Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Conquering the Cloud: Skills to Master in a Services-Based World

The rise and adoption of cloud services fundamentally changes the role of the IT professional

In a recent survey of IT pros, not only did cloud computing rank as a top three technology both as most disruptive and as most significant to business over the past three to five years, but it ranked as the number one technology investment most needed for businesses to remain competitive in the next three to five years.

In short, the cloud is here, and it's here to stay. We're naturally seeing many enterprises move to the cloud, at least in a hybrid traditional computing-cloud approach (for now). As more cloud-based services are born, the shift will only accelerate. This begs the question, what does all this mean for today's IT pro?

Does the cloud mean the end of the IT pro?
The rise and adoption of cloud services fundamentally changes the role of the IT professional. Some even argue that the demand for particular IT jobs may disappear altogether. That may sound ominous, but some aspects of IT will indeed change and many things IT pros do today will go away. Some companies may get to the point where they have to ask themselves if enough of the IT infrastructure remains on premise to justify maintaining current internal IT roles.

However, IT will not go extinct because of the shift to the cloud. In fact, it presents IT pros with an opportunity to do something absolutely critical to business success and that no one else is in a better position to do: manage and integrate these cloud services into existing business systems. This will be key for IT pros who want to remain relevant in the new services-based world.

Become cloud leaders
To remain relevant, IT pros must embrace the cloud, not be afraid of it. Business leaders have become more tech-savvy, yes, but they lack the IT skills needed to navigate the transition from traditional computing to cloud computing. This is where today's IT pro can step up as a leader in the new cloud environment, but it will take work.

Leveraging cloud services is not the same as delivering similar services from on-premise systems. In some cases, like IaaS and PaaS, IT pros will have to learn new ways of creating and deploying systems and applications. With a hybrid approach, IT pros will be challenged with managing a unified system running on different infrastructure in different places. For SaaS, the challenge will largely revolve around ensuring performance with only the data and management options provided by the vendor along with integration of the information provided by that vendor with other cloud or on premise systems to meet business objectives.

In light of these challenges and a few others, here are several steps IT pros need to take to survive in the services-based world:

  • Understand cloud services and technologies: As a starting point, IT pros need to know the key cloud services options available - SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. But it's not enough just to understand the options, it's important to determine what options work best for the business. For example, a small business that uses standard applications may benefit from SaaS, but larger enterprises that use a multitude of applications both standard and custom may benefit from a combination of services such as IaaS and PaaS. IT pros need to empower themselves to build and implement these solutions while also ensuring they're operating at optimal performance levels.
  • Ensure proper application and system integration: IT pros need to develop new skills around integrating cloud services with existing internal business systems or other cloud services to meet company-specific needs. If a company plans to primarily use cloud in a hybrid approach, IT pros will need to understand both their traditional job, how a related SaaS, IaaS or PaaS solution works and how to integrate them.
  • Become an IT security guru: While the cloud isn't necessarily less secure than on-premise systems, the security implications and risks of the cloud are slightly different. IT pros will need to learn the different cloud design models and related security tools available to help build a strong solution and increase confidence from business leaders.
  • Develop business skills: Understanding cloud technologies, their security implications and how to integrate applications and systems is crucial. Yet, IT pros need to take it to the next level and ensure IT priorities align with business objectives and needs. This skill is especially important as SaaS-type applications allow more IT decisions to be made by business people without the current levels of dependency on IT. Being able to understand the implementation, operations, management, integration and security of cloud systems in context of business requirements will be a valuable skill indeed.

Cloud computing is only one of the many emerging technologies impacting the way IT works today, but it is perhaps the most pervasive. IT pros must remain nimble, learning new skills and adapting to new technology trends while also understanding how these trends align with business strategies. This will empower IT pros to continually adapt their role and take a seat at the table as business bottom lines become increasingly reliant on technology.

More Stories By Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson is Director of Systems Management Business at SolarWinds.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
JFrog has announced a powerful technology for managing software packages from development into production. JFrog Artifactory 4 represents disruptive innovation in its groundbreaking ability to help development and DevOps teams deliver increasingly complex solutions on ever-shorter deadlines across multiple platforms JFrog Artifactory 4 establishes a new category – the Universal Artifact Repository – that reflects JFrog's unique commitment to enable faster software releases through the first pla...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.
Somebody call the buzzword police: we have a serious case of microservices-washing in progress. The term “microservices-washing” is derived from “whitewashing,” meaning to hide some inconvenient truth with bluster and nonsense. We saw plenty of cloudwashing a few years ago, as vendors and enterprises alike pretended what they were doing was cloud, even though it wasn’t. Today, the hype around microservices has led to the same kind of obfuscation, as vendors and enterprise technologists alike ar...
With containerization using Docker, the orchestration of containers using Kubernetes, the self-service model for provisioning your projects and applications and the workflows we built in OpenShift is the best in class Platform as a Service that enables introducing DevOps into your organization with ease. In his session at DevOps Summit, Veer Muchandi, PaaS evangelist with RedHat, will provide a deep dive overview of OpenShift v3 and demonstrate how it helps with DevOps.
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet condit...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
The APN DevOps Competency highlights APN Partners who demonstrate deep capabilities delivering continuous integration, continuous delivery, and configuration management. They help customers transform their business to be more efficient and agile by leveraging the AWS platform and DevOps principles.
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
In their session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, co-founder and the VP of Product at, and Tomer Levy, co-founder and CEO of, will explore the entire process that they have undergone – through research, benchmarking, implementation, optimization, and customer success – in developing a processing engine that can handle petabytes of data. They will also discuss the requirements of such an engine in terms of scalability, resilience, security, and availability along with how the archi...
“All our customers are looking at the cloud ecosystem as an important part of their overall product strategy. Some see it evolve as a multi-cloud / hybrid cloud strategy, while others are embracing all forms of cloud offerings like PaaS, IaaS and SaaS in their solutions,” noted Suhas Joshi, Vice President – Technology, at Harbinger Group, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff.
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Application availability is not just the measure of “being up”. Many apps can claim that status. Technically they are running and responding to requests, but at a rate which users would certainly interpret as being down. That’s because excessive load times can (and will be) interpreted as “not available.” That’s why it’s important to view ensuring application availability as requiring attention to all its composite parts: scalability, performance, and security.
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...