Clouds in the IT Pro sky…or is there a Silver Lining?

It’s been almost two months since Microsoft TechEd North America 2014 in Houston, Texas. This post has been somewhat difficult to write and I’ve had to allow myself some time to ponder and let the information and stuff really sink in. Here are some of my post-TechEd thoughts around the new “Cloud Era” we’re about to enter. If nothing else, Microsoft’s attitude and selection of content at the conference made me think and realize how serious MS really is about Azure and the future of the business.SilverLining

TechEd North America 2014 – a let-down for IT Pros?

The web has been filling up with disappointed talk about the no-show of on-premises product announcements at this year’s TechEd North America conference. Given that TechEd has been the event of such announcements and that MMS was cancelled this year, the event was a sort of a let down for the IT Pro community. The Keynote was all about Azure, mobility and cloud services. Windows “9” has been rumored to be released 1H of 2015 so maybe the attendees of TechEd Europe 2014 in October will be more fortunate.

Microsoft has done a lot of stuff lately (shutting down TechNet subscriptions, focus on developers) that has made the IT Pro feel left behind and unappreciated. As a counter measure, a week later, MS posted this article in the “In the Cloud” blog by vice president Brad Andersson. Valid points, but smells a lot like damage control if you ask me…:) And Microsoft is not the only one, seems like the whole industry is in some sort of turmoil, like VMWare for example in this blog article. Kinda the same, isn’t it?

What’s going on? Well, the world of IT is changing. The question is, who’s willing to change with it?

The Cloud, a Threat or a Promise?

Windows on Every Desktop” was Microsofts’ vision back in the 90’s. Now that that’s practically accomplished, MSFT has to think of something else and gain growth on other venues. They’ve conquered the enterprise desktop and occupied a significant portion of the server rooms. Why not start pulling those workloads on their premises and charge for that? By doing this at such scale, the prices can be dropped, the Economy of Scale makes SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, EaaS (“Everything as a Service” :)) cheap and easy in the eyes of the buying customer.

It’s fair to think that this move can be seen as outsourcing of the IT infrastructure and only natural that IT professionals feel a little bit alarmed. It might be that they are the biggest hurdle at the moment for enterprises to make that first step in entering the Cloud Era. CIOs have already bought the idea of low-cost, easy infrastructure, but the people who actually have to implement it are fighting against it. It’s an obvious fact that there might not be as many jobs available after the systems are running somewhere else.

Hybrid Cloud is the probable outcome

A total move to the public cloud is probably not the way to go for most enterprises. MSFT among others embrace the hybrid cloud model where only the most suitable parts of the infrastructure start to leverage the benefits that the public cloud offers. Hybrid is probably going to be the way to go for most companies and this is where there is lots to be done for the IT Pro. This technology is not simple or trivial, it’s new and there’s a lot to learn. This is also an opportunity for career advancements for the willing. That’s what those above mentioned blog articles are trying to say.

What Should an IT Pro do?

It’s fair to say that the average IT Pro might be afraid of losing his job while moving his beloved servers and services to the cloud. What should he do then? Well, you know what happens to those who keep “standing still when it’s do or die“, right? Nobody wants the dude whose against the change and chaining himself to the old and familiar. This is no different than any other change. There are those who want to stall and fight the change, and those who take a step back, stiffen their upper lip, take their chances and see change as an opportunity for something better.

As Mark Russinovich said at TechEd (was being funny, but there’s some truth in every joke); “you have to ask yourself, do you want to be the other one of the two out of 60 people left in the IT department after the smoke clears out?”

You want my advice? Here is my TODO LIST for every IT Pro out there who wants to move forward and be the “it” of future IT.

  1. Get your “stuff” together and update your resume, get that curriculum straightened out, finish that almost done master’s thesis you’re still missing from your degree.
  2. Get certified! I’m telling you, that’s the way to prove you’re worthy.
  3. Take a peek at the developer side of things. Today, it’s easier than ever. The ones who understand both worlds are the key players of tomorrow.
  4. Get interested in the new stuff, always long for more, be systematic and persistent on your learning path, try out those free trials, it’s out there for free!
  5. Start now and don’t look back! 🙂

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