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  1. Member EruMais's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Cloud Computing... the end of Network Administration?

    I just started at WGU in the Network Admin program and have been reading up on trends in the industry so that I can plan ahead and try to become a fit for a needed area. I'm turning my focus towards virtualization at this point and am actually enjoying reading up on it.

    My goal was to become a Server Admin of some sort; going for my MCITP SA and eventually EA. Now, I'm not so sure. I transferred enough credits in that I'm right into the meat of the program, but now I am feeling extremely discouraged by what I've been reading on blogs, news sites and the like. It's taken me a few years to figure out what I truly want to do, and now I read that my role will be reduced to non-existent in a decade or so due to cloud computing. I can't afford to spend money on education if what I'm learning is about is as useful as getting certified in lamp-lighting or telegraph operation.

    OK, so I might be using a bit of hyperbole there, but on one hand I keep reading that network and systems administrator's will be in high demand in the coming years (up through 2018 and possibly beyond). Whereas on the other hand I hear that cloud computing is going to drastically reduce a company's need for in-house IT staff. Well, which is it? Some say the job isn't going away, it's just changing; while others say outsourcing and automation are going to assuredly reduce jobs in this field, especially in the small to medium business.

    Now, of course I'm a naturally pessimistic type person and so I immediately get nervous and start to question my career choice in light of this. Is Info Sec a better option? Some have said that "someone" has to run the cloud, but if it truly is automated then a reduction in jobs would seem to be foregone conclusion. There might be some there to monitor things, but I can't see how all of the current admins out there would just transfer to cloud service providers. I could be wrong.

    I realize that these job growth reports are not completely or fully accurate, but they at least see the way trends are moving to the point where they can estimate such things. I already have a lot of school loans and can't afford to go into more debt if what I'm studying for will be obsolete in 10 years.

    What are your thoughts?
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  3. EC Council #1 fan colemic's Avatar
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    #2
    There are some really good threads in here (including a great, heated discussion about the future of the cloud) that would be very relevant.

    In a nutshell, I don't think the cloud is a good solution for many, many businesses/network, so I wouldn't worry about opportunities in the future as a NA. Recent security breaches have really brought to light the inherent vulnerabilities of the cloud.

    edit: only thread I could find was this one (concerning the Amazon outage):
    Oh Noz, the "cloud" is down

    I can't find the thread I had in mind...
    Last edited by colemic; 05-13-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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  4. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #3
    Whether the servers are in the "cloud" or on site someone has to run them.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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  5. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by networker050184 View Post
    Whether the servers are in the "cloud" or on site someone has to run them.
    Correct. Until the machines become self-aware we still need to design, deploy and support them.

    I also recommend checking this thread: Is IT still a good career path or are most of us be out a job in the future

    I know the thread colemic is talking about. Is from that guy who gets dozens of job offers per week. Let's see who can find it first.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by EruMais View Post
    I realize that these job growth reports are not completely or fully accurate, but they at least see the way trends are moving to the point where they can estimate such things. I already have a lot of school loans and can't afford to go into more debt if what I'm studying for will be obsolete in 10 years.
    I'm going to refrain from addressing the cloud issues, and address this portion instead -

    Working in IT means constant education, the technology makes dramatic and sudden shifts. If you expect to learn something now and be able to coast on that education for 10+ years, your expectations are unrealistic.

    It's also a losing battle to try and get with what's popular now, you're already behind in the game. By the time you get caught up, the game will have moved to something else.

    I would suggest pursuing something you're interested in, and following through on that. That's your foundation education. From there, it's up to you to keep current and modify your path to the point where you can move with the trends, rather than trying to chase them.
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  7. Senior Member rwmidl's Avatar
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by colemic View Post
    There are some really good threads in here (including a great, heated discussion about the future of the cloud) that would be very relevant.

    In a nutshell, I don't think the cloud is a good solution for many, many businesses/network, so I wouldn't worry about opportunities in the future as a NA. Recent security breaches have really brought to light the inherent vulnerabilities of the cloud.

    edit: only thread I could find was this one (concerning the Amazon outage):
    Oh Noz, the "cloud" is down

    I can't find the thread I had in mind...
    Awesome! My thread lives!!

    Regardless of if your data is hosted locally or in "the cloud" there will always be a need "locally" for someone to get their hands dirty.
    CISSP | CISM | ACSS | ACIS | MCSA:2008 | MCITP:SA | MCSE:Security | MCSA:Security | Security + | MCTS
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  8. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsaken_GA View Post
    I'm going to refrain from addressing the cloud issues, and address this portion instead -

    Working in IT means constant education, the technology makes dramatic and sudden shifts. If you expect to learn something now and be able to coast on that education for 10+ years, your expectations are unrealistic.

