by September 3, 2009 0 comments



Looking at the benefits that Cloud Computing provides, enterprises are keenly
observing and devising strategies on how to move forward in this domain. Be it
as a provider of services on the Cloud platform or as an enterprise to migrate
its applications to the cloud, most organizations have started venturing into
this domain. Whatever be the benefits and adoption rate, there shall be need for
new talent to help companies adopt to this latest technology. As can be seen
from past experience, a new technology brings in new career opportunities and
also makes old technologies redundant, you can expect the same from Cloud
Computing.

IT professionals over the years have experienced how technologies evolve
rapidly and realized the need to keep themselves in sync with the latest to
survive in their careers. It is no longer sufficient to know the difference
between Windows or Linux-based architecture. As the industry is becoming more
service oriented, IT professionals have to learn about the various ways in which
services can be delivered to customers. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model has
already proved a good value proposition for enterprises, they just outsource
their application requirement to a third party to manage and provide them with
that service. And SaaS is just a pre-cursor to cloud computing. These days
companies already use some form of the Cloud architecture, like virtualization
or SaaS offerings. Therefore, it would just be a logical step for enterprises to
move towards the Cloud architecture.

Cloud Computing is hot!
The likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft have already initiated efforts in
Cloud Computing and are betting big on its success and eventual adoption. The
reason is evident from the benefits that an organization would accrue, like
reduced start-up costs and investments, scalability and ability to have flexible
and powerful computing platforms with no hassles of maintenance or licensing.
Cloud Computing in coming years is going to transform the IT infrastructure
space. It is a platform where service providers will deliver IT-enabled services
to consumers just like a SaaS-based platform, but with new benefits like
built-in elasticity and scalability. As of now, a SaaS-based service or
application is on a hosted setup, where each application has a defined IT
resource.

However, Cloud Computing is based on a more virtualized environment and there
is no resource constraint for an application. An application hosted on Cloud
platform should be able to harness the computing power of the resource with no
constraints, ie if the requirement of an application increases, the resource
allocated will also scale up dynamically. The elastic capability of Cloud
Computing as an offering to enterprises should be of much sense to them, as they
will have to pay for the resource that their application would be using, unlike
a SaaS delivery model where they had fixed subscription fees for the service.
Also, since more and more applications for organizational functions or processes
are becoming standardized and less customized, there are more possibilities for
larger enterprises to adopt and benefit from cloud computing.

Most
organizations are now using Cloud as a hosting and deployment platform. But
once people realize how their applications grow in usage and consumption,
they can use the power of Cloud’s elasticity and parallel computation.
People will start moving their applications on to the Cloud to do that. IT
professionals cannot ignore Cloud Computing, they should really consider how
Cloud Computing can enhance the roles they are doing.

Manish Rathi
AVP – Services, GlobalLogic

Also, there shall be providers who will have the Cloud architecture-based
infrastructure for providing services and there will consumers, which shall be
organizations that will access services provided on the Cloud. Hence, there
would be two-faceted impact on career opportunities for IT professionals,
whether they are infrastructure engineers, software developers, networking or
security experts. The positive impact would be that there are opportunities for
them in organizations that plan to provide Cloud-based services. But the
negative impact would be for professionals in organizations that move towards
consuming Cloud-based services. Such organizations would focus on using economic
resources for addressing their business needs rather than maintaining
specialized personnel for running applications as they would use applications
hosted on the cloud, thus making some IT jobs in their organizations redundant.

Opportunities for IT pros
As previously discussed, Cloud Computing involves two types of
organizations. One the supply side are organizations such as Microsoft and
Amazon, that offer IT services on the Cloud platform. The other is the demand
side comprising of companies that consume such services. For the supply side,
i.e. the service providers, there will be several opportunities created in
different areas.

