certified Microsoft dependent folks?
Is there any hope at all?
Or is the cloud still more like a mirage? It will still need helpdesk people, it will still need desktop clients, it will still need in-house network people... none of these will be Microsoft folk, obviously...
Microsoft is not going anywhere
The MS folks are not going anyway soon. MS will still be utilised be a very large percentage of the computers on the planet. Unless someone come out with a ground breaking net OS that is a massive game changer. However, SMEs MS folks are probably going to need to get there hands a little dirty with Linux in the cloud (not that MS does not run on the cloud).
Any IT person today that is in technical role should really make a effort to ensure they have at least a broad stroke understanding of multiple OS environments. If they do not, then they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Do not be afraid of the penguins... :)
"One CTO" says it all, really ...
"As one chief technical officer says: “What really interests me about cloud are the kinds of applications we haven’t even thought of yet.”"
So it's kinda nebulous, and nobody can really grasp it, eh? And that's from a CTO! Drop the whole cloud meme, ElReg. It's a marketing gimmick, at best.
Absolutely. Yes, it's a new-ish way of hosting managed service. No, it doesn't change a thing - any half-way competent IT Manager or Director will still be concerned about the service delivery, which is downstream of the actual systems hosting the service, and thus unaffected by the Emporer's new clothes.
Of course, the business is stuffed full of IT Managers and Director who are not entirely competent, but that's another article, by quite a long margin.
Be afraid, esp. in smaller businesses/schools
Look what happened to the printing industry; all the complicated technical jobs needed for delivering high quality information reduced to a big colour screen and a big colour photocopier. That was an 'application nobody had though of'.
Apple is serious about iCloud as a simple, and free, back-end for all those iPads, and GoogleApps with leased Chromebooks definitely catches the attention of the management.
Add to that the outsourcing of MIS systems, and the most valuable IT people are the ones who can keep the networks singing.
A bigger threat to IT jobs is that lots of users know how to turn it of, and then turn it on again themselves now.
Privileged Information for the Markets
"Absolutely. Yes, it's a new-ish way of hosting managed service. No, it doesn't change a thing - any half-way competent IT Manager or Director will still be concerned about the service delivery, which is downstream of the actual systems hosting the service, and thus unaffected by the Emporer's new clothes.
Of course, the business is stuffed full of IT Managers and Director who are not entirely competent, but that's another article, by quite a long margin.
GJC" .... Geoff Campbell Posted Saturday 11th June 2011 22:59 GMT
Howdy, Geoff Campbell,
Quite so, is CHAOS [Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems] a new-ish way of hosting managed service. But it does not burden itself with the likes of anyone or anything halfway competent. The Virtual Power and Control Environment which IT Drivers and Presents as the Current Reality with Future Novel Platforms for Virtual Machine Programming and Universal Assets Management ..... Human Resource Manipulation .... does not suffer nor entertain Incompetents in Combative Competition for Crumbs from Cloud Control Rooms. They are destined, whenever not clever nor imaginative enough to be able and enabled/self-actualised to Driver AI Systems and Programming Projects/SMART Realities, to be Long Support and Short Naked Supply Servers of IT.
"So it's kinda nebulous, and nobody can really grasp it, eh? And that's from a CTO! Drop the whole cloud meme, ElReg. It's a marketing gimmick, at best." .... jake Posted Saturday 11th June 2011 12:38 GMT
Oh please, you cannot be serious, jake. Really grasp it and you will be blown away, not by the exciting discovery of all that can be done and one can do, but by the fabulous realisation that there is practically nothing which cannot be done.
::eyeballs Heidelberg Windmill & KORD and Chief 217 in my own printshop::
OK. If you say so ... But from my perspective, printing's always been a home industry, kinda like growing veggies, baking bread, making beer & wine and smoking bacon.
Break it down to basics: Centralized computing is still centralized computing, no matter how many bells & whistles you hang on it.