    It's also a losing battle to try and get with what's popular now, you're already behind in the game. By the time you get caught up, the game will have moved to something else.

    I would suggest pursuing something you're interested in, and following through on that. That's your foundation education. From there, it's up to you to keep current and modify your path to the point where you can move with the trends, rather than trying to chase them.
    Great advice here. Its a fast moving field and constant learning is required. One of the main reasons degrees aren't as big of a deal in this field as many other professional fields.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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  9. Member EruMais's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsaken_GA View Post
    I'm going to refrain from addressing the cloud issues, and address this portion instead -

    Working in IT means constant education, the technology makes dramatic and sudden shifts. If you expect to learn something now and be able to coast on that education for 10+ years, your expectations are unrealistic.

    It's also a losing battle to try and get with what's popular now, you're already behind in the game. By the time you get caught up, the game will have moved to something else.

    I would suggest pursuing something you're interested in, and following through on that. That's your foundation education. From there, it's up to you to keep current and modify your path to the point where you can move with the trends, rather than trying to chase them.
    I appreciate the advice. I will follow through on what I'm interested in now... virtualization/administration and go from there. I understand that technology changes rapidly and I have no problem with that. I love learning new things and adapting new technologies. I already invest money every year in upgrading my home PC equipment and looking down the road to see what's coming. I don't get frustrated when new things come out that makes my current hardware/software "obsolete." I get excited. I also agree that I'm already behind when it comes to things like virtualization because in IT, you need to be able to see what's coming down the pike and get ready for it. Again, no problem there and I understand that.

    I guess my issue is not so much that my role as network admin may be completely different in 10 years, my issue is whether or not I will be forced to seek a completely different career. I'm a tech-head and very interested in how technology works and helping others to understand it. If I need to shift to pure business mode, then I might struggle because my personality and strengths do not reside in that realm.

    Another thing is, 10 years ago, the job of a server admin was pretty similar to what it is now, and it clearly still exists. My concern is whether or not I should invest in this career, or is it going to pay the bills 5, 10 years down the road? This is assuming I keep up with future trends and technology.

    Anyway, I appreciate you all taking the time to read this. I need to keep putting food on the table. I now have a little guy on the way and it has really forced me to be very aware of my viability in the job market.
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  10. Premier Field Engineer Everyone's Avatar
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    #9
    All the "Cloud" hype does is shift some jobs around. Some companies will find benefits of moving some services "to the cloud". Those companies may not need someone in-house for the systems they move "to the cloud", but someone still has to maintain them at the service provider.

    Other companies will find no benefit to moving anything to the cloud, and continue to keep everything in house.

    Servers and the applications they run are the only things that can really be moved "to the cloud". There will always be a need for Networking professionals in house at every company. You can't talk to the cloud if your network doesn't work!
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  11. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by EruMais View Post
    My concern is whether or not I should invest in this career, or is it going to pay the bills 5, 10 years down the road?
    In 10 years you may not be administering Dell servers running Windows (as an example) but if you stay current with technologies you will always have a job. Besides, in 10 years you should be working in some kind of design or engineering role rather than being an admin.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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  12. EC Council #1 fan colemic's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberguypr View Post
    Correct. Until the machines become self-aware we still need to design, deploy and support them.

    I also recommend checking this thread: Is IT still a good career path or are most of us be out a job in the future

    I know the thread colemic is talking about. Is from that guy who gets dozens of job offers per week. Let's see who can find it first.

    I give up, I can't find it.

    I thought it might have been forsaken_ga that he riled up but I just can't find it. Shame too, it was a really good read.
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  13. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by colemic View Post
    I give up, I can't find it.
    Same here. Come on guys, someone has to remember who is the guy who makes six figures and gets a dozen job offers through linked in. I think I'm losing either my mind or my search abilities.
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  14. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #13
    If anything, it will just shift the job market. Rather than working for company X, you will be working for company Y that company X pays for the cloud services.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
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    #14
    People who use TE to hype their latest endeavors are known as spammers -- and get treated as such.
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by colemic View Post
    I thought it might have been forsaken_ga that he riled up but I just can't find it. Shame too, it was a really good read.
    Yeah, if it's thread I was involved in, it wasn't the Paladin username that started it, but a few folks suspected it was him. If the thread was 86'd by the admins, then I'm sure there was a good reason for it.
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  17. EC Council #1 fan colemic's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsaken_GA View Post
    Yeah, if it's thread I was involved in, it wasn't the Paladin username that started it, but a few folks suspected it was him. If the thread was 86'd by the admins, then I'm sure there was a good reason for it.
    Right on... I believe he claimed he worked for a cloud provider or something like that. Irregardless there was some excellent arguments presented in it. (albeit it was one sided, the guy couldn't defend a lego castle) Shame it got removed.
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Devilsbane View Post
    If anything, it will just shift the job market. Rather than working for company X, you will be working for company Y that company X pays for the cloud services.
    It really depends on what you're talking about when you talk about cloud services.

