For any high-tech employee that currently works as an IT specialist, the word "cloud" can produce two reactions: (a) confusion over just what a cloud is, and (b) uncertainty about the impact of the cloud on traditional IT processes. Both of these reactions can contribute to a third reaction which may be the most unpleasant of all: job insecurity.
Will a shift towards cloud computing and cloud storage reduce the need for traditional IT specialists, such as pure network and/or storage administrators?
I believe the answer is yes. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen inevitably.
There are numerous ways to read up on the term "cloud". This type of research can lead to a job search based on that knowledge. Internet-based research is a common tactic for anyone concerned with planning for a job future in the cloud (e.g., here is a U.S. government definition of common cloud computing terms).
A more fruitful approach would be to attend a certification course that specifically trains IT specialists to become cloud specialists. What kind of training would a cloud specialist undergo? There are two potential areas for certification.
•The overall architecture of a cloud deployment. This includes how to stitch together three of the main elements of a cloud (server, network, and storage), the importance of IP (internet protocol), the role of virtualization, the challenges of security as it pertains to multi-tenancy, etc., etc., etc.
•Drill-down courses that provide more detail on a specific aspect of cloud deployments. Certification in one or more of these areas would allow a cloud designer to work closely with a higher-level architect:
oDesigning the storage networking interfaces for a cloud.
oDesigning the information security aspects of a cloud.
oDesigning cloud services (e.g. storage as a service)
oDesigning a cloud for information availability.
The picture below describes the courseware and certification levels (EMCCA and EMCDCA) that were recently announced by my own corporation (EMC).
Industry analyst Steve Duplessie hints at the shifting role of IT specialists in a recent blog post:
"the data shows overwhelmingly that storage management functions will start to get sucked up into the virtualization layer. You will either become the "vSys Admin", who also handles storage [and networking] or a lower level tech"
If you have more questions about the benefits of certification (cloud or otherwise), please feel free to connect with me using the contact methods below. Also consider watching (or joining) a certification community.
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