Companies that are heavily into cloud often need IT managers who spend more time managing vendors than managing employees, hiring people or meeting with top execs.
Managing contracts with outside vendors is a valuable and not-that-common skill, even among IT people, according to recruiters.
It's not one that's as well accepted as a leadership position as a gig in which there are servers to be launched, hardware to be installed, moved or shoved out the door and code to be written.
Even in heavily cloud-ified shops, it's not likely to be a pure requirement, either, at least not for very many people within IT.
Few, if any companies have actually pitchforked out all their hardware in favor of cloud-based apps. None I know of have gone entirely to externally provided applications to run the business.
There are legacy data centers, enterprise apps, networks, storage – all the traditional IT stuff to be managed and handled and integrated and shoved around the data center until you find a cool spot.
Handing some of the load-balancing and capacity planning off to an outside vendor isn't that big a deal from the point of view of the CFO and CEO. It's just one more way to get the computing done.
To IT people who have always counted their worth according to the systems they run or efficiency of their networks or reliability of their networks, having the physical component of some of those assets disappear can be unnerving.
A lot of things have disappeared in IT the past few years; most of them are what were called "jobs."
It's not surprising some people are hesitant to let go of their servers and climb down out of the cabling trees.
Everyone wants to preserve the things that make them comfortable, the things they know they can work with, especially when the alternative is something as half-proven as cloud computing.
Server huggers are going to have to get over it, though.
Even if the workloads aren't going out the door to a cloud platform, they're disappearing into invisible virtual machines and virtual server farms.
Being able to put a hand on all the systems you support will soon be as nostalgic – and as good an indicator that you're a dinosaur – as all those movies where the heroes suddenly start shouting that someone's trying to hack into the mainframe. As if the shiny, new facilities in those movies would even have a mainframe. As if they'd even have anything on the mainframe that was worth hacking into, even if they had one.
No matter how hard the cloud is to embrace, server huggers have to let the hardware go.