Software developers: In an IT product development company there will be need
to create applications that would adhere to the Cloud architecture. As these
applications shall be available as services and accessible through browsers,
software development skills such as SOAP, AJAX, Web Services, etc. would be
required to develop the applications for the Cloud platform. The difference
would be that during project development one will have to remove any constraints
that would not work on the cloud platform. According to true essence of cloud
architecture, any application should be able to run on the platform provided it
is properly architectured. Similarly, for professionals in the testing domain,
performance testing would have to be done on applications meant for the Cloud.
As Cloud provides elasticity and scalability features, they would have to
conduct testing wherein they’ll have to check whether an application is meant
for 100 concurrent users and whether it can scale up automatically to cater to
10,000 users if there is sudden increase in traffic. Certainly, for the software
developers or testers, there will be plenty of opportunities for Cloud Computing
domain, provided they upgrade their knowledge by having proper understanding of
the Cloud framework pertaining to their domain. Those having understanding of a
content driven network, can leverage their skills on product development for
platforms like Amazon EC2 and Google AppEngine, that provide a platform as a
service for developing and hosting your application on their infrastructure. The
application would be using their environment for database, operating platform,
etc.

Infrastructure engineers: Professionals who are into IT infrastructure
creation and management like networking professionals, virtualization and
security experts can render their skills to enterprises who are setting up their
own Cloud Computing framework. Cloud is an evolution of the Services Oriented
Architecture. So, solution architects who are working with Service Oriented
Architecture (SOA) would be able to catch on with the Cloud Computing concept
very swiftly. Another area where Cloud Computing is creating an opportunity is
within Security and Data Storage.

Skills required
If you look at job postings from enterprises venturing in the Cloud Computing
domain, you will notice that there is a new profile created known as ‘Cloud
Architect.’ But looking at the skillset for the job, you’ll come to know that
there’s no rocket science involved for this profile, what is required are
professionals who understand enterprise networking, security and virtualization
aspects. Cloud platform is a new architecture, the underlying technologies for
its usage are already existing. Likewise, for software developers, .NET or Java,
the development requirements for building the application would remain the same,
the only change would be that they have to re-engineer their applications as per
Cloud’s Architecture. This requires that both developers and the infrastructure
engineers increase their understanding of the Cloud platform. And when their
organization plans to have a Cloud Computing platform for their applications,
then their understanding of the Cloud architecture will prove to be invaluable
for the organization.


With the advent of cloud computing some of the low level IT jobs may get
automated, there will be a need to manage more complex environments. For
this, Cloud Computing Architects will be in high demand. Where there might
have been a glass ceiling earlier in terms of technical growth, you will now
see those open up. I would not be surprised if a similar technical ladder
that is today prevalent in the software development side of things comes in
place in IT as well.

Deepak Visweswaraiah Sr. Director — SSG Group,
EMC India COE

Security professionals will find a major place in the Cloud Computing
environment. The reason is that with Cloud Computing what you are doing is
taking away all your IT needs and giving it to a third party to manage, so here
companies become a little sensitive about their corporate data being hosted on
third party servers as there is lot of sensitivity about data. The recent
Dynamic Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks on some social networking sites like
Twitter and Facebook resulted in disruption of services for hours. If there is a
similar kind of an attack on a Cloud service provider’s infrastructure, that
would result in disaster for those who are using their services. Therefore
security is a major concern and addressing these concerns would be a prime job
role for a security expert.


It is still early days for Cloud Computing and people are yet to understand the
concept. It’s really an evolution of whatever exists today, there isn’t a
formal curriculum out there. I think what you need to do is choose your
stream between software development, software architecture, testing,
security or infrastructure and learn the basics. The best way for this would
be to pick this all while in job, because there isn’t any formal training
available in Cloud Computing per-se.

Bhanu Chopra CEO, RateGain IT
Solutions

There are multiple areas and disciplines in cloud computing. Virtualization
is the main theme that drives this technology. A good understanding and
expertise in virtualization, ability to consolidate server and storage
infrastructure, designing complex infrastructure environments, ability to handle
much higher scales of data can be summed up as some of the skills that would be
required in this domain.

Certifications
Having requisite certifications is one of the ways to convince prospective
employers about your efforts in a particular field. The hype around Cloud
Computing has been there for the last couple of years and whenever there is a
new technology, there are various organizations that start certification
courses. This is followed by professional institutes giving out certification
courses in that field. The same hasn’t happened in the case of Cloud Computing
as it is still in a conceptual phase and organizations are using the Cloud
platform for hosting and deployment perspectives, which is the bare-minimal
usage of the real Cloud architecture. However, when adoption increases, we may
see a slew of institutes and organizations coming up with Cloud Computing
certifications. IBM has already taken initiative in this regard and started a
course on Cloud Computing.

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