We all have a CPU, memory & storage at our fingertips. We don't need to borrow from multi-national data-mining advertising organizations.
Can we not move away from the nanny-state "take care of it for me" paradigm?
Or perhaps men from Mars actually enjoy advertising and being marketed at?
The SMART Money is on the NEUKids avoiding all Blocks and Just Doing IT ...
...... Seeking Permission is for Wimps and Wallies and Wannabes
"Can we not move away from the nanny-state "take care of it for me" paradigm?" .... jake Posted Sunday 12th June 2011 11:31 GMT
That is exactly what is being done, jake, with the nanny-state establishment floundering in the new future administration initiatives/crack hacks of old power elite schools of fiat money supply brokers. Hence the mad panic to attach earthly rules and regulations to a virtual intelligence space place ...... the Internet and Cyberspace
And whereas before it may well have been the case of .. ."It is not what you, it is who you know" ... nowadays is it what you know but which old power elite schools of fiat money supply brokers don't want everyone else to know, which makes you the one to know so that you can be supplied with fiat currency to spend freely and graciously and lavishly ....... so that it and IT can do their work in generating powerful controlled drives with innovative unburdened applications with novel intellectual property....... so that the future is a completely different beast from the past and a much better and smarter reality than that which plagues the present.
Ah. I see. In your mind, it's a vast conspiracy by "the elite few".
In my mind, it's the stupidity of the GreatUnwashed[tm] buying into Madison Avenue, and there is no "elite few" ... I mean, seriously, when was the last time you saw an advertisement for a product, political idea or religion that wasn't immediately ignorable? You think of the originators of this crap as "elite"? Seriously?
Better off on the systems side
Help Desk is not a good place to be. You will be far better off learning how to keep back end systems up. The company I work for is a SaaS provider and we deliver cloud services to our customers. It takes a lot of know how to keep things up on our side of the fence. There is a 6 person team here that manages everything. Thats out of about 80 employees. Meanwhile we have one help desk guy who takes care of the users. His job could easily be outsourced (mine too for that matter). Cloud space is here to stay, but that doesn't mean that there won't be jobs for sys admins to run it. The name of the game is changing, but the players are still on the board.
And yes, get some of those *nix skills up to snuff.
Mines the one with the worthless MS certificates in the pocket.
Don't panic, Panetta, IT'll only clear out all the Shit that is being Peddled as being Invaluable
My view and opinion of "the elite few" is no better than your own for they play a pathetic Great Game nowadays. But you may have to accept that there are those who are so delusional and mentally ill that they would presume to imagine they have such clout as has you dependent upon their supply of pretty printed paper which carries a monetary value .... but they do have their mounting problems as these two reference advise ....... http://thedailybell.com/2491/Next-False-Flag-to-Be-Cyber.html and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/13/imf_hack_attack/
And you can be sure that there will be no respite in these irregular and unconventional happenings, nor any retreat into the old failed, business as usual trap which has incompetents at sensitive, easily compromised controls, pushing buttons and pulling levers for idiotic chaos rather than smart order.
::Nods:: at amfM, and uploads beer :-)
You have a point. And a good one.
Me, I tend to head for the lex parsimoniae ("Occam's razor", to the GreatUnwashed) ... The most obvious answer is that people (as a whole) are completely ignorant, and easily lead by any old idiot.
See tulips & Holland for an "early modern" example.
Today, see Al Davis's Oakland Raiders, and their Tradition of Flatulence.
Or morons purchasing "GoldenDoodle" puppies (and the like) for US$2500 from backyard breeders, thinking they are getting "pure-bred" dogs.
Or anyone tithing to the religion of their choice ...
Or the iFadThingies currently separating fools from their money ...
Or idiots purchasing "distressed clothing" from upscale marketers ...
Or idiots purchasing intentionally skunked beer ...
Or idiots purchasing "big, buttery, oaky Chardonnay" ...
Need I go on?
