2012 -2013 | Looking Back on the Cloud Job Market

Data Center Knowledge (DCK), a leading online source of daily news and analysis about the data center industry, recently reported on the growth of the Cloud job market over the last year. In the world of IT, a year represents a length of time in which several technological breakthroughs can emerge and die.

This year saw technologies focused on connecting various cloud points, optimising the platform and delivery methods. The zettabyte cloud era has been crossed and, according to Cisco, two-thirds of all traffic moving forward will be delivered via the cloud. Key considerations for the modern cloud engineer will include:

  • Local Area Network architecture
  • WAN sizing
  • Storage
  • Virtualization
  • Cloud-based applications and workloads
  • End-user needs and demands. 
  • Security and authorisation.

As cloud computing continues to grow to become a larger and more important part of our daily lives, there is a particular emphasis on cloud architecture. IT professionals skilled in cloud development/support will likely see their desirability (and salaries) continue to climb. There are more services being delivered via the cloud, there are more users using the cloud, and organizations are leveraging more cloud delivery platforms for their users. Along with this, the digitisation of the modern data center has created the need for even more robust services and control methods. As a result, the cloud job market and the demands being placed around today’s cloud architect or engineer must evolve as well. Here’s what’s hot since last year:

•    Software-Defined Technologies (SDN)

Although software-defined networking (SDN) is a huge part of the cloud computing conversation – it’s the underlying concept of software-defined technologies that needs to be understood. Software-defined platforms aim to take cloud computing, and the process through which it communicates at the data center, user and cloud layer, to the next level. In other words, SDN and related technologies aim to provide a form of abstraction for the network, compute, storage and even security components of a modern cloud infrastructure. This trend is prevalent and continues to grow as some of the biggest cloud infrastructure vendors are adopting or investing in the technology. One look at VMware gives the industry an idea of the investment behind this technology; the company purchased Nicira, a leading player in SDN for $1.26 billion. This move by VMware will give a much needed boost its place within data center networking and its reputation as a leader of cutting edge technology. The network virtualisation platform is also becoming fashionable within the cloud SDN model, attracting enterprise users like AT&T, eBay, Rackspace and other big Blue Chip names. Future cloud engineers and architects looking to become part of the industry will need to understand how SDN and software-defined technologies interact with the cloud model – Recognising the optimisations, benefits, and architectural aspects of SDN so that they can assist their employer to stay ahead of the competition.

•    Cloud APIs.

There are more cloud platforms emerging and new types of services being tied around these models. As more organizations and users flock to the cloud, the modern cloud API structure becomes even more crucial. Beyond that, the actual platform (aka the stack), which ties cloud models together, becomes an integral piece as well. For the leading cloud engineer or architect, understanding how stack platforms and cloud APIs tie into the overall cloud architecture is vital. Organisations like CloudStack are spearheading this technology by supporting massive service providers in their delivery of powerful cloud platforms. Likewise, stack models built around the Eucalyptus cloud allows business to create transparent automated cloud solutions. Both scenarios represent systems that create an environment of interconnected cloud components. Regardless of whether a running instance is located onsite or off-premise at an outside data center, there is a (and will likely always be) a high demand for visibility and fluid data transfer between multiple cloud locations. Skilled cloud engineers and architects will need to understand how APIs function and how they can help connect the cloud into a logical, easy to control, cluster.

•    New Cloud Delivery Models (Fog)

Already Cloud is giving birth to its own terminology. Fog lies at the edge of Cloud computing, the idea revolves around delivering heavy content to the user very quickly by storing information at the edge. This technology will be especially applicable to technologies like streaming, content delivery and big data analytics. By creating distributed cloud nodes, administrators are able to control the delivery process of new types of services. Aside from fog, cloud computing continues to evolve in how the user consumes data and how this data will be delivered. Because of IT consumerization and the increase of data in the cloud, there is a direct need to optimise the delivery of information. More importantly, the trends around the user and cloud utilization aren't diminishing. The cloud engineer or architect of tomorrow will have to understand content delivery and how to best optimize the user experience. In some cases, this may extend to designing a complex edge delivery network where the old delivery models are suboptimal.

•    Generalist to Specialist.

Once a technology has firmly established itself within the industry, it opens up the door for engineers and architects to focus on it. While a broader understanding of how both the cloud and its underlying infrastructure operate is important, there is an ever increasing demand for cloud architects  and engineers to be knowledgeable about specific cloud model deployment and user experience deliveries. One of the first things to understand is that there will always be the need to have a solid overall understanding of how both cloud and the underlying infrastructure operate. There will also be the requirement that cloud architects and engineers are knowledgeable with how to best deploy a cloud model and what the user experience will be like. API, advanced networking and optimisation experts are now slowly becoming the norm. Vendors and enterprise organisation are desperately seeking out infrastructure professionals that can improve the overall cloud experience by prioritising distinct cloud components.

The proliferation of consumer devices, growing data within the cloud and the consuming of cloud-based information is the driving force behind cloud innovations. Modern data centers house the majority of today's technological platforms, with entire solutions and organisations working from the cloud. The 2012/2013 period has shown a logical progression of cloud technology and how it is here to stay. The future is instead likely to hold more options around resources, bandwidth and infrastructure. IT professionals in the latter field will especially benefit from the cloud computing development.

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