Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Patrick Carey, Greg Akers

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Conquering the Cloud: Skills to Master in a Services-Based World

The rise and adoption of cloud services fundamentally changes the role of the IT professional

In a recent survey of IT pros, not only did cloud computing rank as a top three technology both as most disruptive and as most significant to business over the past three to five years, but it ranked as the number one technology investment most needed for businesses to remain competitive in the next three to five years.

In short, the cloud is here, and it's here to stay. We're naturally seeing many enterprises move to the cloud, at least in a hybrid traditional computing-cloud approach (for now). As more cloud-based services are born, the shift will only accelerate. This begs the question, what does all this mean for today's IT pro?

Does the cloud mean the end of the IT pro?
The rise and adoption of cloud services fundamentally changes the role of the IT professional. Some even argue that the demand for particular IT jobs may disappear altogether. That may sound ominous, but some aspects of IT will indeed change and many things IT pros do today will go away. Some companies may get to the point where they have to ask themselves if enough of the IT infrastructure remains on premise to justify maintaining current internal IT roles.

However, IT will not go extinct because of the shift to the cloud. In fact, it presents IT pros with an opportunity to do something absolutely critical to business success and that no one else is in a better position to do: manage and integrate these cloud services into existing business systems. This will be key for IT pros who want to remain relevant in the new services-based world.

Become cloud leaders
To remain relevant, IT pros must embrace the cloud, not be afraid of it. Business leaders have become more tech-savvy, yes, but they lack the IT skills needed to navigate the transition from traditional computing to cloud computing. This is where today's IT pro can step up as a leader in the new cloud environment, but it will take work.

Leveraging cloud services is not the same as delivering similar services from on-premise systems. In some cases, like IaaS and PaaS, IT pros will have to learn new ways of creating and deploying systems and applications. With a hybrid approach, IT pros will be challenged with managing a unified system running on different infrastructure in different places. For SaaS, the challenge will largely revolve around ensuring performance with only the data and management options provided by the vendor along with integration of the information provided by that vendor with other cloud or on premise systems to meet business objectives.

In light of these challenges and a few others, here are several steps IT pros need to take to survive in the services-based world:

  • Understand cloud services and technologies: As a starting point, IT pros need to know the key cloud services options available - SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. But it's not enough just to understand the options, it's important to determine what options work best for the business. For example, a small business that uses standard applications may benefit from SaaS, but larger enterprises that use a multitude of applications both standard and custom may benefit from a combination of services such as IaaS and PaaS. IT pros need to empower themselves to build and implement these solutions while also ensuring they're operating at optimal performance levels.
  • Ensure proper application and system integration: IT pros need to develop new skills around integrating cloud services with existing internal business systems or other cloud services to meet company-specific needs. If a company plans to primarily use cloud in a hybrid approach, IT pros will need to understand both their traditional job, how a related SaaS, IaaS or PaaS solution works and how to integrate them.
  • Become an IT security guru: While the cloud isn't necessarily less secure than on-premise systems, the security implications and risks of the cloud are slightly different. IT pros will need to learn the different cloud design models and related security tools available to help build a strong solution and increase confidence from business leaders.
  • Develop business skills: Understanding cloud technologies, their security implications and how to integrate applications and systems is crucial. Yet, IT pros need to take it to the next level and ensure IT priorities align with business objectives and needs. This skill is especially important as SaaS-type applications allow more IT decisions to be made by business people without the current levels of dependency on IT. Being able to understand the implementation, operations, management, integration and security of cloud systems in context of business requirements will be a valuable skill indeed.

Cloud computing is only one of the many emerging technologies impacting the way IT works today, but it is perhaps the most pervasive. IT pros must remain nimble, learning new skills and adapting to new technology trends while also understanding how these trends align with business strategies. This will empower IT pros to continually adapt their role and take a seat at the table as business bottom lines become increasingly reliant on technology.

More Stories By Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson is Director of Systems Management Business at SolarWinds.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
All too many discussions about DevOps conclude that the solution is an all-purpose player: developer and operations guru, complete with pager for round-the-clock duty. For most organizations that is not the way forward. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Golden, Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss how to achieve the agility and speed of end-to-end automation without requiring an organization stocked with Supermen and Superwomen.