Back on August 28th another ITKE poster wrote a blog post titled “The elephant not in the room” in which they talk about how if you want to work in IT in the future you better plan on working at one of the big cloud providers or you better be a programmer. I’ve got one simple response to this.
While it is true that a lot of companies are moving SOME services to the cloud, most companies are not looking at moving every service to the cloud. Even if they wanted to move everything to the cloud so that Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft (Azure), etc. could handle the managing of the servers there are some things which will simply never sit in the public cloud. Here’s a short list to start with…
- Medical Data (there’s this thing called HIPAA that requires you know who has accessed the data)
- Confidential data
- Any customer data from companies in Europe
- Most legacy applications which contain personally identifiable information
There are also plenty of services that IT provides that simply can’t be replaced by the cloud. This includes things like:
- Network infrastructure at the office
- DHCP, DNS, Authentication, etc. services at the office
- Telecom Services
- File Servers
- Account provisioning in what ever applications are running in the cloud
Even when services are moved to the oh so magical cloud there are still plenty of non-code things that need to be done by someone who works for the company who’s application will be hosted by the cloud.
- Virtual Machine Architecture (remember when Amazon’s EC2 had that little problem with some of the groups going offline?)
- Application deployments (separation of duties is still a SOX requirement when applications are in the cloud)
- Disaster Recovery planning (realistically how would the business have reacted during that EC2 outage?)
- Disaster Recovery testing (if you plan for a disaster and don’t test the plan, you’ve got nothing useful.)
- Scaling applications (not everything automatically scales like they marketing material says)
- Moving applications from one cloud provider to another (if I can save $10 a month by moving from EC2 to Rackspace for example, why shouldn’t I)
- Database Index Tuning
- Server Patching
On top of all of that, there’s other risks with moving everything that runs a company into the cloud. Now that you no longer own the servers you can’t control what the other servers are running on the physical hardware. So if that tier 1 application that requires millisecond response time isn’t getting it, there’s basically nothing that you can do. And what happens where there’s an internet outage at the office and your employees can’t access the software they need to do their jobs? Suddenly the savings of moving that tier 1 application to the cloud wasn’t the greatest plan.
Now there are definitely benefits to moving SOME application and services to the cloud, but the thought that everything will move to the cloud and if you want to stay employed you better learn how to write application code, is total crap.