    Saas and Paas are pretty much a foregone conclusion as far as market shift goes. That's a trend that's been going on for years, and there's no reason to abate it. It will have an impact on smaller businesses. Google Apps is a good example - why pay for commercial programs and servers, when someone else has a perfectly viable solution, and already has the infrastructure in place to administer it?

    The shift there is going to come from folks doing administration for the service, rather than the infrastructure. In a small company, that's almost always going to be a hat worn by someone who does something else. For example, our sales people make extensive use of Salesforce.com. But they are end users, they do not administer the service for our organization. That falls to our IT guys. So despite the fact that we don't have a server that runs it, we don't have developers that write it, we still have IT staff to administer it.

    I think this model is perfectly fine. We're not in the CRM business, we have no desire to be in the CRM business, so we don't mind someone making some money who *is* in the CRM business if they provide a solution that meets our needs.

    Privacy concerns do exist for Saas/Paas, of course. Those companies can get hacked just as easily as anyone else, so whoever is in charge of Risk Management for your company has to make the decision as to what kind of information is appropriate for those systems, and whether it's worth using. It's also up to Risk Management to determine whether having those services experience an outage will impact your ability to deliver service to your own clients.

    Where the cloud falls flat for me is Iaas. This is where the risk is involved. Anytime you use Saas/Paas, you understand that your data runs the risk of no longer being internal. Only a fool would use Google Docs as a repository for proprietary company information that can hurt your bottom line if it got out. Once you start migrating infrastructure out into the cloud, you're taking on vast amounts of risk. At that point, the security of ALL your data comes into question. You also take the risk of your core business not being able to perform.

    The Amazon EC2 outage is a perfect example of this. My company's core business is to provide Managed Security Solutions. There is no way in hell we could put our infrastructure into the cloud. An outage on the provider's end would directly impact our ability to provide our core business, and an outage the length of the Amazon EC2 outage would probably put us out of business. This is why we have multiple sites and full failover as part of our BCP and DR plans. Besides the infrastructure issue, security is a huge thing. Due to the nature of the information we handle, having our cloud instances shifted around to, say, China, would violate some data export laws.

    So no, the cloud is not going to steal everyones job. Time and innovation is going to steal your job if you let it. Technology advances. New solutions come into the light, old solutions become obsolete. This is the history of IT. Go find some Novell Netware admins, or COBOL programmers, they can tell you all about it. Hell, go find an Exchange 5.5 admin and see if he could operate on a current version of Exchange without updating his skills. I used to be seriously badass when it comes to troubleshooting and fixing PPP dialup connections (dialup ISP support ftw!). It's been pretty close to 10 years since I've used those skills in any capacity.

    If you want a career in IT, you adapt and keep up, or you change careers. This has always been true, and always will be true.
    Last edited by Forsaken_GA; 05-14-2011 at 12:13 AM.
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  19. Member EruMais's Avatar
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsaken_GA View Post
    Where the cloud falls flat for me is Iaas. This is where the risk is involved. Anytime you use Saas/Paas, you understand that your data runs the risk of no longer being internal. Only a fool would use Google Docs as a repository for proprietary company information that can hurt your bottom line if it got out. Once you start migrating infrastructure out into the cloud, you're taking on vast amounts of risk. At that point, the security of ALL your data comes into question. You also take the risk of your core business not being able to perform.
    Good points. Check out this article I just read regarding the PSN hack:

    Amazon cloud used in PlayStation Network hack | ZDNet UK

    It seems Iaas is, in fact, extremely risky and presents a whole host of issues.
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  20. Senior Member afcyung's Avatar
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    #19
    Pretty interesting article.
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  21. EC Council #1 fan colemic's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsaken_GA View Post
    It really depends on what you're talking about when you talk about cloud services.

    Saas and Paas are pretty much a foregone conclusion as far as market shift goes. That's a trend that's been going on for years, and there's no reason to abate it. It will have an impact on smaller businesses. Google Apps is a good example - why pay for commercial programs and servers, when someone else has a perfectly viable solution, and already has the infrastructure in place to administer it?

