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Cloud-Sourcing's Long-Term Impact On IT Careers

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the keeping-your-job-in-the-clouds dept.

The Almighty Buck 157

snydeq writes "InfoWorld provides a reality check on the impact cloud computing will have on IT jobs, the overall effects of which will likely resemble those of outsourcing, automation, and utility computing — in other words, a movement away from the nuts and bolts of technology toward the business end of the organization. This shift from 'blue-collar IT to white-collar IT' will be accompanied by greater demand for IT pros experienced with virtualization and Web scale-out deployments, even among midlevel organizations, and greater emphasis on SaaS integration among in-house development teams, analysts say. And though the large-scale impact of 'cloud-sourcing' is likely a decade away, those not versed in vendor contract management, cloud integration, analytics, and RIA and mobile development may find themselves pushed toward the less technical jobs to come, those that will require days full of conference calls and putting out fires caused by doing business in the cloud."

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I Tcareers? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795001)

I have to say that Firefox is getting a lot worse lately. The user experience is in serious need of improvement and development is the pits. I installed the latest "big deal" Firefox update on June 30th. (For some reason they skipped a full four secondary updates, but whatever.) Upon restarting, which took several minutes, I began using Firefox 3.5 [] .

At first, Firefox seemed strangely familiar. I thought they had changed very little unnecessarily until I visited the Acid3 [] test. Lo and behold, I was still using Firefox What the fuck? I manually invoked Check for Updates and repeated my first attempt only to find, upon restarting, the same thing.

Finally in desperation I downloaded the installer manually from Mozilla [] . The install ran surprisingly quickly and, after a few minutes, I was launched with the new version. I had to check, though, because again I thought it looked like very little had changed.

In fact, did Mozilla bother changing anything beside the JavaScript? The new TraceMonkey is great and all, but they could have at least made it look like they were working on something else. When the most noticeable improvement is the "Know Your Rights" button (which everyone ignores) one really starts to wonder what the fuss was all about.

Well, after the three tries it took to upgrade, I found my profile wouldn't migrate. This was a mess, but I was able to eventually retrieve my bookmarks from a long, arcane file path in a hidden directory. But then upon visiting my bookmarked sites I found that almost none of my add-ons are compatible with it. Therefore my browser is almost entirely functionless.

The bookmark tool itself could use a polishing. It's a mess and has been since version 1.0. If a browser is meant to render and organize content, Firefox surely falls down in this area. Why does it take me several minutes to slosh through the GUI just to make a new folder and alphabetize some bookmarks in it? Not to mention the damned Bookmarks toolbar, which takes up too much damn space and can't be turned off.

And speaking of the GUI, it's slow as Hell slowget rid of the proprietary XUL and just hardcode the damned interface already!

I also have to mention memory use. On my system, Firefox was swallowing an incredible 400 MB with only a simple HTML 4 table open. 400 MB?! I blame this on the Firefox team's use of C++, where memory management is about as easy as herding cats. Likewise Firefox is a slow, bloated nightmare. (For a contrast, there's Safari [] , which is written in Objective C and is very small and efficient.)

Most of the time I have heavy JavaScript sites open. I shudder to think how much Firefox eats then, and I'll be sure to check in the future. No wonder my system tends to slow down when I've left Firefox open for days on end with dynamically updating pages and RSS feeds. Clearly, Firefox leaks memory like a cracked sieve in a waterfall.

With Firefox smelling more and more like crapware, I started to dig a little, first on Wikipedia [] and then on the Mozilla Development Forums [] . It turns out that my observations are part of a larger pattern of Firefox quality issues and development customs. The Mozilla developers are a bunch of arrogant, abusive shitheads.

For starters, they're still running all tabs in the same process. This is something IE7 and Safari 3 have had right for years. So if a plugin crashes or a page takes forever to finish rendering, everything's stuck. You can't even switch tabs to another page! And Firefox 3.5 is a "milestone" release? Firefox 3.6 and 4 are milestones too, and process-per-tab isn't scheduled for either.

Developer interaction with Firefox users is stilted too. Sometimes Bugzilla [] reports are dismissed out of hand, only to be reopened when something goes terribly wrong later. I also saw instances of reported security flaws sitting years before being patched. In one case, someone released an exploit to point out the deep holes in Firefox before anyone did anything.

One time, a user with some programming experience suggested a bugfix to the wishlist. One programmer, whom I will not publicly name, suggested the user submit patches "once his balls dropped," if he were even male. If this were a real company and not a bunch of arrogant hacker hippies, user antagonism and sexism would never be acceptable. When I read this particular incident I uninstalled Firefox for good.

If anyone else has complaints about Firefox, post them here. For a browser that's taken nearly a third of the market, it's doing so with an incredibly broken development model and backend. Just imagine if the Firefox team actually treated its users right or prioritized projects properly. Maybe then the web would move beyond the mess of incompatibile standards and site hacks it is today.

Until then, Firefox is just another out-of-control Open Source project that needs a good stiff slap in the face.

Re:I Tcareers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795845)

I miss the "unprecedented evile" guy.

So, the replaceables are still replaceable (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795047)

and for the rest of us; business as normal. Got it.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1)

vil3nr0b (930195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795207)

I will still go onsite to fix your nodes, blades, and servers when the hardware fails. Clouds, Rainbows, and Dreams all have powersupplies.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795951)

Clouds, Rainbows, and Dreams all have powersupplies.

Yeah, multiple redundant hot swappable power supplies. When one goes bad; HP, Hitachi, IBM or whoever overnights you a new one, you pull out the old one, slide in the new one and send the old one back. It takes like 3 seconds to do the actual swap and there is no downtime at all.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (4, Insightful)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795209)

When they came for the IT professionals, I remained silent.

When they came for the call support professionals, I remained silent.

When they came for the programmers there was no one left to speak out for me.

When the great robot revolt comes (5, Funny)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795559)

The humans were lined up

"What do you do?"
"Im a cloud..." *zap* he falls dead from a robot laser
"What do you do?"
"Im a web..." *zap* he falls dead from a robot laser
"What do you do?"
"Im the chief inform...." *zap* he falls dead
"What do you do?"
"Im the tech who fixes your laser, I see you're busy downsizing the IT department... I'm taking an early lunch, k? Save me the copy girl, she's kind of hot"

Re:When the great robot revolt comes (0)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795655)

Haha cool :-)

(Is it from somewhere? I want to read more :))

Re:When the great robot revolt comes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795967)

I wish I had mod points. This is funny!

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (3, Insightful)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795759)

Yes, because we all know everybody has a cow in their back yard and a generator in their basement.

Things change. Computing will become more utility like. Adapt or die.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28796041)

My adaption plan is opening a catering company someday. no computers...people will always love good food and parties :P

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (2, Funny)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796127)

Yes, because we all know everybody has a cow in their back yard and a generator in their basement.

I have a generator in my basement (well, my garage, anyhow). And my next-door neighbor is kind of a cow...

