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Cloud Architects?

I think at the moment, too often people reach into the server virtualisation toolkit when they start looking at Cloud and I think this leads to missed opportunity, potentially increased costs and almost certainly a degree of increased complexity.

Firstly, I must state that I believe quite strongly that anybody who deploys large quantity of servers and does not start  from the default position of that all operating systems should be deployed on top of a hypervisor is quite possibly starting from the wrong place.

Hypervisors, be it on mainframe, RISC-based Unix and x86 are a good thing; for starters, it puts in place a degree of hardware abstraction which means the long-term support of workloads is greatly simplified.

But the hypervisor is a commodity.

However in my mind; hypervisor does not have to equate to mass server consolidation; every time I see someone boasting about the number of virtual servers that they have, I find myself judging. As far as I am concerned having too many virtual servers is as bad as having too many physical servers.

I would like to see more people think about service virtualisation and defining services which can be seamlessly moved around and quickly deployed. Ironically, this sort of virtualisation does in many ways predate the current focus on server virtualisation; we were building shared database tiers before the days of commodity server virtualisation.

Clustering technologies such as Veritas and HA/CMP allowed services to be defined as a collection of resources; storage, network, data etc and moved between servers in the cluster. Yes this was complex and most commonly used to fail-over services but you could if you were clever use this to move services even in a non-failover scenario. It would certainly have been feasible to do it based on load; I personally have never seen it but I have heard third-hand that some people have used it in such a scenario.

Web-services have been virtualised for many, many years and do not rely on server virtualisation to provide this virtualisation.

I want to see Cloud Architect move from what is often a glorified VMware Architect into a role which has both a broader and deeper understanding of what it means to architect services which can be located in the Cloud.

Cloud Architects who only have experience of a single technology and a single solution focus are possibly not what most companies require and certainly not what the industry requires.

Cloud Solution Providers also need to offer a breadth of service which yes certainly has hypervisors and server virtualisation as a key offering but they need to know more than just this. They need a menu of services but also be able to articulate and offer these in a consultative manner. Certainly if they want to compete with the Amazons of the world who can offer a no-frills sandbox at unbeatable prices.

One Comment

  1. Andrew Miller says:

    Don’t know that I disagree…..but there’s a ton of technology out there that can fit into ‘cloud constructs’ and some of those specializations are already very highly paid.

    Given that, what skills (detailed or specific) would you expect a cloud architect to have? And at what kind of pay level? (has to be way north of 6 figures IMHO)

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