I have a serious question, amanfromMars ... Any ideas on how to collectively increase the logical processes in the brains of the proverbial ManInTheStreet? Because I sure the hell don't ...
This article is timeless
It could have been written at any point since the start of commercial computing
If it had been written in the 1960s it would have been about the advent of timesharing systems, rather than the cloud.
In the 70s it would have been about minicomputers
In the 80s about the rise of Windows and PCs
in the 90s the big thing was networking
In the 00s the internet was the latest development hanging over IT
and now we have the cloud requiring that "IT administrators who take the time to broaden their skillsets should be in a good position for the future."
Sound advice - as it will always be.
re: Iron Mountain
..... Do you think you're data is safe with them?
Hmmm not so sure about that!!
Why the anti-Cloud bashing El Reg?
It seems the Reg it hell-bent on publishing as much FUD about the Cloud as possible. What's the reason for this? Has the Reg become the Daily Mail of the IT press?
Oh Waily Waily Waily!
The Cloud is just a platform. The main difference between the Cloud and in-house Servers is that the physical boxes live somewhere else. Admins, Developers and Helldesk staff are still needed.
If you run an instance in an IaaS, you still need to administer it. You still need your Microsoft or Linux admins to come in and set it up. Nothing really changes, other than the fact the machines are remote and you get to scale up and down as and when needed.
Christ: get a grip people.
And if anyone else harps on about "I won't let my data out of my office" I'm going to puke. What the hell do you do when Iron Mountain comes along and takes your tape backups every day? What's on the tapes? Data. Who's data? YOURS. Jeebus save us from these new-wave Luddites.
pay to store tape backups?
Who the hell pays someone else to take away their tape backups?
Every company I have ever worked for (including NHS IM&T) has either had a fireproof tape safe installed at either another office, or they've bought one for someone to have at home to store the tapes in.
I had a title around here somewhere...
Seriously dude? Lost tapes is one thing. Having your data on the internetz is a whole other security problem. Granted, it's not much different that your public facing servers, but you know hwo is behind the curtain pulling the strings.
Yes cloud computing is a load of hype and anyone who trust these big companies with your data are insane. Unless of course you want to share your personal data with the Chinese or Russians.
Insecure or not?
"Yes cloud computing is a load of hype and anyone who trust these big companies with your data are insane"
That's an argument which you hear everywhere, but is it true? Amazon for example has achieved PCI-DSS certification for their US-based data centres in November last year. That doesn't make it secure per se, but is the minimum requirement for many companies, especially those who accept online payments and store customer data.
95% of the web hosting offers you find, and a huge amount of in-house solutions, do not fulfil those requirements, because it's time consuming and expensive.
Many of those who are concerned about the data security in the cloud actually I run servers in their own office, ready to be stolen physically, or be destroyed by fires or floods (you would assume that it's common sense not to put servers into the basement of building in proximity to rivers, but you're wrong there).
In the majority of companies data protection exists on paper only, sometimes not even there.
And then there are of course lost and stolen laptops, unencrypted, and other human errors.
Hell, many companies don't even follow strict backup strategies at all!
Now that doesn't make the cloud look very bad in comparison, does it?
Amazon is really only one example, but synchronisation between multiple data centres or even continents is not difficult to achieve there. And there are many other offers out there to achieve the same.
However, it all comes down to the definition of "cloud". That term is about the broadest and most commonly misused/misinterpreted term in IT in a long time.
As always, the customer/user/sysadmin need to watch out and be careful in assessing trustworthiness of different solutions.
"share your personal data with the Chinese or Russians", is really just an opinionated statement, lacking substance or knowledge of what's out there and how it can be used relatively safely.
yeah but . . .
. . .is it only a matter of time before someone uses Amazon's computing power to work a way in to Amazon's Cloud?
"Many of those who are concerned about the data security in the cloud actually I run servers in their own office, ready to be stolen physically, or be destroyed by fires or floods (you would assume that it's common sense not to put servers into the basement of building in proximity to rivers, but you're wrong there)."
