Cloud Infrastructure: Supporting Organizations Adopting Cloud Technologies

By John R. Wetsch, Ph.D., Program Director for Cloud Computing, Wake Technical Community College

John R. Wetsch, Ph.D., Program Director for Cloud Computing, Wake Technical Community College

A significant amount of Cloud vendor training is being able to set-up and use Clouds service (i.e., Google, AWS, Azure, etc.). These services can provide Cloud business services and environments to support cloud development. These services certainly fulfill a business need, but education in the Cloud must go beyond this to especially meet the need of organizations that supply their own cloud services.

To address the need to support and build cloud services with services that can develop and maintain cloud environments, the traditional roles that support system infrastructure need to be enhanced to Cloud Infrastructure. Traditional training in information technologies needs to be improved.  This is due to the fact that a traditional system administrator may be focused on a particular operating system such as LINUX. Because most system environments are heterogenous other expertise needs to be brought into the organization and often accomplished by hiring additional specialized technologists. Consequently, many organizations have providedextensive training to keep their staff up to date.But what about the new employee just out of school? Do they have the needs skills and if not they will have a steep learning curve? As we think about this, how many certifications does a job candidate need to be able to support a Cloud Infrastructure?  A singular certification in the Cloud or a type of technology is not enough. As a result, new job hires spend more training time to get up to speed?

"A solid Cloud Infrastructure program will give a student the ability to work with multiple technologies and provide the ability to enhance those abilities based on the needs of an organization, including certifications"

To address this, education in Cloud Infrastructure becomes a necessity. A solid Cloud Infrastructure program will give a student the ability to work with multiple technologies and provide the ability to enhance those abilities based on the needs of an organization, including certifications. New employees will be better able to adapt to the system environment for an organization. The basics for a Cloud Infrastructure program would encompass:

• Operating Systems: Administration of two conventional operating systems such as Linux and Windows.

• Virtualization: Ability to apply virtualization to systems for business services and storage.

• Storage: Understanding and application of network storage services.

• Networking: Strong knowledge of networking and application to network storage.

• Programming: Python and scripting with Linux shells and Windows Powershell.

• Operations: Troubleshooting and understands Data Center operations.

• Cloud Concepts: Strong knowledge of what the Cloud is and what it does. 

To support these areas, educational institutions must have the infrastructure to support students, which means they need to have a supporting Cloud Infrastructure for students to learn and apply information technology skills. Traditional labs are suitable for programming, operating systems, and learning virtualization concepts. Nonetheless, having a lab that allows for the direct application of these technologies in the Cloud becomes a must.

To conclude, a combination of converged training in information technologies with the ability to apply those technologies in a Cloud environment is becoming essential. Information technology graduates must be ready for the workforce as Cloud technologists. The ability to learn skills, in a combined program of study, that supports a converged information system will be a means to meet business needs in information technology. It is especially important as organizations move to a Cloud Infrastructure as it can also reduce training time, increase support abilities, and probably reduce IT staffing loads.

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