As much as cloud computing is getting media attention and is being hyped as the way that IT is going to be done in future, it seems that many people within the IT industry are ignoring it for now. While technologists, CIO’s and data centre professionals are giving cloud computing a look, other important roles within the IT chain seem to feel that it will not affect their jobs yet and are adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude.
Most cloud computing commentators are trying to make it seem fairly simple and easy to implement (if you use their product of course). Cloud computing does indeed seem simple until you start thinking more about the possible effects and ramifications. These ramifications reach beyond technical curiosity and the simple economic benefits being sold to business – the way we tackle solutions, engage with consumers and manage risk and change are going to be impacted in a cloud computing world.
Ten years ago, who would have predicted the issues that Facebook is dealing with at the moment? Not just technical scalability, which seems largely resolved, but major issues around privacy, regulation, IP law, perception management and so on – all on a massively global scale for a service that essentially provides nothing other than user generated content, with no transactional functionality that businesses depend on anywhere in sight.
The economies of the future will rely heavily on the consumerisation of non physical products, whether that be high quality media or simple dots on your mobile screen showing exactly where your friends are, and the large multinationals will inevitably move into and dominate (as yet undefined) future markets. The provision of the services to enable these economies is going to be in high demand and will, in turn, demand to be paid a premium. Being in demand and paid a premium is something that many IT professionals may be interested in.
People that are actively thinking about cloud computing are security specialists, developers, network engineers and storage people. There is a worryingly high lack of thought from technical people (the lack of interest from database professionals is of particular concern) which, I imagine will correct over time as the technology becomes more compelling. But apart from the technical people there are a whole bunch of other people directly or loosely related to IT that are needed to make solutions work – and they’re not thinking enough about the impact of cloud computing.
As a technical person, I have mainly focussed on the technology, but part of my somewhat lonely mission to get people to think about cloud computing beyond the hype, I have given some thought to what other roles and disciplines need to do when trying to deal with cloud computing. So over the next few days I’ll post some basic thoughts on the following roles:
Contrary to my style, I’ll try and keep the posts as short as possible.