They have every reason to be concerned about cloud data. It doesn't matter what certification Amazon have they've already lost user data with an outage so relying on the cloud is no different from relying on in-house hardware as you still need multiple copies of your data. At least in-house if you encrypt a backup then send it off site you know it's encrypted. Send it to Amazon and who really has it? Can a sysadmin there make a copy?
Far Out Eastern ProgramMING for Remote Peer Reviewing
How else are the Russians and Chinese to engage and enjoy sharing exciting personal data if one doesn't reveal one's dreams/fantasies/realities/abilities.
Hi, Sino Soviets. ........ Fancy a Magical Mystery Turing Trip to Mars and the Great Beyond?
Something for Francis Maude to Ponder I Wonder ..... and to Action and Energize for a Semblance of Remote Control.
I'm considerably sick of the cloud and virtualisation hype, and how bad it is, and how dangerous for everyone and everything...
A sysadmin, who up to this point hasn't evaluated what virtualisation can offer and how he can use those things to improve his skills and portfolio, is not fit for the job. Instead of panicking about the threats, denying that virtualisation is inevitable in many (not all!) sectors, and clinging to what they know and have, we should all embrace the opportunities.
A sysadmin chooses to work in a highly volatile field, where job specifications and requirements move faster than in the majority of other sectors. We, the sysadmins, seek for challenges and new opportunities. We LOVE technology.
If a sysadmin looked away over the last couple of years thinking it's all not relevant for them, and virtualisation sucks anyway, then yes, they will probably have fallen behind current development and will face trouble catching up. They should be afraid, and rightly so. But it's not "the cloud's" fault.
And guess what: Even if you automate lots of things, virtualisation and the growing range of cloud services are very complex subjects, and it will never work without people who understand it and close the gap between services offered and companies who want to use it efficiently and securely.
Moreover, big companies can't and won't switch from physical to virtual infrastructure over night. It will take years of hard work, during which the sysadmin's job couldn't possibly be any safer.
The cloud as you say requires the same but different skill set as well. The sysadmin is not going away anytime soon. Who is going to ensure disaster recovery if not the sysadmin?
The cloud is more of a threat to SME's than jobs. SME's moving into the cloud are moving into a new ballpark and a number of sysadmins may not be up to the eccentricities of the cloud environment. The main risk is not in the sysadmins job, but in the migration of services and data into a hostile cloud environment.
Hostile environment? Yes hostile. Why?
1. Automation of infrastructure provisioning in the cloud is a very new ballgame for many sysadmins from a traditional in-house server environment . The introduction of automated deployment and recovery, introduces a number of very complex "systems" that need to be learned put into place. The cloud providers API (or like), scripts, chef, puppet, etc. This is where the complexities and interdependencies come into play in a BIG way. In the cloud, simple is not really an option. Backup on another cloud service provider with a different API set, etc, etc. The cloud fails, fullstop. Running services in the cloud means that everything has to be designed and implemented with the knowledge that at some point your cloud infrastructure WILL failure. Data replication and automated recovery deployment because complex, a lot more complex of the traditional in-house physical recovery.
2. Security. Same ballpark, but a little bit of a different ballgame.
2.1 The defense-in-depth strategy in the cloud should not change just because the cloud service provider provides traffic security groups or rulesets. This should just be seen as an addition to the security, it should not replace traditional local NET security measures, they should mirror local NET rules, so they back each other up. No possibilities for sysadmin or other operator to make single change that affects ALL (CVE-0), it has to be a two step process. Understand the environment at the VM level and the provider level.
2.2 Automation, scaling your vulnerabilities. VM images in the cloud can be a crapshoot, who built the AMI or the image you are deploying? Is it secure? What is running on it by default? On an going basis are our appliances secure and up to date. Is our master image up to date? When we have to recover srv44 in a year as it crashed is ami-xyzab45 up to date? Are we going to deploy a dated AMI and introduce vulnerabilites into our cloud environment? When we need to quickly scale, are we deploying an old image that are not up to date, was there a CVE announced on something we did not hear about?