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796451)

Don't forget all the clerks and typists who lost their jobs due to the computer; hope you "spoke out" for them.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (2, Insightful)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795243)

O the joys of blindness!!! We're all irreplaceable until that time when someone devises a machine/process/alternative whcih does our job better than us or makes our job obsolete - so play hard and fast while you can sunshine because your confidence is misplaced!

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1)

Phishcast (673016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795423)

We're all irreplaceable until that time when someone devises a machine/process/alternative

Or shell script...

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795479)

Don't overestimate your ability in avoiding being replaced. Everyone is replaceable or at least expendable.

I'm thinking of Terrel Owens (TO), who is (was??) extremely talented and gifted receiver in the NFL, became such a liability that not even his talent could keep him on a team. He now has a New Nickname ... "Team Obliterator".

Not to mention this economy which sucks raw eggs, even if a company likes you, you may not have a job in six months.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28796361)

Or the converse:
Even if you like working for the company, it might not be around in six months.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1)

motorhead (82353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795721)

I seem to remember something about computers creating a paperless office. It must be in the cloud somewhere.

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (1)

c00rdb (945666) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795889)

Everyone is replaceable. As they say, the cemetaries are full of people who were once irreplaceable...

Re:So, the replaceables are still replaceable (2, Interesting)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796689)

Basically a high paying job doing fun, researchy stuff is an oxymoron.
Want to work with or develop the latest tech, coolest languages, ingenious scalable configurations?
... Go back as a grad student (with 0 responsibility IMO), and forget about making $100K a year.
Otherwise, as the OP mentioned, it's business as usual, suck it up.

SOX HIPPA etc (2, Interesting)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795063)

While "Cloud" computing is here to stay, it is a while off, and opens interesting problems with different legal requirements caused by regulations. How does SOX integrate with Cloud computing. As it stands currently, it really doesn't because there is a lack, or at least perceived lack of accountability. While I can agree that we will see more widespread rollouts in the next ten years, for those working at publicly traded companies or in Health Care, you can expect to see a lot of systems still in house, albeit virtualized and distributed, rather than off site. All this article really does, is reiterate the importance for any IT professional to stay current or move into management.

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (5, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795359)

While "Cloud" computing is here to stay, it is a while off

Cloud computing isn't here to stay. It's the latest buzzword of an industry trying to generate revenue. Whatever happened to SaaS? Oh, still not really here is it? Or "Web Services?" In the end, its just another way to move data around... nothing really revolunatary. But hey, lots of pointed haired people said "OMG our product needs to have / use Web services, it will change everything!" Ya, did it?

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795429)

Bingo, I'm tired of this shit, and I'm not even old. You can thank MS for whispering "cloud computing" in the backroom to people at every conference for the past year. My S.O. and others in IT/enterprise have been whining that cloud computing has been a term selling to the upper management above IT who have no idea what it means. I have no idea how they managed to infiltrate that crowd.

I give it about another year or two before people go "Wait, didn't we have virtualization before?". Or "wait, why does MS want more of our money for virtualization?"

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (2, Interesting)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795821)

MS really didn't come up with Cloud Computing. They have jumped on the bandwagon with their Azure platform but they are not the ones who really pushed it. Google and Amazon are more to blame for this.

Microsoft is more pushing their Hyper-V Virtualization platform. I think they just do cloud computing enough to be like, yes we have a cloud. To me, future of cloud computing is more companies having clusters of servers where you can create additional instances and easily add more hardware. This is more what Microsoft is pushing along with VMWare.

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (3, Interesting)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796281)

I went to an HP tech conference a month ago and everything was cloud this and cloud that and it was rather irritating for those of us that understand it's just a clustered OS in a virtual environment. With Cisco and HP creating switches that integrate with XenServer, HyperV, and of course VMWare it's just further abstraction of more and more components of the network. Of course you still need all the same hardware you used before as well as all the same software. You just need more software and more hardware to create what people expect from a "cloud."

What got worse, the IT Director, my immediate boss is all about clouds to the owner and I had to speak up saying that we already have a XenServer based cloud, why would we need to waste even more money on outsourcing something that has had lots of issues with reliability, security, and of course requires all new programming. The owner has a problem with outsourcing thankfully as he has been burned by it on more than one occasion. Of course the real issue with outsourcing is that you still need people around that are directly employed to manage the projects you're outsourcing. This means people like me will be around for quite some time to come.

Undefined (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796505)

[...] a term selling to the upper management above IT who have no idea what it means.

Nobody knows what it means. It is not as if there is a clear undisputed definition of the term "Cloud Computing". And lots of people pretend to be absolutely clear about what it exactly means.

Same goes for SOA, ESB, MDA, Architect, Architecture, Analyst,...

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796599)

selling to the upper management above IT

Yes, see, they've been following the trend 'away from technology to the business end'.

It rather illustrates the whole problem with that idea; there are a lot of IT people who understand enough of the business end to work out solutions to business problems, but few business people who understand enough technology to even know what their options are. Instead they find themselves listening to salesreps and getting sold on very expensive rectal probes, despite the lack any urgent business need for mass colonic inspection.

"Wait, didn't we have virtualization before?"

Sort of like when CIOs went 'now we've implemented virtualization!' in 2007, when in fact they'd been running it since 2001 or earlier.

I have little doubt that most IT people who've been in the business for at least a decade and managed to stay relevant have more than enough ability to adapt to most changes; the Forrester analysts comment: "Somebody who is smart at CRM is not easily retrained on datacenter automation," would reflect more on himself than on most IT professionals; if your employees can't be retrained from CRM to datacenter automation I'd seriously question their ability with CRM solutions in the first place. (Hmm, although, having seen a few CRM solutions, that would explain some things).

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795689)

There's a reason I put it in quotes because I hate the term. What is likely here to stay is an increase in distributed computing, which is a much better phrase IMHO. My big point was more that IT professionals need to stay current to stay employed.

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (3, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795771)

Look for these want ads from the clueless recruiters:

Wanted: Cloud Computing Expert.
Must have 5 years in depth experience in Cloud Computing internals.

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (1, Insightful)

robathome (34756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795855)

"Cloud computing," while it has very nearly achieved meaningless buzzword status, is an attempt by the business and marketing types to get their heads around what is a very real evolutionary transformation occurring in IT. The drivers are the drying up of CapEx budgets, the need to reduce service delivery time, and the requirement to purchase and pay for only what an organization needs to fulfill their business requirements.

Capital expenditures are coming under increased scrutiny, and are under constant budgetary pressure. "Cloud" based, on demand services allow IT service procurers to shift from a CapEx based model of owning the infrastructure to an OpEx model. Operational expenditures are typically larger chunks of budget than capital purchases, and moving IT services there can allow them to get "lost in the noise". Less red tape, less stringent approval processes, etc.

