Cloudy Weather – Is My World Changing?

I’m a systems administrator. When asked what that means, I’ll say different things to different people. Sometimes I say “I keep the computers working,” other times I reply “I spend a lot of my time down in the data center.” I had the pleasure of designing my company’s new data center when we moved to San Ramon in 2006. And while a data center is a noisy, cold, windowless room, at least it was my noisy, cold, windowless room – and it was a damn sight better than the old noisy, cold, windowless room.

But will cloud computing change my world? If companies gradually abandon their local data centers and move everything to the cloud, there isn’t going to be any noisy, cold, windowless room. What then happens to their sysadmins, who were that glue between users, applications and hardware? Well, it comes down to whether you think the Cloud is the Borg, or just a bunch of marketing hype.

In one corner are bloggers like Mark Mayo, who predict Cloud Domination and suggest how sysadmins can prepare. Arguing for the defense, m0j0 believes the Cloud is hype overload.

I’m currently attending the Usenix Technical Conference in San Diego, and have been asking many of my colleagues what they think. Most are in the “hype” camp: interesting technology, but they are not going to take over the world. Stay tuned.