2.3 CVE-0 threat to organisation's cloud (and other) logins, etc. Now maybe the CTO and some of the developers have elastifox or cloud control panel login details = less secure, one drive-by download or keylogger and your cloud suddenly spawns a GPU cluster and starts to bruteforce the md5 strings from some hacked DB/s. DBs that were probably sucked of some cloud server that was running phpmyadmin in on the cloud webserver, because the devs wanted access.
The cloud introduces new complexities = more complex sysadmin work (but perhaps by less people).
This is especially true in the SME and development arena. Unfortunately, the IT staff at a small company cannot be "realistically" expected to know ALL the best practices for all the things they will implement on the clouds, but this expectation exists.
In reality, probably 95% of ALL organisations that have deployed infrastructure and services on the cloud, will not need to ever really use the BIGGEST plus of the clouds - realtime auto-scaling. A lot of hype has pushed a lot of businesses into the clouds that probably do not need to be on the cloud, calling a spade a spade. Perhaps the relatively fast migration into the clouds has increase the number of breaches over the past few years. Vulnerabilities being automatically propagated to new infrastructure, poor implementation of security rules, less tight dev VMs that have web apps that are not hardened. Dev dumps db to dev VM ... SQL injection in web app = exploit. The DB is then ironically uploaded to another part of the cloud and all the md5s or salts cracked.
Is the cloud is less secure for the "users", not the sysadmins or companies, but the users that have accounts on the sites? Not because the cloud in necessarily less secure, just more complex to secure and has "things" running on it that in the past would have only been run on the LAN.
clouds sometimes = storms
offsite data - cloud, iron mountain, etc
sensible people encrypt critical data before it goes offsite.
I guess you don;t?
Good luck with the next job.
economies in the Cloud ..
re: Why the anti-Cloud bashing El Reg?, anon
> It seems the Reg it hell-bent on publishing as much FUD about the Cloud as possible
I don't think so, I see the opposite in fact, the REG has been talking up 'the Cloud'. Like a lot of newish things it risks being oversold. I do see a use for it as in it eliminates the need to maintain your own servers in some rack farms and as long as its got some kind of offline mode. If you got a server in multiple locations/continents then it eliminates the need to visit each one if they crash. You still need the technical competence to run your business process on top of that. It seems to me an ipad + the iCloud would eliminate the need for a company to maintain most of its current IT infrastructure, as long as the Cloud providers stopped promising 24+365 service.
It's also to do with economies of scale, as in the client gets access to big hardware at a reasonable price and the provider can spread the cost of the hardware across many hundreds/thousands end users and therefore make a reasonable return out of the Cloud.
For instance a global management consulting firm with over forty offices in twenty countries. The London office alone employees twelve IT staff. Maintaining the Windows desktops is a full time job. There's even a dedicated server connected to an ethernet socket on each desktop dedicated solely to reimaging Windows after the inevitable crash. Apart from that they spend most of their time restoring Exchange profiles that bork themselves for no discernable reason. Company data is available on virtual drives mapped to any desktop in any location. I think they spend over one fifth in outgoings on IT, that doesn't include salaries. Maybe they need to consult themselves on how to save money .. :)
optimism and blindness
If you think that "the cloud" won't lead to widespread job losses then you are deluded.
Every single advance in IT has led to job losses.
Why do you think "the cloud" is suddenly being pushed, from every side, accompanied by the now usual sneering mockery of anyone who disagrees or is unsure?
Do you think it's because these companies are so laden with altruism and love that they just want to help anyway they can?
Or is it so they can hold you/us ransom and lock you/us into a subscription model from which there will be little chance of escape?
The SME's will dump their existing server setups in favour of some remotely administered, remotely hosted "cloud based solution" faster than you can say "here's your P45".
As the article concludes, that's the answer - broaden your skill set.
