How The Cloud Is Transforming IT Roles

The cloud is a beach; the data center is a restaurant.

At the beach, you can sit anywhere and bring a picnic with the food and beverages of your choosing. Sure, there are some limitations (most beaches don’t let you bring glass), but you are certainly allowed to bring any snacks and drinks. Maybe there’s a concession stand selling hot dogs and a lifeguard to watch for danger but no restroom.

At a restaurant, you can sit at a table and order from a menu, but if you want to order pad thai at an Italian restaurant, you might be out of luck. However, you can guarantee the restaurant will have a restroom. Of course, there’s a hard limit to the number of people who can sit at once. The limit at the beach is far more flexible.

When we housed servers in the data center, we had to stick with what we had (no pad thai!). If we needed a database, we used what was already in the data center. With the cloud, on the other hand, we can experiment and choose what works best without a lengthy, expensive procurement process.

In the data center, roles were extremely rigid: security kept bad actors out, developers wrote code, operations moved that code to production and database administrators (DBAs) took care of the database. However, as technology continues to evolve and IT teams rapidly move to the cloud, we must reevaluate the type of work IT teams will undertake.

The biggest change is scale. Now more than ever, the cloud is transforming various positions in IT, including security, operations teams and database administrator roles.

Security

In the data center, security focused on limiting access to the network. They used physical separation of servers with two network interface cards (NICs). Since we can’t manage this with physical solutions, code in the cloud is required.

Prior to the cloud, security professionals were focused on policies and manual reviews. Now, they must focus on how to enforce those policies automatically and remove manual reviews. Luckily, all cloud providers offer tooling and APIs to enforce security. But these tools and APIs require development skills to take advantage of. Instead of using writing to communicate with a human, we need to use code to communicate with computers.

Also, the security role is changing from “No, here’s why” to “Yes, here’s how.” Security professionals must embrace their new role in making development possible. When development (now a product team in the cloud) wants to deploy directly to production, security must find a way to help them do that and maintain security.

Development And Operations

Prior to the cloud, we had “Survivor”-like competition between development and operations teams. Development was tasked with change code while operations kept things stable. Because change is the enemy of stability, management is paying two competing teams to fight and argue. The hope was that the best ideas would win. Instead, companies were paralyzed by in-fighting, politics and other non-revenue-generating silliness.

Development can’t just throw releases over the fence to operations and demand the team to “take care of it.” Operations can’t just meet SLA ticket minimums and call it a day. Both must make promises and keep them. Members of the development team need to make releases easier for deployment or, better yet, do it themselves (“You build it, you run it.”). The operations team needs to offer a way for development to release faster. This requires both sides to know how to code and to know risks associated with deployments. Both teams will need to stretch and enhance their skill sets.

Database Administrators

A company’s data is the most valuable asset it owns. As such, the DBA was an insular role that focused on protecting data. Now, with the cloud, DBAs must focus on how to deliver that data to the teams that can do the most with it. There must be a better balance between data protection and data availability for the development and testing teams.

DBAs must think about their job differently. Instead of simply focusing on control and safety (which is important!), DBAs should also incorporate automation to meet the demands of software development speed, customers and different platforms they must support. Automation is key to this needed evolution. DBAs must start thinking in terms of “as a service” instead of bespoke, one-off, discrete tasks. If your only entry point to the DBA is a ticket system, then you and your company are not evolving.

Conclusion

No matter your role, it’s important to realize that automation will be key to success in the cloud. Manual efforts cannot scale, but keep in mind that automation replaces tasks, not people. Often, people are threatened by automation and, especially with a shift to the cloud, things might look dark and scary. But if you think moving to the cloud might threaten your job, try not moving to the cloud.

This Article Source is from : https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/11/26/how-the-cloud-is-transforming-it-roles/#85562b461542