Thursday, December 30, 2010

Musings on 2010 and Predictions for 2011

[UBER-DISCLOSURE: These thoughts or predictions offer no insight or insider-knowledge from my current employer. This discussion is strictly from my own thoughts, based on publicly available information]

I tried this last year when I was working for a different vendor and it turned out reasonably accurate. Granted, when you make predictions as a vendor you tend to be aligned to your company's existing strategy (see here and here) and you don't take much risk. So this year I'll do it on this site and see if we can create some more interesting discussions.

People Movements: 2010 was a big year for people leaving IT jobs or VARs to work for vendors, especially around Integrated Stacks. In 2011 I expect there to be continued movement of people in those directions, but maybe a few more to Service Provider companies that offer Cloud services to Enterprise and Commercial sized companies. The more interesting thing I expect to see in 2011 is 5 or 6 well-known, influential people from established hardware vendors moving to public cloud companies. These types of changes always cause people to pause and reset their thinking about the bigger picture.

Thoughts on how Cloud Computing will impact tech jobs

Regardless of your view about the future of Cloud Computing, there is generally consensus that we're in the early stages of a transformation in how IT is acquired, built and consumed. IT professionals are beginning to wonder what things like infrastructure convergence, IT-as-a-Service, hybrid cloud and other changes will mean to their future.
  • Will these changes help me? Do I have skills that align with the latest trends?
  • Will these changes allocate me to the bit bucket of IT jobs because my expertise is limited or antiquated?
  • Will these changes accelerate the need to eliminate my position or outsource my role? 
Instead of making suggestions on specific skills that IT professionals might want to focus on, I thought it might be better to discuss some of the macro-level concepts that should be taken into consideration.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Multiple approaches to Hybrid Cloud

Most of 2010 was consumed with the religious wars between Private Cloud and Public Cloud, debates about the best ways for businesses to build (or consume) the next-generation of IT services. But with the recent announcement by Amazon Web Services which allows the import of VMware VMs, the debate is starting to move towards the concept of a Hybrid Cloud. In this case, it's specifically focused on the aspect of Hybrid Cloud that allows applications (a.k.a. "workloads") to move from one cloud to another cloud.

All this means that 2011 will be filled with talk of Hybrid Cloud. Definitions of hybrid, initial hybrid services from external providers, and lots of customers wondering how they should plan to take advantage of these new architectures.

So let's take a look at some of the approaches that businesses might take to incorporate "Hybrid" functionality into their near-term and long-term IT strategies.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

If I ran a Cloud Computing provider...

I recently ran across this humorous video showing how Cloud Computing providers are having conversations with their customers. While it's obviously a fictional scenario, it highlights some of the key concerns that customers have about moving their corporate information to an external service. While cost is always a factor, it's not the only factor. Customers have existing investments in hardware and software, as well as processes that integrate with various aspects of the business. Lori MacVittie (F5) does a good job highlighting why cost isn't the only issue involved in Cloud Computing.

Why Cloud Computing is so complicated to understand?

As part of my job, I get the chance to talk to many people about Cloud Computing on a daily basis. Technology vendors, researchers, analysts, press, and customers of all sizes. Inevitably, every conversation reaches a point where somewhat asks, "what do you mean by Cloud Computing?" It's unfortunate that this still happens, but it's worth looking at what's causing the confusion.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Maybe Cloud Computing is "Better IT" (...and everybody is IT)

Sometimes it drifts into the land of cliches, but at the best companies you almost always hear the leaders say, "Everybody is in sales" (or customer-service). By this they mean that every single person in the company has some element of their job that affects an interaction with a customer. Whether you engineer the product, design the website, put the box in the mail or answer the customer-support line, almost every job in every company has at least a dotted line directly to the customer. Every one of those people affect the interaction with the customer and ultimately the level of sales for the company.

What you don't hear very often is, "Everybody works in IT". This is strange because most jobs interact with technology and most people use at least one (and often many) device that connects to the network and accesses IT applications. It would be easy to say that this analogy doesn't make sense, because "users" are the customers of IT services. They might complain that they don't like the service, but it's not "their job" to deliver the service.