Moving to Enterprise-Grade Cloud: Closing the IT Skills Gap

Moving to Enterprise-Grade Cloud: Closing the IT Skills Gap

Before beginning a transition, it is important to identify and understand your organization’s skills gap. This requires comparing your current system to the system you will migrate to, identifying areas where there is a skills shortage.

Ariel Maislos is CEO of Stratoscale.

The in-house expertise needed to manage a hybrid cloud that includes the use of AWS services can be quite considerable. The list includes:

  • Integrated networking, connecting on-premises and cloud resources through a common network to facilitate the creation of a single enterprise environment
  • Identity access and management, providing a single identity and access strategy that often goes hand-in-hand with integrating networks.
  • Deployment and management. The most robust form of hybrid architecture involves integrating application deployment and management across on-premises and cloud environments.
  • Data mobility through AWS storage gateway, RDS, S3 and AWS snowball.

Therefore, before beginning a transition, it is important to identify and understand your organization’s skills gap. This requires comparing your current system to the system you will migrate to, identifying areas where there is a skills shortage.

This requires bringing all of the business unit leaders in the organization to the table to consider the impacts the transition will have. Key personnel leaders here include the data center manager, IT operations manager, network managers, database admin leads, manager software development and the HR manager.

Step 1: Strategize

Preparation begins with asking the right people the right questions. Ask questions like where does the team stand in terms of cloud technologies? Do they have skills similar to those the cloud requires? If there is a skills gap, how big is it, and do we need to hire? Are there tools to bridge the skills gap? How excited is the team about the new platform? What is the cost impact? These are some of the questions that you need to ask to your in-house team. An optimal research process should give concrete answers to help create your strategy.

Step 2: Defining Skill Sets

Before approaching HR with any requests for new IT hires, you’ll need to spend some time outlining the skills necessary for the redefined and new job roles. Below is one example of a new role that might be required in your organization’s move to cloud.

Cloud Architect: The Cloud Architect must possess a strong understanding of how to design and build cloud environments to meet both performance and cost requirements. These people will already have data center management and architecting experience.

Key responsibilities:

  • Developing product expertise in a short time frame
  • Architecting new solutions or adapting existing ones to optimally run in a cloud-based environment
  • Owning the execution and implementation of cloud migration strategies (this will include deployment/provisioning using DevOps tools, data migration, testing, cutover/failover of systems, configuration of monitoring and other production management systems)
  • Overseeing technical quality for the output of small teams of software engineers (requirements reviews, architectural)

Required Skills and Experience:

  • 10-12 years of IT experience, minimum 3-5 years in cloud solutions & services
  • Expertise in Amazon Web Services / Microsoft Azure
  • Experience with Docker and Aurora
  • Expertise in DevOps tools like Ansible, Puppet, or Chef
  • Deep knowledge of network stack and filesystems
  • Solid experience with the networking, performance, security, and operational aspects of the AWS environment
  • Proficient in modern architecture stacks, SOA, relational DBs, stateless API, etc.
  • Excellent understanding of current enterprise software technologies and development practices/tools, including virtual environments, source control, remote development, issue tracking, build and test automation, and networking management

Other positions that may need to be filled when your enterprise moves to the cloud area an AWS migrations DevOps engineer, an AWS DevOps engineer, a cloud automation Engineer, a cloud security engineer and a cloud test automation engineer.

Step 3: Engage with HR

Based on strategy meetings and newly defined IT roles, you should be ready to create and deliver job descriptions to your human resources department. This should entail an in-person discussion with the head HR professional. Why? In many organizations, the human resources staff is not knowledgeable enough about tech matters to adequately recruit without input from IT. An in-person meeting and open dialogue gives the HR professional the opportunity to ask questions about certain job requirements. This is time well-spent.

Based on the current demand, HR managers may have to first look in-house to fill new roles. In the course of your discussions, you and HR may find that in some cases a current employee may already have the skill set to fulfill a new role. Together with the HR professional you may determine that it makes the most sense to hire from within, at which point you can prepare a training plan for collaborative growth. HR plays an important role in resolving the IT skill set gaps and report on the different options, so you can assemble a competent team.

Conclusion

Filling the skills gap will take time. Adequately transitioning and training current employees who are able to use cloud tools and technologies will certainly save time and money, enabling a quicker adoption. If that is not an option, you should hire new employees based on strategic planning and collaboration with HR, which will show the move to cloud was both carefully considered and executed.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.
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