It's no great jump for a sysadmin to get involved with web development, just as many web developers find themselves, sometimes against their desire, becoming sysadmins.
The cloud may eventually fell a swathe of localised company IT jobs, in fact, it almost certainly will, but that's going to take many years. The best and brightest *in that particular skillset* will move with the times, the rest will have to acquire new skills - and perhaps find their niche.
One things for sure, there'll be no more hiding places in IT - as in any industry, there's a good percentage of 'dead wood' 'going through the motions' - yep, that'll be you with your MCE and nothing more to offer.
Good riddance to them.
As a web dev, I've frequently found myself knowing more about general IT tasks than the IT staff at the companies where I work. The difference is, I have a passion for computers, they don't - it's just a day job to them. There'll be no place for people like this when the going gets tough.
A good IT bod is passionate about what they do. They'll be the type of geek who builds custom rigs for fun, installs different operating systems, mucks about with home networking projects.
Then there's security - the top echelon that IT bods passionate about the field aspire to - exceptionally high salaries, rarefied atmosphere, deep knowledge required about networking and system processes.
The cloud is going to need these people.
If your the IT type who maintains exchange servers and account staff's day to day PC woes - and don't do any computer related stuff outside of work - time to change career. The future of IT belongs to the people who love working with computers, not the 'dead wood' who figured getting an MCE was a ticket to an easy career.
I look forward to the day - the day when the IT 'manager' realises that just because he can install a firewall that prevents me from surfing specific sites, doesn't mean jack.
Couldn't agree more
At times it sickens me as what I'd term a monkey-dev (jack of all trades but certified master of none) that I know more about IT than a lot of the sysadmins and desktop architecture guys I deal with. The reason being as you state that a lot just view it as a 9-5 (6-2, whatever) whereas I like to dabble to satisfy my curiosity of desiring to know how something works or whether OS A has more to offer than OS B etc. Another thing seems to be that they are interested in getting terms on their CV whereas I'm more concerned with getting shit out the door that solves a need/problem.
I was passionate ...
... 35 years ago. Then I got a wife. Then I got two kids. Then I got re-engineered promoted, moved, reassigned, and etc. Passion is one thing, sustained passion when you realize you have a life outside the basement is something entirely different.
Give yourself another quarter century, or more, and then broadcast where your passion is.
... I'm 43.
I've been doing web dev since 1995 and prior to that, I was a draughtsman.
If you lose your passion in something, don't blame your age, rather move on or face doing something for a living you hate.
There's more to life than work
I am still passionate about computing. The difference is, this does not necessarily translate to what's useful at work, and I also have a very active non computer related
I'm going to side with Doug here - work frequently does not involve playing with all the exciting toys, there's an over abundance of bureaucracy, procedure, politics and eeking out life from obsolete kit.
Security is not an apex job, either. You may do well if you're bang up to date, willing to do contracting and travel extensively. If that's not your aim, it's a horrid job : like backup, people only notice when it goes wrong and resent it the rest of the time.
Cloud will increase the need for IT skills and experience in most areas
Check out the Freeform Dynamics paper 'Applied Cloud Computing' for our view of the impact of cloud on the IT department. A lot of our analysis captured in here was shaped with the help of input from Reg readers. In a nutshell, we see cloud increasing the need for IT skills and experience in many domains/disciplines, and certainly not undermining the role of IT.
You can download the paper from here: http://bit.ly/g15NMw
Feel free to skip the first half of the paper if you are already familiar with the various flavours of cloud - at the time it was written, we felt a 'level set' was necessary (as the Americans would say) as there was so much confusion in the market. The impact on IT bit is in the second half of the paper.
If it needs more IT people with more skills and experience....
Then how is the cloud gonna be cheaper if it consumes more people?
(I didn't read the paper)
I'll be telling my son to become a Doctor or Lawyer and stay the fuck away from IT or Telecoms - Oops, they're getting outsourced too...
