With the 2018 HIMSS conference just around the weekend – this seems like a great time to revisit an article I saw roughly a year ago in HealthcareIT News. The article’s premise is that within five years – the majority of hospitals will no longer have their own on premise data center. The migration that […]
Competition for tech pros skilled in cloud technologies is fiercer than ever, according to a new report in The New York Times.
In Silicon Valley, six-figure salaries are common for those with backgrounds in cloud infrastructure; data from the Times suggests that anyone with five years of experience can earn an annual salary of $300,000 (if not more), sweetened with stock options and other perks. Workers with the right combination of skills, meanwhile, face a near-constant barrage of recruiting phone-calls and emails.
As Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and Google build out their respective cloud platforms, the demand for those skilled in building and maintaining cloud-system architecture may only increase. That makes things more difficult for smaller tech firms, which may not have the capital to offer highly skilled workers a competitive salary. (One startup co-founder, speaking to the Times, referred to stratospheric compensation as a “Facebook tax.”)
According to Dice’s most recent salary survey, the highest-paying tech skills (by average annual salary) that relate to cloud include:
- PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service): $140,894
- OpenStack (used with IaaS deployments): $138,579
- CloudStack: $138,095
- Chef: $136,850
In a highly competitive environment such as the Bay Area, however, salaries only go higher. Over the past year, other tech hubs such as Boston have undergone similar hiring binges, as companies large and small seek the cloud professionals who can help them build out next-generation services.
No longer isolated to “Those puffy objects in the sky”
Google the word “cloud.” Fifteen years ago, the search engine may have returned results that included this or this. Type in the word “cloud” today and good luck finding any information on those floating ice crystals in the sky that help sustain life on planet Earth.
This year, only six health systems in the nation earned the designation "Most Wired Advanced," indicating strong data security, advanced analytics, proven patient safety initiatives, exceptional chronic disease management and overall implementation of IT systems.
The price of cloud services has dipped in recent years, thanks in large part to increased competition among the big providers. That competition might get even fiercer if Oracle has its way.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced this week that his company will begin competing with Amazon.com on price, according to Reuters. That’s a pretty bold proposition, as Amazon Web Services (AWS) has continually snipped prices over the past few years, but Oracle has precious little choice: sales of the company’s legacy database software licenses are down, as more businesses turn to the cloud to support backend infrastructure.
AWS is widely viewed as the competitor to beat in the cloud-storage space, its services more widely used than similar offerings from Microsoft and Google. That hasn’t stopped other potential rivals, notably China’s Alibaba, from eying an increased market presence. If Oracle offers more commercial alternatives to AWS services, it could drive the price of cloud services—already dipping at a fairly rapid clip—even lower.
For those who need cloud services, that’s a good thing; pennies spent on compute capacity can just as easily go to salary and other expenses. A more diverse marketplace for cloud computing and storage can also serve a greater variety of customers. But for the cloud providers themselves, this steady erosion in margins may eventually force a few of them—especially smaller competitors—out of the business entirely.
Small and medium-sized businesses currently have a lot on their plates. Some are concerned their infrastructures are not secure enough to combat cybersecurity attacks or not modern enough to sustain success. Cloud computing could be one way for SMBs in the United States to address these potential shortcomings.
CompTIA polled 500 U.S. SMBs and discovered 42 percent cited security as one area in which they must improve. In addition to protecting critical data, SMBs are also eager to use this content to their advantage. The survey found 42 percent of participants want to improve how they accumulate and maintain information.
"Small businesses are not immune to attacks simply because their data sets are smaller," said CompTIA Technology Analysis Director Seth Robinson. "Cyberattacks stem from a variety of motivations. Attacks of the smallest firms, where defenses are often weak, occur just as often as attacks on larger companies."
For SMBs to safeguard data and use it in an advantageous fashion, companies will require some upgrades to their core systems. Nearly 40 percent of SMBs admitted to CompTIA their firms must modernize their IT environments. Before the advent of cloud computing, accomplishing this feat may been far more difficult. CompTIA explained, however, businesses can procure affordable cloud solutions to achieve functionality even large enterprises enjoy.
Cloud offers world of benefits to SMBs
Cloud computing is affordable due to its flexible pricing model. SMBs that have purchased on-site hardware may have had to allocate upfront capital investments for the systems, paying flat rates for solutions that could never be used to full capacity. The cloud, on the other hand, is scalable, so firms no longer have to worry about wasting resources during low-traffic periods or not having enough computing power to satisfy peak workloads. All of these updates occur on the server side of the cloud hosting provider.
In addition to offering subscription packages that can be monthly or longer, SMBs can procure cloud applications through other means. Some vendors include pay-as-you-go models, so clients are only charged for the resources they consume. This service model is ideal for companies that experience fluctuating traffic periods, such as retailers, which are flooded with activity during peak shopping seasons and special promotions.