Time to deliver service is a labor cost, and if a procurer can shift that operational expense from internal overhead required to deploy an IT architecture to acquiring those same services from a cloud provider, it's perceived as a big win. The provider gets to deal with the headaches of capacity management, infrastructure design and integration, and delivering IT resources. The purchaser gets the luxury of simply specifying how much they want, for how long, and letting the provider leverage its economies of scale and automated processes to deliver the resources within the terms of the provider's SLA. The tradeoff is that the consumer of cloud services loses the ability to specify the platform and all its parameters in exchange for rapid delivery of a standardized service.

IT organizations are also under increased pressure to abandon the concept of designing and purchasing for peak capacity. Cloud providers are specifically addressing these needs by allowing their customers to pay only for what they use, not the spare capacity. Since the "cloud" capacity is shared, reused, and managed by the provider, the customer is afforded the ability to scale their environment dynamically to meet the needs of the business and its budget.

Now, how this ties into Web Services is important. Web Services, for a long time, was a solution in search of a well-defined problem. Now, with the "cloud" becoming a workable construct, Web Services come to the forefront as the way that stateless platforms can interact without intimate knowledge of the underlying infrastructure. Web Services will become more and more important as IT services are increasingly abstracted away from the hardware and OS platform. As I've worked for the past two years as a design architect for an infrastructure-as-a-service type platform, I can say with some authority that they're are an integral part of how we're going to need to deal with virtualized environments and stateless service contexts as they become pervasive elements of IT solutions.

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795995)

Whatever happened to SaaS? Oh, still not really here is it?

a) What do you think "cloud computing" is, exactly? That's right... SaaS.

b) What do you think gmail and the rest of the Google app suite is?

No, SaaS, as a concept, is alive and well. Will it grow and turn into an actual money-making endeavour? That I don't know.

Or "Web Services?" In the end, its just another way to move data around... nothing really revolunatary.

Funny, given there's web services *everywhere*. Amazon exposes their API through a web service. Facebook exposes their API through a web service. The list goes on. In fact, web services have been wildly successful in exactly the way intended: they've provided real, portable API-level integration between web applications.

And that's ignoring all the *other* applications that are exposing their data and APIs through web services.

So, revolutionary? No, of course not. Who said they would be? A further evolution of the web, and a successful one? Absolutely.

Re:SOX HIPPA etc (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796297)

nothing really revolunatary

That should be a real word. It could mean, adj, the case of being avant-garde to the point people thing you're crazy.

We had someone yesterday use the word "massivate" -- to make more massive.

And cloud computing is here to stay, it'll just become more part of every day stuff. It'll eventually need to be regulated for privacy and that may require federal subsidies the same way farmers do if Google can't keep scanning your data for advertising purposes. It'll be interesting.

Infoworld Idiocy (4, Insightful)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795107)

I would like to point out that this article was written by Eric Knorr. Editor in Chief at Infosuck... I mean Infoworld. I am a 40 year old IT Director. I have been at this for 20 years. As far as I can remember, every place I've been, Infoworld usually is sitting in the lobby or somewhere in the IT magazine rack. It's one of the rags that CIOs like to have up front to show they are "in touch".

I remember when Bob Metcalfe was EIC, and when they sued Mark Stephens over the use of the pen name Robert X. Cringley.

I can't remember anything, any major direction, they were well informed or ahead of the curve on. Not one. I remember the Lotus Notes vs. Microsoft Exchange wars, I can't ever remember thinking 'Wow, Infoworld is really on top of this trend.' Can you?

As such, I wouldn't even read that claptrap about SaaS. It's fodder for CIO types to talk to CEO types about. Truth is, SaaS is evolutionary, not revolutionary. That's been true for everything in the past 20 years of computing.

Re:Infoworld Idiocy (3, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795403)

Oh come on now, this was a great article.

for me to poop on!

Re:Infoworld Idiocy (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795425)

Truth is, SaaS is evolutionary, not revolutionary. That's been true for everything in the past 20 years of computing.

Yes and no. Evolutionary doesn't mean that you never get sudden shocking change. You can get get long slow changes that suddenly lead to a catastrophic change (in a mathematical sense) to a new stable state. I don't claim to be wise enough to say that SaaS is such a tipping point though. Maybe it's just same-old-same-old. Maybe it's even a response to a tipping point, and we didn't notice the world crashing around our ears...

Re:Infoworld Idiocy (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796371)

You're definitely right, when multi-core processors hit mainstream no one was terribly impressed, they were aware of SMP already but it enabled a whole new world of virtualized computing and densities that made it prohibitive before.

Suddenly one server really can do the work of 8 old servers and without any sacrifices. This even makes clustering cheaper which is something not nearly enough companies employ given how reliant many companies are on their IT infrastructure.

Re:Infoworld Idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795711)

As a 55 year old IT Director/Architect/Jack-of-All-Trades I commend you.

You have noticed something that the bulk of the "industry" seems to be blissfully unaware of (or at least willfully in denial of)...

IT is filled with self-serving trend-whores who create needless churn.

But hey, that's capitalism for you.

Re:Infoworld Idiocy (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796709)

It's one of the rags that CIOs like to have up front to show they are "in touch".

I thought it was because it was free and it feels like a waste just to throw it away.

We''ll get there when we get there. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795189)

The reality check implies practical experience. The more the better. Things don't always work out the way you expect.

Slow Progression (5, Insightful)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795215)

There is a slow progression to that point. Looking back 10 or 20 years ago today there have been significant advancements in technology and many game-changing technologies that never became mainstream. Even virtualisation has been held back by the 'needs' of the small and medium business - most have no need for it. The cloud will start in large enterprises and maybe trickle down to small businesses in some form or another, but we'll still need many IT techs at all levels of knowledge and organisation.

As long as businesses hold onto legacy software, advancement will be kept at a reasonable maximum. We still have accounting software that is 25 years old. Can we put that in the "Cloud"? Perhaps cloud computing or grid (like electricity utility) is where we are headed, but the jobs that is displaces will be filled in the "Cloud Industry".

I try to keep my feet wet in all aspects of IT regardless of the specific duties I'm performing at a job - this way I can at least have a taste for what I enjoy, what I'm capable of (programming, say) or where I might like to be in 10 years. As trends pick up, I'll devote more time to the fields which may have a better payoff in not only my personal life, but my professional life. I have dabbled enough in virtualisation to become proficient, but I am no expert - mainly because I, or the company I am at, have little to no use for it at the moment, but I realize the possibility my next job may have for it.

What the Industry sometimes fails to realize is that it is IT people who make or break the products. From the majority of /, readers responses to all these Cloud Computing posts, the main concerns are reliability and security. Reliability may be solved soon, but I feel security will always be a neverending list of crackers and incompetence on the part of the cloud utility. Too many stories of losing usb keys, laptops, security passes, passwords, etc, on the part of large "no fail" companies that should know better. Most businesses will be very very adverse to giving up control of their data, and somehow I don't see that ever changing, even when they claim the risk is almost 0%.

Re:Slow Progression (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795569)

What the Industry sometimes fails to realize is that it is IT people who make or break the products.
Most businesses will be very very adverse to giving up control of their data, and somehow I don't see that ever changing, even when they claim the risk is almost 0%.

