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Cloud Computing is Saving My Job

by Scott DeMoss, on Sep 25, 2014 4:26:25 PM

The cloud. A melding of meteorology with traditional IT? Not exactly.

When it comes to cloud computing there are definitely two perspectives. On the one hand, some information technology (IT) professionals view it as a resource that frees up their bandwidth by automating manual processes allowing them to focus on more innovative and strategic projects. On the other side of this story are those who fear the cloud because it has the ability to automate processes that they have been executing and managing for years.

The dramatized story that you’re about to read focuses on the positive side of cloud computing and how implementing the cloud can be viewed as a career saving venture.

Cloud-Computing-Platforms

The Windows system engineering job I was hired to do three years ago is going away and I couldn’t be happier. My company’s core business is changing in response to little or no growth from its traditional revenue streams. There is a renewed emphasis on cost and efficiency. The IT department I am a part of has grown up. We operate with much more consistency, and technology deployments are now an exercise in planning, design and execution. That’s a lot different than the routine service outages, late night break-fix exercises, and dreading my bi-weekly participation in the on-call rotation. My job has changed for the better. Our gradual adoption of cloud computing and its associated operational paradigms is the reason.

The role of IT is changing. Once viewed as just a necessary business asset – much like office space or a copy machine – our executive management team continues to embrace technology as an enabling capability. My internal and external IT “customer” expectations are evolving: their needs are greater and their willingness to wait is gone. In short, technology in my company is now about empowering business units and not simply technology for technology’s sake.

When I started, we followed a typical path to deploying infrastructure and applications that involved racking hardware, mostly manual configuration of devices, and only semi-automated processes for installing and updating applications. With some late nights and weekend pushes, by and large, we kept up. Or so we thought. When the business started to change, the IT department became an intense focus area for cost control. Our team didn’t expand. Demands from business units continued to increase in response to their own initiatives around efficiency. As a group, we were forced to change.

As we have adopted cloud concepts such as resource pooling, rapid elasticity, self-service and automated provisioning, I have had to learn a lot. Enabling end-users to provision their own IT services required a lot of orchestration so I have had to dust off my Python and Javascript skills from my computer science course (not to mention I had to finally submit and learn Windows PowerShell scripting).

With so many of our server and network components now controlled by virtualization software, I have had to acquire a much more in-depth understanding of networking and am now pursuing a technical certification for those skills. And rather unexpectedly, my understanding of my company’s core business has had to improve. Our team used to tell the business units what we could or would do with the technology. Now I realize that what the company does to generate revenue has a bearing on what we do in IT. They tell us what they are trying to achieve and we build to that – that’s cool! As if that weren’t enough, weekend-long platform build-out efforts are a thing of the past (my spouse and my dog really appreciate that).

“The Cloud” is more than a marketing banner for technology vendors – it is an agent of change. My willingness to embrace new technology models has transformed my role from order taker to difference maker – I engage with the business and make a difference beyond servers and storage.

Topics:AutomationCloudCloud and DevOps

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