The classic role of an IT pro was rather like a GP — you needed to know a lot about a wide variety of potential problem areas. Is that still the case today?
Medical picture from Shutterstock
This line of thinking was suggested in a presentation by Stefan Haase, divisional product director for data cloud services at InTechnology, during Data Centre World in London (which I'm covering as part of our ongoing World Of Servers series). Around 2000, the role of an IT director was very much like that of a GP, Haase arued. Your business ran a wide variety of systems and you needed to know how to troubleshoot all of them (though you might use specialists for particularly thorny problems).
That approach has changed somewhat in the cloud era. The need for maintenance care is much reduced, and the focus is on maintaining the overall health of the system rather than fixing spot problems. You're a consultant, not a jack of all trades.
In this context, working for an outsourcer might be viewed as the equivalent of being in the emergency ward; everyone shows up with their problems. Working in IT for a cloud provider is like being in a large general practice with dozens of other doctors: there's a large base of people all utilising the same services and not caring who they see. Running a department full of ageing machines that are several versions behind is presumably the equivalent of being in alternative medicine; it happens, but there's no evidence it's actually a good idea.
Any other suggested additions to the list?
Lifehacker's World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I'm in London for Data Centre World, paying particular attention to how to maximise efficiency and lower costs in the data centre.