Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Ian Khan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: 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.

@CloudExpo Stories
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. Migration to cloud shifts computing resources from your data center, which can yield significant advantages provided that the cloud vendor an offer enterprise-grade quality for your application.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driv...
As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends an...
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Key Information Systems, Inc. (KeyInfo), a leading cloud and infrastructure provider offering integrated solutions to enterprises, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Key Information Systems is a leading regional systems integrator with world-class compute, storage and networking solutions and professional services for the most advanced softwa...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bryan Forrester, Senior Vice President of Sales at eFolder, will present how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He will also demonstrate how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Achim Weiss is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ProfitBricks. In 1995, he broke off his studies to co-found the web hosting company "Schlund+Partner." The company "Schlund+Partner" later became the 1&1 web hosting product line. From 1995 to 2008, he was the technical director for several important projects: the largest web hosting platform in the world, the second largest DSL platform, a video on-demand delivery network, the largest eMail backend in Europe, and a universal billing syste...
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll sha...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.