Don't forget to factor in the "costs" (in a broad sense) of doing stuff the old way too. While putting stuff out there definitely does carry a risk, so does keeping it in-house where it is subject to a lot of bumbling incompetence. Let's be honest. Not all IT staff are amazing superheroes who instantly enable their users to do anything they want while simultaneously upholding all corporate policies.

(FYI, a number of big businesses are looking hard at running internal clouds, which muddies the picture a lot.)

Re:Slow Progression (0)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795713)

Does everyone remember when all the corporations were moving away from horses to those new fangled automobiles?

Sure only the big corporations could afford automobiles at first and there were many small businesses that kept horses because it was cheaper?

Re:Slow Progression (3, Interesting)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795725)

What the Industry sometimes fails to realize is that it is IT people who make or break the products. From the majority of /, readers responses to all these Cloud Computing posts, the main concerns are reliability and security. Reliability may be solved soon, but I feel security will always be a neverending list of crackers and incompetence on the part of the cloud utility. Too many stories of losing usb keys, laptops, security passes, passwords, etc, on the part of large "no fail" companies that should know better. Most businesses will be very very adverse to giving up control of their data, and somehow I don't see that ever changing, even when they claim the risk is almost 0%.

When the cloud utility is Google, IBM, Amazon or some other mega corporation there is no way in hell that the security or reliability will be any worse than what a small company can muster on their own. The writing's been on the wall for a long time now, but many techies that love dealing with server infrastructure doesn't want to give up control of what they have, or aren't able to admit that someone else can do their job better. It is the same thinking which is why some people still insist on building their own servers by assembling the hardware components themselves and running Gentoo instead of buying something pre-packaged. Economies of scale doesn't work out very well for those.

Re:Slow Progression (3, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795737)

Even virtualisation has been held back by the 'needs' of the small and medium business - most have no need for it.

I would beg to differ. Most don't see the NEED for virtualization, but I can assure you that it is very much a hidden asset (need) that is not being fulfilled.

Most people see technology as "we'll fix it when it breaks". And they have no idea how much their lives and businesses depend on it, until it disappears.

Long term replacement plans are never employed, and businesses end up being held hostage by disaster.

I know of plenty of small businesses who have gone out of business because their ONE server has died, and they can't recover the data. Their one server died, because it was ten to twelve years old, and they never thought to do backups, or replace it, or whatever because they don't have a full time IT staff dedicated to supporting it to explain why they need to worry about such things.

Virtualization is just another means of removing Hardware dependencies from the equation. That Abstraction layer is such that you can migrate the server to new hardware faster and easier than trying to migrate it. I can do a whole new hardware platform migration in a few minutes with VMWare. Shut the old machine down, move the VM to the new box, fire it up.

And when you add in features like snapshots it just rocks. I can't tell you how much snapshots are worth. I've even used VM snapshot in a criminal investigation, where we could show exactly when the fraud was started.

It saves them money, and headaches, and eventually it will save their business.

Re:Slow Progression (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796565)

Shut the old machine down? XenMotion and Vmotion allow you to migrate to new hardware without evening dropping a packet!

Shocked me the first time I did a XenMotion migration as I was recursively pinging the host to see if it would drop anything and indeed it didn't. Of course it helps to have a really fast back-end storage mechanism. NetApp has done well by us for this as my slowest NetApp unit is what I've been doing my testing with. This also means I can do volume snapshots with NetApp, then mirroring the snapshots to another NetApp and backup is taken care of without the need for Backup Exec.

You're definitely right in that most companies don't see the need for virtualization but that is precisely because they are unaware of how much more productive they can be with modern software. There is a balance to strike between bleeding edge and horse and buggy but most small businesses without dedicated IT staff never upgrade until something breaks not knowing any better. The reality is that most companies don't see IT as a revenue generator and as long as they see it that way it will never be treated with the respect it deserves. Good luck marketing without computers, phones, emails, and Internet access. Good luck selling your merchandise when your POS terminal doesn't have Internet access. They enable profit to be made, they don't hinder it!

Re:Slow Progression (2, Interesting)

CanadaIsCold (1079483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796255)

I think we all need to really listen to the basic message of this article though. Things are going to change, automation and virtualization will become more and more common within the datacenter. Your point on security is a good one but public isn't the only cloud delivery model. A private cloud solution leaves the internal security organization in control. It has higher upfront costs than public cloud but has some advantages.

I think you're right that IT people make or break a solution and the same is true of cloud models. The need for IT people to design, build and repair the automation will stay in the new model. I'm not sure if this is "blue collar" IT or not (sort of a dumb concept). I wish cloud wasn't pushed as a new concept because in reality it's a convergence of a number of concepts that have been in the industry for some time. I think that's what makes it a little more of a reality than the traditional new buzzwords. Cloud Computing is taking the standardization efforts of SOA and ITIL and adding automation and virtualization. Since most of us now have IAAS and PAAS documented it makes it easier for Cloud to catch on.

There will be a shift in roles. People that today have most of their job defined by Server Build, Application installation, or OS installation are in danger. They need to either script themselves out of a job, thereby becoming "Automation Experts" or someone will likely do it for them. Current timelines within organizations for server build of 1-2 weeks is going to become a pressing issue as we exit this recession and try to ramp up new projects. Cloud is available at the right time to address those concerns and is based in concepts that people have already been using for a couple of years. It's possible that the word Cloud will go away but the concepts that it brings are going to stick around for a long time, and be a game changer.

Re:Slow Progression (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796905)

Most businesses will be very very adverse to giving up control of their data, and somehow I don't see that ever changing, even when they claim the risk is almost 0%.

I really don't think you understand the average mindset of a PHB or MBA.

Most of them don't understand the concept or care enough to learn about it as long as they get their bonus.

These are the same people who outsourced positions that would be reviewing critical and confidential data overseas and these are the same people who are going to jump ship with a golden parachute when the ship sinks.

Maybe I'm being cynical, but most businesses will happily give up their data even though their IT dept is screaming bloody murder because its cheaper for them to do so or that the vendor salesperson bought them the best lunch.

The Sysadmin is dead! Long live the Sysadmin! (4, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795217)

And I say that as a sysadmin myself.

There are thousands of businesses around the world that are just large enough to need a couple of full-time IT people of some description. These businesses account for a lot of IT jobs. If you actually crunch the numbers, the huge companies of this world don't employ that many people as a percentage of the working population.

SaaS allows a business to grow much larger before it needs a full-time IT presence than was previously possible - all those crappy little applications (of which there are thousands) that IT technicians, sysadmins etc. got to know backwards and inside out and were next to useless in their next job are going the way of the dodo. PC so full of viruses and spyware it's virtually unusable? Considering the amount of money you'll pay per month for a full-time member of staff, it may well be cheaper to keep a couple of spares in the cupboard and just bin it when you hit trouble.

This is great for the business - they can get more done for less money. Not so much for the sysadmin.

