back to article Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks DIE

Major adoption of public cloud computing services by large companies won't happen until the current crop of IT workers are replaced by kiddies who grew up with Facebook, Instagram, and other cloud-centric services – so says Rackspace CTO John Engates. Should we be worried? "10 to 15 years ago no one would put their credit card …


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  1. Enrico Vanni

    Yup. Just as we have several generations now how can't prepare food and rely on ready meals for their sustenance. Sure it'll happen that lazy buggers will take the easy option - doesn't make it good though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not gonna happen..

      Cloud services will not happen when the older generation dies, they will happen when privacy dies.

      The single red thread leading through all those services is a total lack of appreciation of privacy, confidentiality and client protection. As a matter of fact, you can even see it in how the customer is treated - like cattle. Of course, all the merchants of fluffy crap would *love* to avoid awkward questions such as "who else can look at my data when it's in your setup", which is why there is such massive US lobbying happening in Brussels, but the fact is, the Cloud as many sell it is suspiciously foggy on information partitioning and protection.

      Oh, and let's not forget the fact that it is network dependent - yummie DDoS risks to boot.

      To me it's a heaving load of marketing crap that is more designed to make idiots look competent than it is in supporting decent corporate IT. So they can keep it, thank you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This window to the future make me sad, now where is that packet of ready made mash, pre-cooked micro wave peas and.......

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    So who will run the servers in the various 'clouds'?

    1. zanshin

      Re: So who will run the servers in the various 'clouds'?

      Totally agree. We're where we are currently because we've had a few generations of people who grew up learning PC-related tech in large part because it was abundantly available to everyday people. While I'm not so dense as to claim standing on the shoulders of a nearly totally cloud-centric future is impossible, it leaves me wondering very hard about where the innovations to expand those cloud providers into the next big thing after that will come from. We already went down this road with "wizards" who were the only people who could manage proprietary systems in the form of things like mainframes. The PC era did a pretty good job of sweeping that away. What will be the cloud equivalent?

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      And " those [organisations] where regulation mandates it." They are going to be stuffed if there aren't people with proper skills to keep the servers up and running.

      Of course, they can always lobby for the regulations to change ... backed up by the cloud-cuckoo merchants, of course!

    3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: So who will run the servers in the various 'clouds'?

      I believe that the ones who actually still know how the machines work are called "Morlocks".

    4. Suricou Raven

      Plain old (and I mean old) sysadmins, of course. But a lot less of them than would be needed without the cloud providers consolidating things. The task doesn't disappear, it just centralises, allowing fewer people to provide the same service.

    5. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      "So who will run the servers in the various 'clouds'?"

      Illegal aliens

  3. jubtastic1


    The Cloud is just a marketing term, basically shorthand for outsourcing your severs, that's fine so long as you accept that they can fail due to any number of problems between your workplace and the host or change in a way that breaks your apps without warning, or simply evaporate because your host can't pay it's bills / got hacked / had all its kit seized by law enforcement / forgot to renew a cert etc.

    All the cloud services have seen massive outages, only the young and foolish would rely on them for business critical infrastructure.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Bullshit

      Cloud = Disaster waiting to happen.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    facebook kiddies

    In Facebook's early UK days, I struggled to find anyone on there who wasn't in IT or hung around on tech forums.

    1. h3

      Re: facebook kiddies

      Thought uni students were the first people to get on it. (I know that was the first I heard of it from one).

  5. Sporkinum

    It might also lead to a legal "the dog ate my homework" scenario. Something bad happens with the company, they just blame it on the outsourced infrastructure.

  6. TechW

    A little biased?

    Rather a self serving statement by John Engates now isn't it.

    If this is at all true, it is likely in 10 - 15 years that there will be a severe shortage of IT personnel that can handle onsite servers and networking. I don't for a second believe local resources will go away. I have been hearing this one for 30+ years. There are a lot of very good reasons that companies stopped using main frames and terminals to go with PCs and servers. Those reasons still exist today. Same song, different year.

    1. Bakana

      Re: A little biased?

      What happens the first time one of these "Clouds" evaporates overnight?

      Or is caught "mining" the data stored on it for any number of illegal activities?

    2. Bakana

      Re: A little biased?

      "companies stopped using main frames "

      Which is why IBM sells more Mainframes NOW than the did back when BillyGates pronounced the Mainframe Dead.

      They did stop using dedicated Terminals because Terminal Emulator software that runs under Windoze is cheaper and most corporations prefer a device that also works for E-Mail.

      But, just because the thing on the Desk is a PC, doesn't mean the Mainframe isn't still running the Money Making Software in most big corporations.

  7. Vimes

    'Cloud is good' shouts cloud provider. Seriously? This is what this website is reduced to? Regurgitating PR for Rackspace?