So we should hire for versatility and imagination, not certification.
This is as true now as it has been for the last forty years. The "cloud" is irrelevant. Indeed the so-called cloud is not a new computing model either. It's just bureau computing, rehashed with a better abstracted data model and horizontal rather than vertical scaling.
There wont be a reduction in headcount. They will be based at a different geographic location, where ever is the cheapest on staffing costs.
And the PHBs-
will never need to leave the golf course for 'facetime' ever again.
Base Cloud Control Layers have an Enlightening Vertical Stratification for Revellers ...
...... and Travellers in Raised Consciousness Levels.
You might like top consider Cloud Control as the new Power Elite Tool for Fabulous Delivery of Facilities and Utilities for AI and New Virtual World Orders with Anonymous Legions of SMART Great Games Players into its Novel and Noble NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT XSScripting .... LOVE Grooming, for the Treasures and Pleasures that Ensures Satisfaction is Fully Guaranteed and Unconditional in Live Operational Virtual Environments.
@Pete 2, re :"In the 70s it would have been about minicomputers"
Those WERE a big deal back in the day. From what I've gathered, plenty of companies had a well-entrenched "data processing" department by the 1970s, who expected any computing jobs to be batched up and submitted to them. If they embraced (or at least didn't oppose..) minicomputers and desktop PCs, they kept their position of importance within the company. If they did not (as many didn't) they became quite marginalized, or even eliminated entirely, as departments independently installed their own minis and micros, and the DP guys simply got fewer and fewer jobs submitted to them. Of course, with Windows and it's complexities and security problems, there are IT departments now in general, but in many cases it was formed from scratch.
Anyway.. I'm relatively unconcerned. "Cloud computing" = virtualization + machines in a data center + lots and lots of hype. Fair enough, in general I think I'd keep that on-site personally, but if some boss insisted on using hosted machines, OK it saves the time of physically installing and maintaining some boxen (which, in ordinary cases shouldn't be a large percentage of what one is doing anyway.). As for automation tools, well, this won't let anyone get rid of IT either, because the end users won't know how to use the automation tools either. I would hope most IT types would have the most repetitive tasks automated already, but *shrug* maybe not.
Let me share a real world experience
I was invited to pitch to a large company to replace all the incumbent systems in 80+ locations with our SaaS application.
Three hour pitch and the tech guys at the business love it until we get to the heady question of hosting and data centres and the grim realisation that the very expensive data centre, MPLS connectivity and other stuff could go out of the window. The IT cost saving alone was three times greater than the total cost of our service. The total cost saving by switching would be in excess of £2 million per year, so not small beans really.
The accountants where gleeful but suddenly the IT team where ultra resistant with the realisation that this would clearly mean some job losses.
SaaS/Cloud outsourcing is no different to any other outsourcing really it will have an effect on jobs at the "coalface" in any company that adopts them.
On top of the world,
Looking over the edge,
You could see them coming.
You looked too small
In their big, black car,
To be a threat to the machine in power.
And every time it rains
You're here in my head
Like the Sun coming out.
Your son's coming out.
Ooh, I just know that something good is gonna happen.
And I don't know when,
But just saying it could even make it happen.
With acknowledgements, obviously.
Usually it'll end quickly...
Of course not everyone's needs are the same, but so far it's been my experience that at the very essence many people have totally different ideas as to "cloud computing". For example the issue of it safeguarding your systems uptime because "in the cloud" such a system can never go down.
Well, we've seen with Amazon's EC2 exactly how well that can go...
Note that I'm not saying that such an environment isn't possible; right now its easily possible to move one virtual instance from one computer right to the other with hardly any downtime. But with the big commercial "cloud providers" such setups are either non-existent or very heavily priced. In fact; prices can go up so much that you shouldn't be surprised if all of a sudden a new argument pops up wondering "but doesn't this eventually raise our costs instead of lowering them? Surely we should be able to setup such a failsafe of our own ?".