Companies interested in flexible environments can also make employee productivity even more widespread with cloud computing. Staff members, regardless of location, can use Internet-connected devices to access cloud suites to view the data needed to perform their jobs.
SMBs are a driving force behind cloud market
As more SMBs realize their IT infrastructures depend heavily on solutions such as cloud computing, the market for hosted services will undoubtedly increase at a healthy pace. A TechNavio report suggested the global SMB cloud industry will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 20.2 percent between 2014 and 2019.
The research firm noted SMBs are implementing cloud environments to reduce operating costs and capital investments.
Despite all of the advantages associated with cloud computing, there are ways that SMBs can experience hiccups with their deployments. The sheer number of different vendors available, as well as the various models, makes every decision critical to achieve efficient implementations.
Technavio indicated SMBs do not always need the most robust cloud suites. However, they still require personalized suites that account for their unique brands and respective markets.
Hybrid clouds in particular may support SMBs' specialized demands. Faisal Ghaus, vice president of Technavio, noted vendors are already creating hybrid environments that deliver control over critical corporate assets.
SMBs eager to achieve successful cloud deployments should seek third-party vendors that take advantage of cloud readiness tools. Service providers with these solutions can determine how customers' critical infrastructure – networks and servers – perform in cloud environments prior to launching suites, so businesses can make the most informed decisions pertaining to products available on behalf of their clients.
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This is a very interesting video from Miha Kralj, Principal Consultant, AWS Professional Services that was presented at AWS re:Invent 2014, this past November.
What is most interesting is Miha’s take on CMDB applications. Miha stated “CMDB’s lie, if you think you have anything good or meaningful information in your CMBD, good luck. We didn’t find anything of use and don’t trust anything that is in the CMBD. Agents are not really being taken care of in CMDB’s. Most enterprises already have a dynamic virtualized infrastructure, and CMDB’s are just too slow to catch up. CMDB’s are a snap shot in time, and that snap shot in time can’t be done once a week. Enterprises say “that snapshot is two weeks old”. Do you know how much I can spin up and spin down on Amazon in two weeks. That why CMDB’s won’t work to prepare for migrations.”
We get the question from many analyst, systems integrators and customers as to why they need our tool instead of using their existing CMDB. Miha’s presentation gives a great explanation as to why tools like our CloudScape tool is very valuable during the discovery process and why using it ongoing is critical to ongoing cloud projects
Software-defined networking has advanced from being used typically for data centers for broader purposes. Forbes contributor Swift Liu recently explained SDN has helped organizations update networks and configure virtual machines to not be overwhelmed by ever-changing DC advancements. Prior to the age of SDN, completing such tasks would require a blend of available technologies, including the Internet of Things, social media, mobile devices, cloud computing and big data.
Despite making it easier for businesses to address their data center needs, SDN still has some issues that must be ironed out before the solution can achieve its full potential.
According to Liu, companies have to upgrade their hardware to accommodate SDN. Traditional traffic flow is handled by tablets that include device-forwarding functionality. The Forward Information Base table supports up to 20,000 traffic flows, while Media Access Control boasts hundreds of thousands.
Unfortunately, Liu indicated FIB and MAC do not support OpenFlow service networks, which demand larger tables for extensive traffic flows. This is significant, given that OpenFlow is a standard SDN communications protocol. Organizations that want to overcome the shortcomings of FIB and MAC can implement Ethernet Network Processor chips that facilitate traffic flows between the three standards.
Should organizations address the challenges presented by SDN, they are in position to benefit significantly from the solution. Liu wrote that industries are able to customize SDN protocols because they were created with open standards, allowing companies to have control over how quality-of-service policies, domains and rights are handled to support their unique demands.
In terms of performance, SDN is a boon to bandwidth use. Liu reported Google managed to improve its average Wide Area Network utilization from 40 percent to more than 90 percent by integrating SDN.
Looking ahead, the SDN market is poised for rapid growth. A Mind Commerce report indicated the industry will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 53 percent between 2015 and 2020, surpassing $11 billion by the end of the forecast period. The report explained SDN both consolidates and simplifies network functionality by managing networks and interfaces through unified systems, opposed to disparate solutions.
Perform thorough checklist
Businesses expecting to adopt SDN sometime soon may need to configure their IT infrastructures to take full advantage of the networking tool's full capabilities. Managed service providers with access to RISC Networks IT HealthCheck can minimize migration challenges while simultaneously optimizing performance for their clients by aligning their tech solutions with their corporate needs.
The Software-as-a-Service IT operations analytics system performs more than 10 million network checks and forms simple lists that MSPs can view to see any recommendations to any customers' IT infrastructure problems. This level of insight also applies to documentation and reports that enable vendors to show customers analysis into their architectures. Such capabilities can form the foundation of a stronger relationship between the two parties.
With SDN poised for rapid growth, service providers prepared to assist clients with their migrations today will have a jump on the competition in this expanding marketplace.
The post Software-defined networking must address challenges to reach potential appeared first on RISC Networks.