I get so, so tired of this. I write anything about any kind of cloud technology and I get these knee-jerk letters that say the cloud is just marketing garbage and it's really just 1) client/server; 2) a data-center and/or 3) not worth thinking about. Please! Get a clue!
You can keep thinking like that if you like, but you know what? While many companies do indeed just paste the word "cloud" on what they're trying to sell you, the cloud really does have a clear definition — thank you, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — and the cloud is not just the same old stuff with a new wrapper.
If you keep thinking that, if you keep refusing to learn about cloud technologies, if you keep refusing to consider adopting them, you are not going to stay employed in IT for much longer.
Why? Because "clueful" CIOs, CFOs and CTOs are increasingly turning to cloud technologies, and they're going to fire clueless system administrators, developers, and system operators. If you still think that knowing how to manage Windows Server or deploy applications to a Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python (LAMP) stack is all you needed to keep a good IT job, I have news for you. Odds are you're going to be out of a job in a few years.
You don't have to believe me. Believe the data instead. In IT research company Gartner's latest study on the public cloud, Forecast Overview: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2011-2016, 4Q12 Update. Gartner sees global spending on public cloud growing 18.6% in 2012 to $110.3B, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016.
In other kinds of cloud deployments, Gartner sees Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) achieving a 27.7% CAGR through 2016. Cloud Management and Security Services will attain 26.7% in the same period. And Software-as-a-Service’s CAGR should hit 19.5%.
That's impressive. But, you know what's even more impressive? Gartner predicts that Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will achieve a CAGR of 41.3% through 2016.
Now then, do you really expect your expertise in deploying server operating systems on Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware is going to get well rewarded in the next few years with all that money flowing to IaaS? I Don't Think So. Oh sure, we'll always need technicians who can pop a server in a rack and plug in cables, but does really sound like the long-term career you always wanted?
I'll tell you why: the low-end server hardware business is dying. And, why, in turn, is that? It's because given a choice between buying and deploying generic physical servers of their own and deploying a server from a cloud vendor, more and more businesses are choosing to use the cloud.
You have a choice today. You can either continue to cry about how the cloud really doesn't matter... and join the unemployment line sometime soon. Or you can get on the stick and start learning about the cloud. I know which one I've chosen to do. You'd be wise to join me and join the 21st century of computing.