Re:The Sysadmin is dead! Long live the Sysadmin! (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796699)

As a sysadmin myself I feel confident in saying that you're way off base particularly because of SaaS. When you depend on a 3rd party entity to provide you with access to applications that means your local infrastructure needs to be rock solid because you can't afford to wait for some contractor to come out and fix whatever broke. This is especially true for those businesses that currently get by with one IT guy, this will still not enable those 5 person shops to grow to 50 without needing a full time sysadmin. At that level, you can't afford to have 50 people sitting idle because they can't access their applications.

As companies grow in size they invariably require more and more technology to assist them and so it's very important that some of it is local even when you use 3rd party services if for any other reason than performance since the last mile at least here in the U.S. is still pretty pathetic. Of course I have it good here as an ISP is a sponsor of ours, they were kind enough to run fiber straight into our building. It's great, 20meg commit and I can ramp up to 1gig when I need it through a simple phone call. Of course even that's not fast enough once you get to a certain level if you're using a 3rd party service provider. SaaS definitely has a place but it will not end anything. Taking the administrative work out of Office sounds like a great deal to me for instance as long as I can locally cache the application and files.

Blue White Blue (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795223)

Blue will shift to white... until white shifts back to blue. And all jobs will eventually be outsourced or replaced by scripts... About the time you decide to get a mortgage in a house you can't afford...

Re:Blue White Blue (1)

alexmin (938677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795377)

Every job that can be replaced by script (automation) should be replaced by one. This is how people grow productivity since stone age.

I won't hold my breath. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795241)

Look at how nicely Google Docs and the Cloud worked for Twatter.... It's to easy for hackers and the infrastructure just is there yet. Some apps it makes sense for but the current lemming bumrush for the cloud will start to lessen once the rain storms begin.

Blue collar??? (5, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795285)

This shift from 'blue-collar IT to white-collar IT'...

I don't think anyone, anywhere, ever, has considered an IT worker 'blue collar'.

Re:Blue collar??? what frickin' collar??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795407)

With the lame t-shirts i see around here I reckon most IT workers are NO-Collar workers.
Got root?

Re:Blue collar??? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795413)

Seconded -- if your job can't kill you it's not really blue collar.

Re:Blue collar??? (2, Funny)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795841)

I had a decommissioned half loaded 42U rack fall on me once.

An 8U server once fell and hit me in the head on another occasion.

My primary datacenter chiller caught fire while I was literally sitting next to it working on a piece of equipment. BTW, Halon works.

The coup de grace of danger was when a leaking overhead pipe was cascading water over a 400 amp three phase power main cabinet. I had to go in and pull the disconnect lever.

Danger finds a way. :)

Re:Blue collar??? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795915)

Just like Star Trek after all. Any sparks and smoke?

Re:Blue collar??? (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796545)

Just like Star Trek after all. Any sparks and smoke?

Yes, during the chiller fire.

No on the power cabinet. They make those things with water in mind. But still, how willing are you to trust an engineer and installer far away and years ago? ;)

Re:Blue collar??? (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796793)

haha... you sound like me, always end up in the oddball situations. A rain storm had blooded the basement of a hotel I was working on. We had to wade through a foot of water pouring out of the main power cabinet! We figured since it hadn't shorted the power we were safe.

I was pulling a storage server out once, half way out the rails gave way and to my stupidity I put my foot out to slow it down breaking a toe but saving the server!

This is still nothing to the tent guys that work for us that climb 300 feet in the air to tighten bolts during a windstorm with 8000 people below none-the-wiser. We had a tent guy fall from the top of the tent, needless to say, he didn't survive.

There is no way IT is blue collar. Maybe certain aspects can be like call center support or helpdesk type stuff but certainly not the sysadmin or programming worlds.

re: My friend used to refer to I.T. workers as .. (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795485)

.. gray collar, because much of I.T. lies in this fuzzy area between blue and white collar job descriptions.

On one hand, you need to have education and intelligence above what's typically needed for a "blue collar" job. (I realize there are plenty of jobs, like various areas of construction, where one needs to use their brain, have some math skills, etc. etc. But they probably re-use the same basic set of skills for years, as long as they specialize in the same job, like flooring installation, or drywalling, or ??) With I.T., everything changes regularly -- if for no other reason, simply because companies need excuses to keep reselling people the same items they already bought 2 or 3 years earlier. Also, the fact that I.T. workers usually work in climate-controlled office environments compares to the norm for a "white collar" position. All in all, I.T. workers are paid for their knowledge more than for their physical labor.

On the other hand, like a "blue collar" job, I.T. workers usually get stuck doing everything from cleaning dust and dirt out of the insides of workstations to crawling under tables and desks, along dirty floors, and climbing ladders to reach drop ceilings or duct-work, to get network cabling run. They may spend a good part of a workday un-boxing new systems, carrying them around to their destinations, and hooking up cables - plus carting off the old ones. They may be asked to clear printer jams, or go out on a shop floor in a factory environment, and disassemble equipment that has a computer board and processor at the heart of it (maybe even to fix an issue as simple as the CMOS battery having gone dead, so the BIOS no longer holds settings).

Re: My friend used to refer to I.T. workers as .. (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796607)

Ick.. I'm a sysadmin and if I had to do that stuff (crawling along dirty floors) I'd quit.

Re: My friend used to refer to I.T. workers as .. (1)

CanadaIsCold (1079483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796683)

Agreed. I think the definition above is a pretty limited view of what "IT workers" defines. There's a lot more going on in the industry.

Re: My friend used to refer to I.T. workers as .. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796881)

Ick.. I'm a sysadmin and if I had to do that stuff (crawling along dirty floors) I'd quit.

I remember working in Operations and installing Change Controls one day and then pulling floor tiles and running cables in the data center the next. Not to mention having to help lift 100 lbs disk storage arrays to be rack mounted.

And yes, occasionally our asshole manager told us to go "tidy up the machine room", which meant relabelling machines, picking up papers and generally being a janitor. Happily, they never told us to dust, as even they probably realized that we'd cause the HVAC to explode if we released that much dust at once.

All this at 50-70 dollars an hour. I definitely felt more than a little blue collar on some days. You do what you need to in order to make your money, until you can go somewhere else. Now, they don't even let me in the data center without an escort. I've been promoted to the rank of "can't be trusted in the data center". Someday, I may be promoted to "can't be trusted to log into servers"... I mean "technical management".

Re: My friend used to refer to I.T. workers as .. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796741)

If we're following this logic, then it really depends on the job function. Personally, I think that the typical desktop tech is veering closer to a blue-collar position as computers increasingly become low-priced commodity items. We're already at the point where people can land "PC tech" and even sysadmin jobs if they simply get certificates from specialized trade schools. This is the same process that mechanics, plumbers and electricians can follow to get farther along in their career paths.

That's not to say that these vocations are poorly paid, though! Have you seen the prices plumbers command for simple work? God forbid if I didn't know how to change my toilet bowl; they'd gut my wallet! (Pun intended.) They're respected less than the lawyers and doctors of the world, but some of them can make just as much.

