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Clouds ahead: What an IT career will look like five years out

Paul Heltzel | Sept. 9, 2015
IT infrastructure is increasingly giving way to the cloud. Here's how to remain relevant in the years ahead

That said, most experts agree that most applications will eventually move to the cloud, and the cases for hosting in-house applications will be far fewer.

Sean Jennings, co-founder and senior vice president, Virtustream
"For all but a select few organizations, on-premises will fade away within the decade." -- Sean Jennings, co-founder and senior vice president, Virtustream

"For all but a select few organizations, on-premises will fade away within the decade," says Virtustream's Jennings. "A few organizations are always going to have specific requirements for a given application or process that will require an in-house solution. For the rest of us, the new challenge IT faces in engineering solutions is to do so with an eye toward a cloud deployment instead of an on-premises deployment. This in many ways refers to the broader rise of devops, or an increasing marriage between IT and developer functions. Looking ahead, it's fair to expect this trend to further accelerate as IT operations become almost entirely cloud-based."

Potential hangups

Some see the cloud presenting the same hurdles as any other early-adopted technology. Some tough questions remain when we're talking about more than shadow IT, more than communications and backup, but rather the core applications that the business needs to exist.

"Is the security in the cloud as good as what I have control over in my data center?" asks David Fowler of INetU, a company that offers managed cloud hosting services. "How do I manage capacity and performance when the environment is virtualized and there are variables I no longer have control over? How do I handle backups and [disaster recovery] in a virtualized world? How do I integrate the data in the cloud with the other systems that may be in my data center or a different cloud?"

Businesses need to ask themselves these questions and decide whether they'll develop the expertise to answer them in house or hire outside resources.

"In either case, IT can play the role of an enabler for the business to move faster, rather than acting as a roadblock to deploying new business solutions," Fowler says.

 

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