How Private Cloud Shakes Up Traditional IT Roles

A move to private cloud will transform what CIOs need from their IT teams. Sanjay Mirchandani, Senior VP and CIO at EMC, shares his vision of how private cloud will reshape IT roles and how leaders should prepare now to cross-train their best and brightest.

By Sanjay Mirchandani, Senior VP and CIO at EMC
Wed, October 20, 2010

CIO — Rather than a traditional datacenter, the private cloud uses highly virtualized pools of compute, storage and network capabilities to optimize IT performance and utilization while providing the business with services that improve efficiency and agility. This offers organizations a way to circumvent the increasing complexity, inflexibility and cost of IT environments to be more competitive in the market place through greater efficiency, control, choice, quality of service and, most importantly, business agility. We need to spend more of our budgets on building new value and assets rather than spending precious dollars on, "keeping the lights on." Introducing the cloud!

However, the journey to the private cloud can also be hazy. It is not only fundamentally changing the way technology is built, sourced, governed and consumed, but also transforming the traditional skills IT professionals need to deploy and manage private clouds.

So, what does this mean for you and your team of IT professionals?

Opportunity.

Private cloud computing is transforming the IT organization and evolving IT personnel competencies. This not only means a deeper understanding of traditional core technologies, but a wider, converged skill set across the spectrum of critical technologies from virtualization to storage to big data to security.

First, IT professionals will need a deeper understanding of their traditional core competency to apply it within a private cloud. For instance, a storage administrator will need to delve deeper into his or her skills to straddle the physical and virtual worlds, and provision storage for the cloud not for one or few applications.

Second, IT professionals will also need a wider skill set to transcend the traditional IT silos. For example, who would you call to deploy, manage and support a Vblock incorporating best-of-breed converged Cisco, EMC, and VMware (VMW) technologies? The three people within your IT organization that each oversee storage, networking or virtualization environments, or just one person whose skills span all three competencies? Clearly, someone who has a stronger competency across all of these technologies will be beneficial as you embark on the cloud. Notice, I haven't even mentioned security, which needs to be built in, not bolted on, in the cloud!

Third, with the adoption of the private cloud, IT must be one with the business. In my years as an IT professional, I've seen waves of technology come and go. But, the private cloud alters the playing field by tightly aligning with the business and its dynamic technology needs.

If we can deliver what the business wants as a catalog of service offerings, then life changes. This is not just a change in jargon and roles, but in the overall conversation and approach you have with the business to understand their needs; how the new service catalog built on the private cloud meets these needs; and how the private cloud will deliver a better cost model while improving agility and value. This will be a core competency for IT professionals riding the latest wave of innovation in IT.

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