    The shift there is going to come from folks doing administration for the service, rather than the infrastructure. In a small company, that's almost always going to be a hat worn by someone who does something else. For example, our sales people make extensive use of Salesforce.com. But they are end users, they do not administer the service for our organization. That falls to our IT guys. So despite the fact that we don't have a server that runs it, we don't have developers that write it, we still have IT staff to administer it.

    I think this model is perfectly fine. We're not in the CRM business, we have no desire to be in the CRM business, so we don't mind someone making some money who *is* in the CRM business if they provide a solution that meets our needs.

    Privacy concerns do exist for Saas/Paas, of course. Those companies can get hacked just as easily as anyone else, so whoever is in charge of Risk Management for your company has to make the decision as to what kind of information is appropriate for those systems, and whether it's worth using. It's also up to Risk Management to determine whether having those services experience an outage will impact your ability to deliver service to your own clients.

    Where the cloud falls flat for me is Iaas. This is where the risk is involved. Anytime you use Saas/Paas, you understand that your data runs the risk of no longer being internal. Only a fool would use Google Docs as a repository for proprietary company information that can hurt your bottom line if it got out. Once you start migrating infrastructure out into the cloud, you're taking on vast amounts of risk. At that point, the security of ALL your data comes into question. You also take the risk of your core business not being able to perform.

    The Amazon EC2 outage is a perfect example of this. My company's core business is to provide Managed Security Solutions. There is no way in hell we could put our infrastructure into the cloud. An outage on the provider's end would directly impact our ability to provide our core business, and an outage the length of the Amazon EC2 outage would probably put us out of business. This is why we have multiple sites and full failover as part of our BCP and DR plans. Besides the infrastructure issue, security is a huge thing. Due to the nature of the information we handle, having our cloud instances shifted around to, say, China, would violate some data export laws.

    So no, the cloud is not going to steal everyones job. Time and innovation is going to steal your job if you let it. Technology advances. New solutions come into the light, old solutions become obsolete. This is the history of IT. Go find some Novell Netware admins, or COBOL programmers, they can tell you all about it. Hell, go find an Exchange 5.5 admin and see if he could operate on a current version of Exchange without updating his skills. I used to be seriously badass when it comes to troubleshooting and fixing PPP dialup connections (dialup ISP support ftw!). It's been pretty close to 10 years since I've used those skills in any capacity.

    If you want a career in IT, you adapt and keep up, or you change careers. This has always been true, and always will be true.
    That's the essence of the thread I was talking about...
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    #21
    Finish up your degree in I.T. at WGU. No matter what specialty you chose, that does not necessarily reflect your career path in I.T. Just finish the degree. There are naysayers in I.T. and in every other walk of life. These people talk too much and waste our time with their often ill-formed opinions

    I'm sorry I know this thread is more about the future of cloud computing than it is you, but that's just my 2 cents.
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  23. The whole Shebang! hiddenknight821's Avatar
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    #22
    If you want something more stable than system administrator, then I would suggest you to go into programming, but the reality is there are no professional job out there is stable enough since you still have to learn new languages on the way. Who knows if some of the standard libraries will become obsolete, and you would have to become more creative to circumvent the portability issues. Hey, you can always be a garbageman for the next 20 years and not learn anything new.
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    #23
    This is so funny.

    Back in the day, we had mainframes, centralized computing.

    Then, PC explosion, and distributed computing.

    Now, people bring up all this cloud stuff.

    Whatever. Networked services are limited by the speed of light. (That is, electrons cannot travel faster than the speed of light, which means the farther you are from the servers, the slower your response time.)

    You can try to use terminal services, speedscreen, etc., but that's only going to get you so far.

    End users have to be closer to their servers, to get better response times.

    This is why the big brokerages/clearing houses/stock exchanges are located so close together. The brokerages want the shortest possible connection, with the best possible bandwidth, and lowest possible latency, to make their trades.

    If you "cloud" out everything, you lose that low latency transmission.

    You can try to "optimize" apps all you want from the web, but some services are just going to run better locally.

    I'll give Citrix some credit for making great strides in with their HDX display technologies, but the technology is not quite there yet.

    Also, like I said, you're limited by the speed of light. But, that's just my opinion, it's not canon.

    EDIT: And the security aspect is a non-starter for some companies. Even if their data is accessible across the internet already, they don't want their data physically housed in a location they can't 100% control. It's a risk appetite sort of thing.

    Also, just outsourcing the servers is not going to outsource the need for IT professionals. (someone previously said this) Users will still need to interact with IT staff to get things done, even if all the servers are off site.
    Last edited by instant000; 05-16-2011 at 05:15 AM.
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