    As for the rest there are legal implications on top of everything else. Where is the server physically located? What laws are they operating under? Do they operate in a certain unnamed country that thinks it ought to be able to demand access to anything it wants even if the servers are currently out of their physical reach?

    I might also add that a large chunk of hacking attempts made on my website at one point was originating from Amazon's cloud - to the point where I had to ban all their IP addresses from the site (no great loss since no hosted service would normally be making a legitimate visit anyway). If someone unsavoury is using the same systems as you then you are at risk from them. If somebody else is running a compromised system and you are sharing it with them then you are also potentially at risk.

    It's also interesting that he mentioned credit cards considering what happened to Sony not too long ago...

    1. Vimes

      IOW perhaps the experienced people are against clouds for the very reason that they have some idea what they're talking about?

    2. TaabuTheCat

      He's not totally wrong

      I think the point he's making (though maybe doesn't really want to admit) is that the younger generation expects and is used to so much less they'll see no problem dropping their services there. After all, Facebook, Twiiter, Google, MS, etc. have outages all the time and it's no big deal. Just invent some cute corporate equivalent of the "fail whale" and you're good to go.

      He is right about one thing. When those of who keep hitting management over the head with the reliability and security arguments are gone, and there are no throttling voices left to remind the beancounters about enterprise risk, this stuff will all move to the cloud. And you know what? If everyone does it and failures are common for everyone, will it matter?

      I am the guy he's talking about, and the reputation I've built over the last 35 years protecting the enterprise is still worth something today. Ten years from now, who knows? Luckily for Rackspace, I'll be out of the way by then.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: He's not totally wrong

        "the reputation I've built over the last 35 years protecting the enterprise is still worth something today. Ten years from now, who knows?"

        I think the CFO will want you replaced by someone equally concerned about protecting the enterprise, which would include being ultra-cautious about trusting data to a fuzzy, vapourous 3rd party.

        If the CFO doesn't want that, sell your shares after retirement, because they will become worthless.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious troll is obvious

    When CIO's sign up for 99.5% availability they are still surprised and shocked at any outage. Demands for root cause and scalps follow. Love to see what happens when the only response is a finger pointed to a contract and an SLA report.

  9. IT Hack

    Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks die

    So when it all goes tits up there won't be anyone around to fix shit. Nice! Can't wait to see that. Might help fund my retirement :)

    What a really pathetic piece...what was the el reg tagline? The hand that bites IT? More like the hand that feeds off CIO's and assorted vendors.


    1. Michael Hoffmann
      Thumb Up

      Re: Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks die

      You and me both! I too look forward to being the equivalent of the COBOL coder of the future: grizzled, aged - and able to demand $2000/day plus expenses for maintaining IT stuff because the kids just think their data and code comes out of the cloudy/wifi/air-thingy.

      1. IT Hack

        Re: Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks die

        @ Michael

        Oh yes indeed! Quite looking forward to the conversations.

    2. Blain Hamon

      El Reg Tagline

      I much prefer the old 2000 PR Tariff ( ) tagline El Reg had:

      Integrity - we've heard of it.

      1. IT Hack

        Re: El Reg Tagline

        Heh...good point. I'd forgotten that...

    3. Bakana

      Re: Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks die

      Whadda Ya Mean it's "In the Cloud"?

      I asked you Where our Data is because there's this Law that says it can't be Physically Outside This Country.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks die

        Turns out it is YOUR responsibility to put that in the contract with the cloud provider....

  10. nsld

    Horses for courses

    Public cloud may well be a great way to develop, test and grow a fledgling product but the grim reality in the world of SaaS or any other business criticial application or data storage is that you live or die by your ability to deliver the service/app/data and the only way you can have a hope of making that happen is with your own kit managed by your own people.

    Business critical applications with e commerce or critical data have to be reliable and leaving that in the hands of a third party in the hope they will do it properly is a risk I would not take.

    Equally, any business critical data should be under your own control and not in the hands of a third party who has no real concern if you are ok as by its very nature public cloud is volume business, pile it high, sell it cheap and hope the majority are happy.

    1. h3

      Re: Horses for courses

      Depends cloud is probably pretty good if you are Amazon. (Or Rackspace).

      1. MacGyver

        Re: Horses for courses

        Or China based. If fact, that might save them some time, there's no reason to hack into your systems when you give them your data and ask them to keep it safe for you.

  11. MrMcginty
    Thumb Up


    Maybe future outages can be addressed with toilet water.

    1. MacGyver

      Re: Idiocracy

      But Brondo has electrolytes, it's got what plants crave?

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Idiocracy


      1. Katie Saucey

        Re: Idiocracy

        I don't know...I'm just Not Sure..

