Archive for November 2010
The high tech industry raves about how “the cloud” will save the world, give us completely automated IT infrastructure, and obviate the need for talented system administrators. However, I would make a contrarian claim that this move to IaaS public clouds (e.g. EC2) will generate more demand for system administrators within the organizations using these clouds, and maybe even spawn a new breed of MSP that solely focuses on management of public cloud infrastructure on behalf of end customers. Here’s my reasoning:
- If we need 3rd party software to manage it…it ain’t there yet – I have no idea what kind of revenue companies like Rightscale generate, but the fact that they and other companies like them have filled a market need for an additional monitoring management layer on top of public clouds suggests that this cloud stuff is actually harder to operate than the hype would make one believe.
- People still make decisions, not computers - Monitoring and management tools rely on user-defined thresholds in order to execute pre-determined actions. CPU of a server goes over 70%? Spin up another instance. CPU of a server goes below 30%, spin it down. No amount of additional monitoring data or additional monitoring tools will change that core limitation. You still need a person to define those thresholds and a person to define those actions. And that person needs to be able to troubleshoot when those thresholds and actions don’t produce the desired result. There is still no substitute for a smart sysadmin who knows their sh*t.
- IaaS is still new, and there is a significant knowledge gap – Let’s face it…these cloud platforms are still in the initial phases of adoption. This means there is going to be a big skills gap for many years ahead (look at virtualization – a good VMware admin can demand top dollar because there are still relatively few of them – and ESX has been around for at least 7 years) and that gap means that companies will need to look outside for help. I also regularly see posts for developers as well as sysadmins who have EC2 experience.
Would you work with an MSP to help manage your EC2 deployment? Are there any well-known companies with large EC2 deployments who have farmed out at sysadmin duties to MSPs?
Mark Suster, VC blogger and 2 time entrepreneur, is looking for a young buck to join his firm as an analyst. I imagine he’d be an awesome guy to work with, given the great insights on his blog.
In any case, here is the link to learn more:
Good luck if you decide to apply! But make sure you check out my VC careers page for a primer on getting a job in VC, first ;)
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