However, I think that jobs "higher" on the IT scale still demand a college degree simply for company executives to make their companies look good, even though the general responsibilities these positions required can literally be learned on the job. You don't need to be a computer science graduate from NYU to know how to use dcpromo or learn how to maintain some C++ projects, for example, but bigger, more reputable, companies and boutique hedge funds/investment banks around here require that for server admins, software developers and such.

This is partially the reason why I'm not too fond of the college model as it stands today. A lot of the goals that us college students are supposedly working for can be learned on-the-job, and are most definitely not required to graduate to management and executive positions. But that rant's for another post.

Re:Blue collar??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795511)

The definition of blue collar is shifting. It used to mean people who worked in the trades and with their hands or whatever. Now it is beginning to mean anyone who is not a C level executive. Or at least director level I guess. I think its kinda silly that we even have to label things in this way but what do you do? America wants the classes clearly defined, (lower and upper) and this is just more puss from the oozing wound.

Re:Blue collar??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28796471)

This is some one trying to define a new normal. There is probably a name for this technique. It means there is a think tank behind this shill.

Face it. The world is not ready for computer geeks. Geeks had a brief high point when the film 'Hackers' came out, but this was to show the normal people that using a computer was cool and OK, ie: to move product, PC's, cell phones, games and now smart phones.

Management wants IT to be blue collar. IT is not blue collar. IT will consume the rest of the back office and most of management. Business is being outsourced to IT companies not the other way around. IT gets more and more stuff heaped on it every day. Phones, routers, security. These are not strictly IT areas, but IT does them. IT is the department with brains, and more importantly, the department that solves problems. Difficult, technical problems.

Management wants IT to cheap and fungible. It is not cheap, never can be, and not that easy to fung'

Management wants 'resources' and not people.

Management places no value on the institutional knowledge inside people's head.

Management cannot pickup software and hold it, but software can be shiny.

Management has no idea how computers work, they just want them to work.

Managment shoots the geek messenger, not the product salesman who promised the sun and the moon and the silver bullet, with gravy.

We are ahead of our time. The world is not ready for geeks, or brains or logic or rational thought or abstract thought.

Re:Blue collar??? (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796999)

Phones, routers, security. These are not strictly IT areas, but IT does them. IT is the department with brains, and more importantly, the department that solves problems. Difficult, technical problems.

All items which as they mature as products become increasingly self organising and easy to configure, you might not be able to lose the last IT guy from the business because some knowledge is going to be needed, but you don't need a large team to configure and organise it either.

Indeed, the whole point about cloud computing is that a large team of sysadmins at a datacenter is still much smaller and hence cheaper that lot of little teams of sysadmins from all the companies that that datacenter can accomodate.

Possible problems with adopting SaaS? (4, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795361)

1) Flexibility: difficult to mold SaaS solution to your specific business operations.

2) Reliability: requiring a connection to the internet adds an additional point of failure.

3) Speed: easy to get 40mbps internally. Internet connect is more likely to be 1.5mbps split 50 ways.

4) Cost: from what I have seen, SaaS is not especially cheap.

5) Security: debatable.

6) Vendor-lockin: if you need something changed on the server side, you only have one choice for the developers.

I don't really know, and I suppose a lot of it is situational, but I am not certain that that is going to take over the world any time soon.

Re:Possible problems with adopting SaaS? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795853)

A lot depends on the kind of client that would go for SaaS.

Companies that depend on their IT to give them the edge over the competition? Probably not.

Companies that are sufficiently big & complicated that there will never be a "one-size fits all" solution that suits them? Probably not.

Companies that do something that is not directly related to IT and just see the computer as a sophisticated calculator/typewriter/balance sheet? Ah, now that's more likely.

And I'll tell you now that companies in the final category make up the great majority of companies in the world today.

Re:Possible problems with adopting SaaS? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795905)

1) Flexibility: difficult to mold SaaS solution to your specific business operations.

I'm not sure I've seen anyone proposing replacing in-house or custom built software with SaaS. It's for things like Word or other "stock" applications that you'd otherwise mass-deploy.

2) Reliability: requiring a connection to the internet adds an additional point of failure.

Well, I think in today's day and age, with large volumes of corporate inter-communication occuring over the internet (I get a lot of my correspondence with outside consultants and corporations done via email), a company's internet connection is *already* an SPF. And that's doubly true for organizations that are geographically dispersed and use internet connectivity to connect their sites (sure, you can try and replicate services, etc, but in the end, if that internet connection goes down, it's a big problem).

3) Speed: easy to get 40mbps internally. Internet connect is more likely to be 1.5mbps split 50 ways.

Sure, if your provider sucks. :) Either way, the real question is, how much bandwidth is really needed? A well developed web-deployed application does an awful lot of work client side. I mean, do you really think the Google Spreadsheet is constantly hitting the server? No, of course not.

It's an interesting question, though... I wonder if anyone's done any bandwidth studies to see how much bandwidth, say, 100 users using Google Apps would actually take up.

4) Cost: from what I have seen, SaaS is not especially cheap.

That's absurd. Compared to, say, a large scale per-seat licensing of Microsoft Office, I can't see how SaaS can be anything *but* cheaper. Add in the savings in deployment and upgrade costs, and I'd be shocked if it wasn't cheaper in the long run, too.

5) Security: debatable.

Yes, it is. Let's see, you can have thousands of users running an application littered with holes, or you can have the applications centralized in a hardened facility. 'course, the flipside is you're entrusting your data to a third party.

6) Vendor-lockin: if you need something changed on the server side, you only have one choice for the developers.

Oh, I know. When I needed to get something changed in Office, I have all sorts of alternatives! :)

In short, I think your mistake is in thinking that SaaS is out to replace either home desktop applications or custom in-house software. Personally, I just don't see those as being the marketplace for SaaS (unless the applications are extremely cheap or free, as in the case of the Google App suite). Where I think it'll win is in replacing COTS software that's normally rolled out in business deployments -- things like word processors, spreadsheets, email, calendaring, and so forth.

Re:Possible problems with adopting SaaS? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796937)

I should have been more clear. I was mainly thinking along the lines of ERPs, or other such business software. As far as office software goes, I'm not sure if I see a big advantage that google-apps has over openoffice.

Re:Possible problems with adopting SaaS? (1)

whowantscream (911883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797005)

5) Security: debatable.

I don't know that this is debatable because companies are so different... Security threats can be categorized as internal or external threats. When you keep your data local your internal threats are limited to your employees with access to the systems or data, and your external threats are anything outside trying to find its way in. When you put your data up in the cloud you are opening up the internal threats to both your employees AND the employees of the company hosting your data, and your external threats to a much larger group of people targeting a much larger 'payday' by attacking the service provider. One blunder by that company, or one stupid employee at that company, and a lot of people can be affected, including you. Perhaps you have a big name and everyone wants your data - putting yourself up on the cloud might not expose you to many more external threats, but for small companies the risk of external threat by keeping your data local could be less.

