Cloud computing’s impact on business continues to grow as more enterprises decide that building and maintaining their own datacenters “isn’t a core competency,” according to Rich Miller, founder and editor of Data Center Frontier, one of the industry’s leading web sites.
What began as a cost-effective solution for tech firms and startups has expanded to include more enterprises shifting their business models to replace onsite data centers with cloud services.
That momentum has triggered fierce competition among firms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google, all of which have “developed some really effective cloud services,” Miller said.
There are, of course, job implications in all this. Although automation allows even large datacenters to be operated by relatively small teams, Miller believes that the skills involved in deploying cloud workloads will only become more valuable, particularly when it comes to migrating from traditional datacenters to a cloud environment.
Expertise in Amazon Web Services is especially valuable today because Amazon leads the cloud computing market, Miller observed. In addition, “[AWS] is constantly introducing new tools and ways to deploy IT workloads for their enterprise customers.”
But don’t overlook the potential of Amazon’s competitors. Because many large businesses are wary of relying on a single cloud provider, Miller sees notable interest in multi-cloud environments. That, in turn, has created “a lot of opportunity across the board” for expertise in not only AWS, but also Microsoft (for companies that are oriented toward a Windows environment) and Google (which Miller describes as “sort of in third place but moving up quickly.”). All of these companies are investing very heavily in cloud, and intend to seize as much of the market as possible.
For tech pros who want to break into a datacenter career, Miller suggests becoming familiar with Docker, a technology that uses “containers” to put everything required to run a software product in one virtualized place. One of Docker’s virtues is its ability to easily move applications between a datacenter and a cloud platform, or from one cloud platform to another.
“Right now, that’s in the early stages of adoption, but we think that’s one that’s going to have legs going forward. For people who are looking for an opportunity to get in early, I think skills with containers and Docker are pretty important,” Miller said.