Another more important aspect; who is responsible ?
I mean; sure its nice that if a clouding provider screws up that you may be able to sue his ass off. But that doesn't make your precious data magically re-appear. You can demand from your local IT personnel that they'll continue working after hours until the infrastructure problem is solved (then again; any sysadmin who has some professionalism wouldn't expect otherwise). Yet good luck with that when dealing with your local clouding provider. You'll need to fully comply to their terms of hosting and the way they provide their service. And if they deem that 3 hours downtime falls within the reasonable margins then there's little you can do, apart from finding another provider.
And that's not even talking about even worse scenario's; like a provider changing the terms on their hosting while all your data has already been tucked away in their cloud. Sure; now you're legally allowed to tell 'm to go fsck themselves and go elsewhere, but generally speaking /that/ has now become easier said than done.
Without even addressing the obvious here (who's doing all the work in these scenarios?) I think that "the cloud" is hardly as feasible as some people are trying to make it look. So the stories of "help, our jobs are in peril" is a bit too far fetched for my liking.
Someone had to qute it....
"Insofar as she recognised at all that she was dreaming, she realised that she must be exploring her own subconscious mind. She had heard it said that humans are supposed only to use about a tenth of their brains, and that no one was very clear what the other nine-tenths were for, but she had certainly never heard it suggested that they were used for storing penguins."
-- Douglas Adams.
follow the money
The hype behind the cloud being able to do everything and then more, and then stuff we haven't even thought of is really starting to get on my nerves.
It's pretty easy... Big giant corporations like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and the likes, the ones who have been spending years building super large infrastructure to support their business, have come to realise that they can grow that infrastructure just a little more and support your infrastructure and charge you for it.
That's it. End of story.
The cloud isn't the solution to any problem that I know of. It isn't a game changer, it doesn't improve the quality of services delivered to users in any way shape or form. It doesn't really do anything FOR me. All it does is supply a new money stream to the large corporations running the Internet
The cloud is the fulfilment of all the promises of big revenues from the early days of the Internet. No matter how they put it, how much hype is put behind it, how many articles ElReg writes about it... the cloud is a way for companies to charge you money to host your data.
And it's all well and good and so much better... until a moron with a backo cuts through your fibre...
I'm so tired of all the BS around that cloud... seriously....
That's what service agreements are for.... http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/devil_32.png
aim for the clouds
But when a local router goes down, or the local network gets hacked there's nothing like having a sysadmin on the ground.
Cloud computing is great until something stops you from getting on to the net in the first place.
Sys admin should only feel threatened if...
If they do not retool themselves. This is the cost of being in this business. It changes rapidly. Cloud will not totally eliminate IT staff but it will refocus existing staff and yes some will lose their jobs. What I call the "babysitters" will have to find work. Those who merely baby sit servers all day waiting for something to go wrong. I see them all of the time. They don't go out of their way to learn new technologies or update certifications. They are also resistant to any kind of change. Those who learn how to focus their skills on the core functions of the business instead of the technology itself will be valuable to that business. Those who don't will need to look for another line of work.
It's similar to the arguments against virtualization many years ago. I witnessed this myself. "If there are less physical servers to manage what will happen to my job?" The answer was simple. You better learn virtualization! Same thing. Understand what the cloud is and how to position yourself to take advantage of the opportunity! Otherwise, yes, be very afraid.
It's not hype anymore. We thorughly debunk that argument here: http://www.lucidsolutionsgroup.com/blog/bid/59274/Cloud-Computing-The-Future-or-Marketing-Hype
4 examples is thorough to you?
And saving costs?? Where does that come from?
100 users on BPOS will run you about 700$/month in cost. And that's ONLY for email.
Over three years, you will have paid over 25000$ for your email services.
You can EASILY get proper licensing and a good box to host it yourself for that price.
Where are those savings you speak of?
And that's ignoring the hassle of BPOS downtime, missing features, "tech support" that barely speaks english etc etc...