So - if you have stupid people in your company emailing confidential documents or making their password "bigboy" then it doesn't matter whether your outsource or not. On the other hand if you don't have the want or desire to have a solid IT security person, then the additional risks of your service provider getting hacked are probably still less than the risk of your local network being hacked.

And what, exactly, connects *TO* the cloud? (3, Funny)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795405)

And how do you connect to it? I hate this idiotic world view that we all magically plug into the cloud and the data mystically appears in front of our eyeballs.

Last time I checked, the cloud holds the data... it doesn't get us to the cloud, nor does it process the data (well, in some cases, maybe).

They're all unknowingly implying that we're going to plug into some matrix style knowledge bank.

And if that really is the case, I guess my IT job will shift to cleaning those metal brain plugs.

Re:And what, exactly, connects *TO* the cloud? (1)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795767)

I heard the same reasoning when IT moved to networked drives and shared printers.

Re:And what, exactly, connects *TO* the cloud? (1)

NUBlackshirts (680256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796513)

Just make sure you have plenty of isopropyl alcohol and Q-Tips to clean those plugs.

Re:And what, exactly, connects *TO* the cloud? (1)

CanadaIsCold (1079483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796809)

Ignore the buzzwords. Cloud computing is a simple concept. Cloud is web driven model for requesting compute resources that uses automation and virtualization to accomplish the task in a shortened time frame compared to traditional methods. There is no "The Cloud". In a public cloud model you would request these resources and then they would be made available on the public internet or possibly via a pre-defined vpn. You would connect to these machines in the same way that you would connect to any other servers that you have in traditional hosted environments.

There are other models, Private Cloud just uses the same concepts that public cloud uses and applies them to your existing IT infrastructure. Your users get easy access to compute resources and because they are inside your network connecting to them is no different from connecting to any other system you maintain.

Corporations like cloud because it reduces their time to delivery and their overall cost of building a new server. IT people should like it because it enforces standardization, and increases reliability due to the reduced risk of human error. Also IT people should like it because most of what it does is pretty boring anyway and we've all most likely scripted it. Cloud just re-uses those scripts and executes them for us.

Vannevar Bush's electronic brains (1)

axiome (782782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795411)

Maybe Vannevar Bush's prediction of giant electronic brains wasn't so far fetched?? It just is showing up in a different form from the giant skyscraper towers he predicted. It seems like the progression towards centralized computer a la mainframes is trying to make its way back.

Wheres the Stats to back it up? (1)

bdrees (1015815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795415)

What would have been interesting to see is the stats to back this up.

Break it down to size of business and the number of resources dedicated to the Cloud Sourcing across time. (Theres that damn "Cloud" word yet again)

I would just about bet that less than 5% of small and mid size businesses dont even know what the hell Could Sourcing is, let alone are using it.

Now look at the comparison of employees in small and mid size business compared to Lage corps and I bet it would make this article disappear!

Oh no (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795417)

What jobs this terrible economy isn't going to take, cloud computing is going take. Oh no, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.

I can't help you, no one can help you.

What a freakin claptrap article.
Cloud computing spending is going to increase from 12 billion to 46 billion in the next 3 years and there problably won't be any large scale movements to cloud for another 10 years. (From the FTA).

Do they really think they have a handle on what the hell is going to happen in the next 10 years? So much so that we should panic now. I think that there are some other things which may have a bigger impact on IT jobs in the near future.

Wish I had a job where I could sit down and make up shit about technology industry, write it down and then call it a day.

Re:Oh no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795669)

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Not news - entreprise integration was always big (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795615)

Software for consumers is mostly Consumer Products which is a part of the industry that doesn't employ that many IT professionals.

The vast majority (by far) of IT professionals works in IT Services and in-house software development units, both of which are pretty much all about custom enterprise applications development and integration.

The other bit of the industry left (IT Corporate Products) is again all about corporate applications development and integration (which while mostly product oriented still includes a lot of product customization work)

Come to think of it, in my whole career in IT (12 years, 3 countries in Europe) I have never even met anyone which exclusively worked in consumer products.

This is not at all illogical:
- Companies have all sorts of strange and complex needs in many different domains, are must less prone to adjust their internal processes to the software and have the monetary means to pay to have IT professional (either in house or contracted) to create and/or adjust software to match those companies' internal processes.

Consumers on the other hand have a much narrower range of needs and are much more likely to just accept and follow the way their software makes them do things (which is why, for example, cross-integration between consumer products from different companies is almost nonexistent except if one is dominant in a market).

Adding cloud computing to a statement about the status of the industry for the past 15 years and calling if a forecast is neither a forecast nor news.

Uh huh... (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795641)

Because, of course, once we're all in the cloud, computers won't crash any more, LANs will just magically build themselves and the Internet will never go down.

The cloud isn't reducing complexity (3, Insightful)

bbasgen (165297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795851)

IT complexity has increased over time. There is always this notion that IT is going to down size, but this isn't going to happen when a greater number of services are shifting to IT and while complexity of systems and integration continues to increase. Outsourcing creates the illusion that IT is "shrinking", but that is a misnomer: IT has actually increased in size, just not through some brick and mortar method. As an example, at our college we are moving to Google Apps for students. This hasn't replaced some in-house Office solution we created for students. It is a totally new feature. Sure, it is outsourced, but it has to integrate with our existing systems, etc. This has increased our responsibilities and services offerings. We did the same for a 24/7 helpdesk -- we outsourced, but it is an entirely new offering, so our size and services increased again.

When the complexity of IT systems plateaus, becomes commoditized, then IT staff will indeed experience some fundamental shifts. As it is now, for every system that is commoditized, two or three more have increased in complexity.

And where are the flying cars? (2, Interesting)

SeaDuck79 (851025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795879)

There is more to SAAS and Cloud computing than the technical aspect. People, in general, are averse to change, and introducing another technology into the Peter Principle must be factored in as well. As our cultures become more complex and risk-averse, that is more enhanced, meaning that there has to be a very tangible REASON to change that is worth the upsetting of the status quo.

So for the short term, only early adopters are going to dip their toes in this water, by putting hot-swap sites on a cloud (though the reliability of the cloud service still needs some upgrading). The mid-term will see server hosting on the cloud, using the same applications and processes they would have anyway. Only when SAAS can be presented as a viable economic model to the companies paying for it will they look at it.

I know some of the guys at Amazon who are working on this. Without giving any secrets away, there are some technical and security issues that will take some re-architecture to overcome before client/server software could be reliably and easily hosted there. Amazon moves as quickly as anyplace in resolving such things, but it will take some time.

called it ditributed computing in decades ago (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795881)

New name, but same-old same-old.

the impact cloud computing will have on IT jobs (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795907)

The real danger here is Billy D. Williams selling you out to the emperor and his tall, dark lackey with the cape. Only this time they will be water-boarding Chewbacca, and Han Solo will be trapped by a lengthy and expensive Carbonite data protection contract.

hmmm (4, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795917)

It's ignorant to think that the future will all run on VMs, clouds, moonbeams and sunshine. All of that has to run on physical equipment somewhere. There is no such thing as something that exists 100% in the ether. It has to reside somewhere. These are physical ones and zeros we're talking about here.

