If you are in Information Technology (IT) at all, then Cloud Computing
is going to be one skill you need to start working on yesterday. As
more companies start seeing the economics behind cloud computing, and
as computing moves towards a more utility format, this is one skill
that if you do nothing else in 2010, is the one you need to learn.
There are basically three cloud computing companies at this point,
Amazon, Microsoft and Rack Space. Most of my experience is in Amazon
AWS, EC2 and other systems. Microsoft I am still waiting on my “token”
so I can spin up a system or two over there. Rack Space I looked at,
but the pricing model at the time (2009) was more expensive than
Amazon. It would be worth your while to know at least two of these
systems, and odds are likely that Amazon and Azure skills will
translate rapidly over to Rack Space which does have a dent in the
market and is doing well. Amazon and Azure though are two distinctly
different environments from each other so both are worth knowing while
Rack Space looks more like a standard VM than anything else.
Rack Space is free to correct me if they want to, this is more of
an observational and personal opinion when I was out pricing plans and
services, and learning about the setup.
The reason for learning Cloud Computing is that as a technologist you want to keep your skills updated all the time. Small business and medium sized business
is seeing the economics of the Cloud Computing environment and it is
compelling to start or expand a business on the cloud. Larger business
will follow suit, but will follow suit only when their current
computing infrastructure starts to age or gets too costly to replace in
light of what can be done in the cloud. CIO’s and others are seeing the
value proposition to cloud computing not just in terms of the cost of
equipment, but in the cost of overhead as well. Smaller companies can
significantly lower their costs and risks when it comes to trying out
new technology and processes for the company. Smaller firms can use the
cost savings of cloud computing and dump that into people, programming,
and marketing. Utility computing in five years will be a solid business
process, and deeply integrated into how people run companies every day.
There is no sense in not knowing or understanding how cloud computing
is going to influence IT and IT Workers over the next five years.
For less than 30 dollars a month (less than your Smartphone/Iphone
service plan) you can spin up an Amazon server and go play with it.
Learn the setup, options, security, and management systems that exist
within the AWS or even Azure system. Amazon hands down beats Azure in
ease of getting set up. It has been over a week now and I am still
waiting for my Azure Token before I can even set up an account with
them. Amazon is simply fork over a credit card and go, plug and play
simple. If Azure is going to compete they need to be plug and play
simple – fork over a credit card and go. No one is going to wait three
weeks for an account to be “approved”. That is probably the biggest
downside to Azure, the amount of time it takes to get into the system
and get started. Rack Space and Amazon are very quick in setting up an
account and getting you started. The problem is that Azure is going to
be a “hot skill” in two years, there are already 27 jobs on dice
that have Azure in their title or job description, I will put good
money that by the end of 2010 that number will be in the hundreds.
Cloud computing is a skill you need, it is not currently part of
very many college plans, nor is it something that has a technical
certificate behind it. The best thing you can do is learn this on your
own and have some fun with it, this is a skill that will benefit your
(Cross-posted @IT Toolbox)