Stories by Leon Erlanger

Cloud poised to change the nature of IT careers

As if outsourcing, virtualisation, utility computing, automation, hosted applications, and a recession weren't enough to stress out the average IT professional, there's the emerging threat of cloud computing. As time progresses, analyst firms foresee the cloud becoming more prevalent, absorbing functions traditionally done by IT. IDC predicts that worldwide IT spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold by 2012 to US$42 billion (NZ$63 million).
So exactly how — and when — will cloud computing reshape IT organisations and IT jobs? And what should the typical IT staffer do to protect his or her career?
First, don't panic. Any large-scale shift to cloud computing is a decade or more away, says Gartner analyst Ben Pring, and Kim Terry, president of Terrosa Technologies, says "For now, I look at software as a service and cloud computing as an extension of the company's network, not a replacement". Terrosa helps software vendors make their wares available through the cloud, and Terry says that in most organisations, it's likely to be five years before anyone is ready to change out a company's financial systems to the cloud.
The cloud will create a few jobs, at first

Building the intelligent network

The days of the fat, dumb pipe are over. Servers, applications and storage have been shouldering the intelligence and security burden for too long. It’s time for the network infrastructure itself to add some smarts. After all, when it comes to intelligence, the real beauty of the network is that it touches everything.