The Data Center Architect Must Now Think Cloud As Well9 min read

by | Apr 15, 2015 | Blog

The cloud and data center market continue to expand in every direction as IT consumerization and more cloud services attract more users. There are more organizations moving towards a cloud model, more providers offering cloud solutions, and there is infrastructure at the data center to support it all. The digitization of the world has created a new layer of communications capabilities. This new layer has allowed us to dynamically transmit vast amounts of information across many types of devices. Operating at the cloud layer has allowed us to evolve not only how we do business – but how we communicate with one another in general.

Before the cloud boom – we had virtualization, storage, networking (WAN/LAN) and data center engineers. These folks were the pillars and pioneers of what we know as the modern cloud infrastructure. These are the people that helped build the foundation of the cloud in conjunction with application and software teams. Today, we still have these positions. However, new job titles have been created as well.

The growing demand for cloud services has similarly created a quickly growing need for cloud architects and engineers. A new IDC report sponsored by Microsoft and published by Forbes indicates that the demand for a cloud-ready IT force will grow by 26% through 2015. Furthermore over the next 2-3 years, more than 7 million new cloud-related industry positions will become available globally. Here’s the reality – although this industry is expected to grow rapidly, there is a demand for cloud engineers now.

The IDC report shows that IT hiring managers said that there were about 1.7 million cloud-related positions that were available – bit never filled. What was the problem? Candidates were lacking cloud-related training and key certifications. Of the many other IT-related fields, cloud computing jobs are growing the fastest. With that in mind – what does the modern data center engineer need to know when it comes to cloud?

  • Learn the language of business. Today’s modern organization heavily relies on IT and the services that technology provides. With so many companies moving to the cloud, the modern cloud engineer must understand that language of business. Many times, data center efficiency optimization mechanisms not only impact cloud performance – but overall business efficiency as well. You must be able to communicate how the performance of the underlying data center directly impacts a business’s capability to be more competitive in the market.
  • Understand the logical and physical. Cloud engineers need to understand a number of different technologies and platforms. Yes, there will still be experts within various areas – but the true architect has to understand many base technological theories. This includes storage, networking, compute, user management, open-source solutions, security, virtualization, optimization options, application/services delivery, and much more.
  • Know about operations – DR, HA, Business Continuity. Because the cloud has become such an integral part of the organizations, cloud engineers must know how to create true infrastructure resiliency. This means creating an architecture where data can be replicated and good DR strategies are in place for critical workloads.
  • Begin to think way, way outside the box. The cloud has created new industries and even sub-industries. We have new service models which strive to create the data center of everything. There are expanding areas around fog computing and big data. All of this is the result of an ever-expanding cloud environment. When working with cloud computing – it’s important to be creative in solving problems. It’s not always about throwing resources at the challenge. Virtualization, high-density computing, and various other technologies can dynamically optimize your cloud and data center environment.

The cloud market will continue to grow and create new types of positions. Already we have engineers focusing on big data analytics, edge networking, and even creating the “Internet of Everything.” The consumer has driven a lot of demand around data and services being available on any device, anytime and anywhere. As more devices connect into the cloud – there will be more types of unified services created to facilitate more demand. This is where the future cloud architect and engineer can translate direct user or business needs into direct technological solutions.

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