Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The black cloud­™

Microsoft - the company who created much of the present IT industry - is backing an IDC report that Cloud™ computing will create 1.5 million jobs worldwide by the end of 2015... This is the kind of report I expect from a company trying to push it's way into becoming a service as Microsoft is trying to do. There is a very strange omission in this report, it sticks out like a giant hairy melanoma on a supermodel's face when I look at it. This report claims that there will be massive savings to companies who will liberate their IT spending to be refocused on 'other things'... It fails to count how many IT departments would cease to contain employees in the creation of 1.5 million jobs, most of which as stated on the very last page:
would exist in India or China. 

I hope they are not attempting to sell the IT department on what a fantastic idea this is, because we don't buy it. 

There are a few problems with the math in this report, the most obvious of which is that I am among the uncounted who gets to stay home and collect welfare so India or China can do my job at pennies on the dollar, but that isn't even the largest problem... It's simply the one that makes me feel betrayed.

You see IT has been chipped away at for decades by, take a wild guess, SERVICE PROVIDERS. Yes, with each new and exciting fiscally responsible new big thing that comes along, the IT department finds itself being less useful and much of it stems from the idea (which a service provider came up with) that IT should be a profitable department... It isn't, and never was profitable in that type of sense. The only way it can show profitability is by tabulating every known (and unknown) threat or problem that may have occurred and apply a double-digit exponent to that number, and multiply by number of employees and their mean salary, then add the perceived value of any intellectual property or trade secrets that exist in digital files contained on the network... 

You see, IT keeps things running, IT often fixes issues that nobody else even sees, IT protects data from theft, guards against viruses, blocks spam, presents new innovations, and reduces peoples workload to the minimum time and effort affordable. IT also understands business processes and tends to see them from an outside perspective which makes the solution to process gaps easier to identify and overcome (but these days we are not asked for that opinion in favour of a business process specialty team that costs too much and does too little, too slowly). Why do we understand business processes? Because on paper they look exactly the same as network diagrams and database models, which makes them almost a simple as sheet music was to Mozart and Beethoven.

The cloud™ has been represented on our network diagrams since the beginning of time. What does a cloud signify? One or many unknown networks outside of our control. This could be the internet or a VPN provider but the fact that it's a cloud is significant in that we can't see what goes on there, and we can't fix it from here. In essence, the cloud is a blind trust in a service provider's ability to continue to provide service... As you might imagine, we in the IT department try to not draw too many clouds in our diagrams because of the blind trust the represent... If the internet goes down, the network continues to work, a VPN provider goes down, email to the Paris office goes in the queue until we get VPN back. These are minor inconveniences compared to not being able to access our MRP/ERP, telephones, or documents and email... All of which could exist in the cloud.

But that wouldn't bother me much.... Because I'd be at home not working to fix a network that exists in China or India.

Speaking of India, some of them are really quite adept in their ability to sell customer's credit card information, imagine what they could do with the secret Colonel Sanders recipe... But @ pennies on the dollar, you get what you pay for so I can't say I blame them. 

And to mis-quote another old adage 'Microsoft giveth, and Microsoft taketh away'. I don't mind I have Linux to fall back on. I just won't be 'selling' my job to India and China for them, but I've already mentioned my distaste for the cloud before so I will not continue to ramble on.


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