Microsoft is going cloud -- or already has gone cloud, depending on whom you talk to. What's not as well understood is how this shift will affect people who work with enterprise Microsoft systems. Will this mean a significant change to, or even elimination of, your job?
Unlike AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google, and IBM, Microsoft is relocating its core products, such as operating systems and databases, to the cloud. AWS does not have existing on-premises systems, so AWS's movement to the cloud is for new platforms. As with AWS, IBM offers a new cloud (via its SoftLayer acquisition) that doesn't replicate its existing enterprise technology. The same can be said about Google's cloud offering. So Microsoft is a unique case.
A move to Microsoft Azure means that how you use Microsoft technology, both in the cloud and on-premises, certainly will change. Chances are that fewer SQL server DBAs will be needed, and fewer people will be needed to maintain Microsoft's servers and keep things running in its cloud, although the skills required will be largely the same. Otherwise, there's little reason to move from on-premises Microsoft servers to cloud ones; Microsoft's play here is cost reduction through efficiency, not new business value through new capabilities.
My advice to those who work in IT on Microsoft technology: Get to know the Microsoft cloud offering pronto, and then make sure the powers that be know you know the Microsoft cloud.
If you work in IT management, you need to plan well in advance for the changes coming in IT roles and positions. Make sure "to be" resource planning has a nice and less disruptive glide path from the "as is" state. There will be changes in processes, roles, and responsibilities, as well as layoffs -- all of which will hurt morale. Do your best to ease the pain where possible.
If you work with Microsoft technology, your job is poised to change -- and maybe disappear. As my colleague J. Peter Bruzzese has starkly advised, prepare now for the cloud.
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