I hate when people comment on my column without actually reading my column.
Last week, I wrote about the simple trend that anyone can see: The cloud is coming, so prepare yourselves for a shift in IT focus if you want to remain relevant. But somehow, some people read it as the eventual demise of the on-premises IT admin, perhaps because they saw only the headline "There's no future in on-premises IT -- it's time to move to the cloud." It's unbelievable how many people angrily responded without actually reading the story.
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I've received a tremendous amount of support but also a lot of ridicule in the past week. I can take it -- I started developing a thick skin soon after I promoted Windows Vista when InfoWorld was pushing its Save XP campaign six years ago. My point was that the last decade was about virtualization, the current decade involves convergence solutions (data centers in a box, so to speak) and hybrid solutions, and the future of IT will move away from on-premises hardware into a new utility-based model.
Look, I'm not a foreteller of future events. I can only go by trends, and it is obvious to me that as public cloud offerings improve, security strengthens, and prices go down, we're going to see a bigger shift to public cloud environments in its various forms: SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and so on. We'll see more automation, and we'll see the tools become easier to use. What was once possible only in the hands of an IT guru will be manageable by anyone with a little training.
But let me be clear: I'm not saying IT will no longer be relevant. I am saying that IT will need to change to remain relevant. IT the profession will do that organically, as it always has. My advice to you, the individual IT admin, is to see the trend and begin preparing for the changes ahead.
Of course, some people will always kick back against changes. Consider early virtualization naysayers who pooh-poohed the technology, saying they would never run their key servers in a virtualized environment. It didn't take long for most to change their tune -- although a few Fred Flintstones still refuse to adapt and say virtualization is a performance hit they cannot absorb, no matter what the stats say about virtualization's solid performance on modern hardware.
Remember 13 years ago when Microsoft showed up with a server called Windows NT and threatened to rule the enterprise one day? Unix admins laughed and said it would never happen. But it did. Today, Microsoft is saying the on-premises server is moving to the cloud. Push back all you want, but it's happening.