(Update) Readers can explore the latest trends in technical skills in demand for Cloud Architects using Cloud Roster™, the data-driven job role matrix updated weekly.
2014 will be the year of cloud computing. During last year, we heard about cloud in different situations, often referring to a change in how companies and people access and store data. From what I see this change is almost complete.
If I look at the number of services that I use on a daily basis, more than 80% of them are storing and computing data in a cloud computing infrastructure. I cannot even say what is the last time that I used a licensed-software on my PC/Mac. Everything runs on a browser: invoices, payrolls, bank, docs, files. We have already switched to a Cloud model for all of our data and daily operations.
Amazon Web Services + Google Cloud + Microsoft Azure
Not all the companies that are considering cloud computing will end up in a public cloud solution. Most of them are still building their own infrastructure, with OpenStack, Eucalyptus or other private solutions. In both cases the real change is already happening for developers, system administrators, and IT managers: all of them are somehow changing their daily routine and need to quickly acquire new competencies. Even if your company is building a private cloud infrastructure, chances are that your public component will be on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform.
The public cloud market will be a market for a few big companies and now that we know that Google is warming up its strategy, they will be probably only three or four companies: Amazon is still a leader with 90%+ of the public cloud market, Microsoft Azure is growing and it will be one of the biggest business for Microsoft for the next years. Google has still a very tiny percentage of the public market and a product that needs a lot of work to compete with Azure and AWS, but Google is also the company with more expertise in cloud services and with a real worldwide infrastructure.
You won’t see any kind of standard across these vendors: all of them are applying a concrete lock-in strategy on their users and having skills on all of these platforms is becoming a huge advantage. Here at Cloud Academy, we are already organizing our content around more and more cloud computing platforms, and what we see is that many AWS experts are studying and updating their skills on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
How important is the cloud computing ecosystem?
There is still something missing. In a world where companies are using public and private cloud infrastructure, all the software ecosystem is changing as well, and vendors and software providers are now deploying software on top of the IaaS infrastructures. From TrendMicro to Adobe and Bitnami, there are thousands of companies in the world that are building their software for AWS or Azure, and will soon start with Google. I’m talking about data transfer, security and access management software that are selling their licenses with a cloud model and with dedicated products for the cloud. The complete list of Technology Partners for AWS is already a huge one.
All the IT professionals that are working in a cloud computing infrastructure will need also these skills, based on thousands of different software and not only the basic knowledge of Azure or AWS. This is an even more important switch: platforms like Amazon are becoming ecosystems where other companies build and deploy technologies on top of them. Think about TrendMicro that has a complete series of security products for the cloud. Imperva is doing the same and the list of AWS partners is growing day by day.
All of these technologies are using services and infrastructure provided by Amazon, but they add specific capabilities or services on top of it. That’s why a cloud architect will need not only an AWS knowledge but also a broader knowledge about the ecosystem, including famous software that used to be installed on a private data center. That’s why a Cloud Architect will need competences across a good number of technologies that will share the same infrastructure.
My suggestion is to look at different cloud computing platforms if you are moving the first steps in cloud computing education. At Cloud Academy, we are focusing on creating content about the most important cloud computing platforms and we are working with a bunch of partners in the cloud ecosystem to offer their content as well.