Why the shortage of cloud architects will lead to bad clouds

There seems to be more cloud construction projects than there is talent to support them. That could spell real trouble

Designing and building cloud computing-based systems is nothing like building traditional applications and business systems. Unfortunately, many in IT find that out only when it's too late.

The complexities around multitenancy, resource sharing and management, security, and even version control lead cloud computing startups -- and enterprises that build private and public clouds -- down some rough roads before they start to learn from their mistakes. Or perhaps they just have to kill the project altogether as they discover all that investment is unsalvageable.

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I've worked on cloud-based systems for years now, and the common thread to cloud architecture is that there are no common threads to cloud architecture. Although you would think that common architectural patterns would emerge, the fact is clouds do different things and must use very different architectural approaches and technologies. In the world of cloud computing, that means those who are smart, creative, and resourceful seem to win out over those who are just smart.

The demand has exploded for those who understand how to build clouds. However, you have pretty much the same number of cloud-experienced architects being chased by an increasing number of talent seekers. Something has to give, and that will be quality and innovation as organizations settle for what they can get versus what they need.

You won't see it happen right away. It will come in the form of outages and security breaches as those who are less than qualified to build clouds are actually allowed to build them. Moreover, new IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS clouds -- both public and private -- will be functional copies of what is offered by the existing larger providers, such as Google, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft. After all, when you do something for the first time, you're more likely to copy rather than innovate.

If you're on the road to cloud computing, there are a few things you can do to secure the talent you need, including buying, building, and renting. Buy the talent by stealing it from other companies that are already building and deploying cloud-based technology -- but count on paying big for that move. Build by hiring consultants and mentors to both do and teach cloud deployment at the same time. Finally, rent by outsourcing your cloud design and build to an outside firm that has the talent and track record.

Of course, none of these options are perfect. But they're better than spending all that time and money on a bad cloud.

This article, "Why the shortage of cloud architects will lead to bad clouds," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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