Cloud enables offshoring
The United States is a hotbed of cloud innovation and adoption, but cloud is also going to be a massive enabler of the offshoring of IT operations.
Peter Laird (an architect at Oracle) had an interesting blog post about a month ago on cloud computing mindshare across geographies, analyzing traffic to his blog. And Pew Research’s cloud adoption study indicate that uptake of cloud apps among American consumers is very high. But where the users are doesn’t matter.
Today, most companies still do most of their IT Ops locally (i.e., wherever their enterprise data centers are), even if they’ve sent functions like help desk offshore. Most companies server-hug — their IT staff is close to wherever the equipment is. But the trend is moving towards remote data centers (especially as the disparity between data center real estate prices between, say, New York City and Salt Lake City grows), and cloud exacerbates that even more. Data centers don’t move off-shore because of network latency, data protection laws, etc., so that won’t change — but a big Internet data center only employs about 50 people.
What the future looks like could be very similar to the NaviSite model — local data centers staffed by small local teams who handle physical hardware, but all the monitoring, remote management, and software development for automation and other back-office functions handled offshore.
Being a hardware wrangler isn’t a high-paying job. In fact, a lot of hosting and Web 2.0 companies hire college students, part-time, to do it. So in making a move to cloud, we seem to be facilitating the further globalization of the IT labor market for the high-paying jobs.