Cloud CIO: How cloud computing changes IT staffs

By Bernard Golden, CIO |  On-demand Software, CIO role

The prerequisite for automation is standardization, and the bane is customization. IT organizations will be forced to implement standardized infrastructures, application architectures, and system automation. Developing, implementing, and enforcing standardized architectures requires skilled technical architects, and every IT organization will need this role desperately. Applications will become functionality added onto a collection of standardized components assembled in common configurations. Of course, many organizations have enterprise architects today, but their influence is often muted by "the needs of the business," which causes non-standard applications to be implemented. For company IT organizations to operate at cloud scale, those kind of one-offs need to stop. On the other hand, the availability of public cloud providers tempts business units to pursue "shadow IT" initiatives, so it's hard to predict how this will play out in specific companies. One thing is for sure though: scale demands automation, which demands standardization. Which leads to the next changed role in a cloud IT organization.

Hands-off operations personnel come to the fore

There's a lot of talk about devops, a terms that means that operations personnel and operations requirements are involved earlier in the application development cycle to ensure that the resulting application is scalable and supportable. That's fine, but it implies that operations has designed infrastructure systems that can be operated in an automated fashion and that operations insists in operating in a hands-off manner. Devops is a shorthand term that subsumes many assumptions, including the ability of operations personnel to be involved early in order to avoid manual interaction later.

Any process that requires a human touch carries a bottleneck that will hamper operating at scale. As a side note, many of the private cloud plans I've seen envision whiz-bang infrastructure being operated in the same old way -- so a resource request portal is offered for application developers, but all that happens is that the portal spits out an email for an operations person to provision some resources in the same old manual way. Any plan that envisions implementing a cloud infrastructure to dissuade application groups from using public providers without including an operations process re-engineering effort as well is doomed.

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Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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