Trend toward Cloud Computing Spells Trouble for Data Centers
There’s a major cultural shift happening in IT services. Will you find it beneficial? Well, that depends on whether you’re a software customer or a data center employee.
The trend toward cloud computing and software as a service has been a boon for small businesses and individual customers. These clients are able to buy only the hardware and software they absolutely need, and take advantage of competitive pricing.
But the money saved is coming at a cost, so to speak, and usually that’s people’s jobs. Consolidation is becoming more common, and for service providers to remain contenders, they’re cutting back on operations and infrastructure and automating management. They can do that while still providing services to their customers by funneling resources into cloud computing.
Many companies are choosing to shrink operations in their data centers. HP started its job cuts for nine thousand employees three years ago, and during that time it’s instead been investing in "fully automated, standardized, state-of-the-art commercial data centers."
Microsoft had the same idea around that time, accompanying hundreds of layoffs around the world with the statement, “Microsoft believes its future business is firmly centered on the cloud and we are rebalancing the organization globally in order to create a number of new cloud-specific roles across the business.”
Similarly, CA Technologies recently reported it would let go 1,200 employees but “backfill those positions with people who are focused on stronger growth markets such as cloud computing." Just last month, IBM laid off what’s being reported as between six thousand and eight thousand people. A spokesman explained: "IBM is investing in growth areas for the future: big data, cloud computing, social business, and the growing mobile computing opportunity.”
Jason Perlow, who used to work for IBM, reflected on the company’s transition:
While there are a number of long-term contracts still in play, large deals of the kind I participated in are not being signed, as potential customers have throttled back on IT spending. Rather than consolidating datacenters, they are starting to move more and more resources to the cloud. … And unless you have skill sets that are easily translatable to income in cloud and big data, you're probably going to end up as dead wood.
True, today’s systems administrators may not be hired for tomorrow’s jobs in the new computing model. But the good news is that with the rise of cloud services, lucrative positions are being created all the time in cloud-monitoring solutions and for those with cloud architecture knowledge. In the changing world of IT services, employees will have to adapt similarly.