How to kill the cloud: Claim it's about job loss

Unisys' bragging that a cloud project eliminated U.S. jobs does a huge disservice -- especially because cloud computing is not about job elimination

I was not happy to see the headline "Unisys official says cloud computing can save money by eliminating U.S. jobs" on a story by InfoWorld's Paul Krill last night. I was even less happy by what the story quoted Unisys exec Richard Marcello as saying: "We were able to eliminate a whole bunch of actually U.S.-based jobs and kind of replace them with two folks out of India to serve a 1,200-person engineering organization."

Perhaps I've been in this business too long and, thus, a bit skeptical about these types of claims, but that's not the core issue here. What is the issue is the fact that Marcello is linking cloud computing to "eliminating U.S. jobs," which is something that won't play well outside the boardroom. The last thing any emerging technology needs is that kind of PR -- especially considering it's largely incorrect.

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Over the years we've all heard claims of "job-eliminating technology." For instance, the ability to reuse object-oriented programming and eliminate developers, right? Did not happen. Or component-based programming making the same claim -- oops, wrong again. How about distributed objects, SOA, and now cloud computing? See a pattern here?

The fact is that the movement to cloud computing is really just a platform change, and while there should be fewer datacenters and software stacks in a few years, the notion that cloud computing will "eliminate a whole bunch of U.S.-based jobs" is not correct, generally speaking. In the short term, there will be a huge need for cloud computing experts, developers, and architects to assist companies and government agencies in moving to cloud computing. Cloud computing providers will need people to define, develop, and maintain their services. Moreover, those now maintaining datacenters will find new roles in managing cloud computing resources.

The message here is that the cloud computing industry needs to think a bit about what it's saying in the promotion of cloud computing. Some of the "cloud computing experts" are sending wrong and inaccurate messages. In other words, they're not helping.

This story, "How to kill the cloud: Claim it's about job loss," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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