  12. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Judging by the change of the level of competence

    I doubt those kids will be "intimate with the cloud". They'll just be even more stupid than their predecessors who installed Exchange servers and allowed Office software into the workplace without having any clue of what they are doing. (apologies to those few who have chosen such solutions for good reasons)

    Seriously what we'll see here is more vendor lock in. People will continue to believe in marketing blurbs about "strong partners" and blindly run from one trap into the next.

    The people who choose cloud services for good reason will be the minority, and thanks to bad reports they will be thrown into the same pot as the rest.

    There are sensible uses for the cloud, for example if you have burst-like traffic, but putting your companies e-mail and documents onto a foreign service without any simple way to do mass backups is just a disaster waiting to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      allowed Office software into the workplace

      I seem to recall that IT departments often had little choice in the matter. The move towards standardising on such a non-standard product went against the best advice offered. It followed the best advice that "Micro-Soft" and its resellers could buy.

      We are still picking up the pieces. We dropped Lotus123 for Excel, Wordperfect for Word and so on. We have had file format changes to make us buy the latest vesrions. Even now, we are trying to fit iPads onto Exchange so that professional suit wearers can have the latest toys - and that means that it is not just MS calling the shots now...

      IT departments will use whatever the most uninformed and knowledge hostile executives want. Then we will pick up the pieces again and again and again.

    2. Bakana

      Re: Judging by the change of the level of competence

      To be faair, most of the people who put Exchange Server in their companies didn't have any voice in the decision. The Sales Rep from Micro$oft bypassed the Tech people and treated the CEO to a nice lunch and a round of Golf in the Bahamas...

  13. John Sanders

    Let's see...

    What does John Engates sell???

    Cloudy stuff...

    Oh I see, in that case @#&* John Engates.

    This is a much less polite of all the comments above this one.

    Sorry for being rude, the beer is running rampant.

  14. K Silver badge

    Going to be waiting a long time

    Its at least another 30 years before I retire!

    In all seriousness though, I have nothing against the concept of cloud - I just detect the morons who run it and market it. Give it a few year it will mature and the hype will settle, until then I will treat it like the spoilt brat - it can go sit in the corner, until I think its ready, not when they think there are ready!

  15. lamont


    Private cloud can still be done cheaper. However, we still have a generation of IT managers who lust after "big iron" and their idea of a private cloud is huge servers, huge SAN, VMware vCloud, lots of Cisco 7k series switches and routers and massive checks written to VMWare, EMC and Cisco. Those dinosaurs need to die. The next generation needs to be building thin dense private clouds using openstack, largely without using SANs, and not paying anything to VMware and EMC, and keeping the Cisco checks under control. Then using open source monitoring and management tools. You can absolutely beat Amazon's prices by a factor of 3-4x if you do that. If you hire a bunch of lowest-common-denominator idiots for the lowest dollar to run your IT, though, you'll find yourself chasing after vendors to try to make up for the idiots you hired and burning money on 6-figure IT solutions vendors over and over again and you'll be roadkill. Hire smart people, build around opensource, keep it lean, and private clouds are the way to go.

  16. Niall Wallace 1

    All very nice

    But how much is that pipe to the internet costing?

    The organisation I work in is already pushing their internet connection to the limit; and it's apparently silly money to upgrade it.

    Sorry boss, I can't write that report for you, I'm still waiting for Google Docs to load.

    1. jfay_dba

      Re: All very nice

      Well said. I just read an email from our "Senior Infrastructure Manager" with the closing statement of "Bandwidth is an extremely valuable commodity, we must all ensure we save it". This is the same manager who decided that the corporate DR strategy needs to be "Replicate storage between sites". She cut her teeth in the 90's it seems.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: All very nice

        Sounds like she is trying repurpose existing content to leverage a more synergistic paradigm.

        Was she also "reaching out" to everyone on this issue?

  17. gregoryg1

    What about the story of AMZN stealing ideas?

    Just a few days ago there was a story about how AMZN has been letting businesses develop and test their ideas in the AMZN cloud - then essentially stealing that idea and releasing it as their own.

    There is NO WAY to keep anything from the cloud owner - WTF? As a business owner I sure as heck am not going to trade laziness and ease of use of the cloud to develop an unique idea that eventually gets stolen by the cloud owner once it becomes a viable enterprise.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: What about the story of AMZN stealing ideas?

      The fun thing about "ideas" is that they are freely available. Until lawyers and useful IP idiots enter the scene.

      There is no need for amazon to open the source code.

      They just need to observe, imitate, then do likewise.

      Your value should be in delivering and ameliorating, not in fapping over a "unique idea" that probably has been had by a few dozen folks somewhat earlier.

  18. TwoWolves

    The cloud is just a bunch of PCs in a rack. Did anyone tell him it's not fairies?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      That's not even funny. That's like saying a car is just a bunch of sheet metal.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Not funny?

        Take 2 beers and call us in the morning.


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