With it residing somewhere, there has to be someone to design, build and maintain that equipment.

Also when companies see how big of a dip the performance of their critical apps take when they migrate to VMS, I can see a shift back to the racks and racks of servers.

Another Infoworld Fail.

Yours Truely,
Devil's Advocate

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28796765)

True, it all needs to run on physical equipment. But the point is, it takes less staff to run one large datacentre, then it does to run hundreds of small offices.
Economy of scale.

Re:hmmm (1)

CanadaIsCold (1079483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796933)

I think you're missing something in the cloud model. "Running on the Cloud" is a euphemism for a modified delivery model. Cloud moves the capacity planning role out of the delivery track. Capacity planning activity still takes place in all cloud models but it is based on overall usage and forecast rather than being evaluated at time of request. No one is suggesting we don't need the physical hardware just that it shouldn't be the end-users concern when they request a new compute resource.

Go out and find a whitepaper on this stuff that isn't targeted at CEO's. There are some good ones. I'd include links but I work for a vendor and I don't want you to get our slant.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28797009)

With it residing somewhere, there has to be someone to design, build and maintain that equipment.

True. But, instead of having someone in every company, you'll have one guy or more handling several if not more companies at once. So, the market for, let's say, DBAs will drastically decrease because every company will not have their own.

It happened with programmers. As more companies moved to the service providers (IBM, Oracle, SAP, etc...) they didn't need their own in house programming staff to reinvent the software that those vendors developed and tested and having a production track record.

Sure, there are still blacksmiths, but instead of one or more in every town, there's one or two in a state.

Not a threat at all (1)

goobermaster (1263770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795925)

Cloud computing, despite being, IMO still largely a buzzword, is not about to spell the doom of the IT profession.

Because when this cataclysmic event occurs, and thousands of techs are downsized, cloud computing will step right in to unbox and set up the computers. It will step right in and build the server racks, run the cabling, configure the LAN settings, create VPN's, manage the thousands of inane and trivial tickets that nonetheless require physical presence to fix.

It will also apparently make sure that nothing ever crashes. And what about redundancy? When the ISP has a meltdown, or a blackout happens and the net is unavailable, will the intranet cloud be sufficient without enough onsite support?

Please. This article is just FUD. IT techs will be needed, as always.

I bet it impacted IT careers at Liquid Motors (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795929)

I would not want to be working in IT at Liquid Motors [] right now. You can blame their problems on them or on the feds, but either way, they're in deep yogurt.

So in other words... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796029)

We have pretty much come full circle in concept. ( for those that remember the old days where everything was processed out on the big iron )

Clouds have a tendancy to dissipate... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796321)

So, you dump your entire Data Center in favor of Cloud computing, you embrace it all. Webmail, apps, collaboration services.

And then that fateful day comes when the Cloud is suddenly 404, and even your trifecta of Internet pipes isn't helping you get to your data.

C'mon, give me a break. People absofuckinglutely freak out when Gmail has a hiccup, and that is but ONE service needed in business today.

Nevermind the Security aspects of data in the cloud with Government buying and bailing their way into Corporate America boardrooms.

I call bullshit. Got about as much chance of "managing" the CEOs personal thumb drive via your home computer.

Loss of competitive advantage (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796325)

What cloud computing will do is to erase the advantage that one company has over their competitors. Take a company who has a 'better' business process and has built their in-house IT systems around it. Now, have them move to a cloud solution. The first things that must go are their custom data models and algorithms. Companies re-engineer themselves to fit OTS applications much more often than they customize the apps to fit the business. The next thing to go wil be their in-house development staff. No sense in keeping them around when nothing is left to be written that is specific to their company. Next, the executives who have domain knowledge specific to that companies' core processes can go. Since everyone in the industry (or across many) use the same processes, why pay big salaries when the supply of suitable talent is much larger.

So tell me: Why should I do business with your company? What do you do that your competitors don't? I mean, the cheap ones, in India or China.

I'm already planning my next career... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796329)

I'm already planning my next career: career re-training!

And the tech will live on... (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796547)

IT can get as business-like as it wants, but I want to see a large company *try* and axe the desktop/PC tech teams. Because we all know that Windows Vista is the first operating system that can fix itself...

The only people that suffer from these vertical moves are those at the lowest ends of the totem pole (i.e. help desk). Techs and admins were needed when computers were the size of small datacenters. Techs and admins were needed when the first desktop PCs became big. Techs and admins are still needed today, and will probably be needed tomorrow too.

Read "Forces of Production" (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796621)

by David F. Noble.

  The point of the book is that the post-WWII industrial landscape was not shaped by efficiency or technical concerns (both of which would have been better served by letting people who knew what they were doing run the factories,) but by the prejudices and political goals of factory managers, who were just as pointy-haired back in the day.

  The same thing is happening today in IT. Managers view themselves as being somehow under the thumb of any employee that they cannot completely dominate, so they try to deskill their labor force as much as they can, regardless of whether this is actually more efficient or even profitable.

This cloud discussion is beginning to smell... (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796639) the whole 'what will life be like without Mainframes' discussion of ten years ago.

Take every word of this... (1)

rbrander (73222) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796897)

...except change out "cloud-sourceing" for "Fourth-Generation Languages", and it could have been written in 1985.

Alas, "The Business End" resolutely REFUSES to let their IT be easy-to-make and easy-to-use; they always want "more power" even if it is illusory.

Look at the web: nothing could be simpler and hand more control over document production and dissemination than HTML assisted by a basic editor (the early ones were far simpler than word processors) and, say WinSCP to drag files up to a series of Unix directories on your Apache server. Problem solved, right? Word Processing could wither away.

But, no, no, they wanted control over the page appearance rather than the web concept of just defining the information and letting the web browser worry about presentation. They wanted every kind of embedded media - as proprietary as possible (just look at a common video format being evicted from HTML5) - and embedded programs in Java, JavaScript, Flash, PDF. And "The Business" eagerly grabbed each new development and ran with it, complicating the browser and server at every turn.

Now only expensive experts can possibly produce a web site that a large organization would allow under their URL.

Trust me on this: they'll find a way to make cloud-sourced solutions expensive and impenetrably complicated for all but those who spend 40 hours a week "keeping up" with the latest and learning the fine tweaks.

The Business' Reach Must Exceed Its Grasp, Else What is IT For? ...sorry. To put it in Business terms: you can have the exact same cloud-sourced solution as everybody else for nearly free. Or you can gain competitive advantage on all the opponents who believe that by paying the usual 5-6% of corporate budget to an IT department to squeeze more functionality out of it. They will always do so, as surely as a Department of "Defence" will always seek to have bigger weapons that the other guys, regardless of the technological base that both opponents start from.

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