The hybrid cloud and automation transformation was already well underway in early 2020, when COVID-19 redefined how, when, and where we work. With teams spread out across home offices, geographies, and time zones, public and private clouds have become an indispensable aspect of IT operations for companies in virtually every industry.
An IT infrastructure is considered to be a hybrid cloud when it combines one or more public clouds with one or more private clouds, a complex combination of on-premises and off-premises solutions that present unique challenges for orchestration, management, and optimization. According to IDC, cloud spending increased by 34 percent year-over-year during the second quarter of 2020.
In IT’s new normal, hybrid cloud specialists will be in high demand as companies work to refine and optimize architectures that may have been hastily arranged in the shift to remote work. And as enterprises return to in-person work or maintain an evolving combination of remote and on-premises applications, hybrid cloud pros will be the ones putting out fires and keeping things moving.
Just as no two enterprises are alike, no two hybrid cloud specialists will bring the exact same skillset to a given challenge. As IT architectures continue to evolve, here are five knowledge areas that will prove most valuable:
1. Containers and Kubernetes
Kubernetes just might be the fastest-growing platform in the tech stack. According to the most recent Container Adoption Survey from Portworx and Aqua Security, 87 percent of respondents are now using container technologies; the Cloud Native Computing Foundation reports that four in ten enterprises are using Kubernetes in their production environments. While no hybrid cloud pro will be expected to come in knowing every technology on the market, Kubernetes has become a must-have skill for cloud architecture specialists.
2. Communication and advocacy
Beyond navigating the technical aspects of a hybrid cloud architecture, specialists must be able to explain the ins and outs of new features, processes, and expectations as companies undergo changes to their tech stack.
What’s more, those responsible for orchestrating and overseeing cloud architectures will also need to advocate for the best strategies and solutions. The right hybrid infrastructure will improve quality of life from the C-suite to the developer, and a good cloud expert will be able to make sure everyone in the company is on board.
The explosion in microservices was a notable side effect of last year’s shift to remote work. As enterprises needed to find fast solutions to facilitate work and customer service, microservices often provided a useful quick fix. While microservices are appealing in their ease of use and deployment, they can become a headache if they are not thoughtfully integrated into the larger IT infrastructure. Hybrid cloud specialists will need to be able to see the macro view to prevent headaches and solve problems before they occur.
Hybrid cloud specialists will need to be able to see the macro view to prevent headaches and solve problems before they occur.
4. Cloud security
As cloud architectures grow in importance and complexity, bad actors are also increasing their efforts to probe for vulnerabilities. A working knowledge of cloud security strategies is a key asset for hybrid cloud talent, along with the ability to communicate best practices to employees throughout the enterprise.
5. Automation and AIOps
The goal of any IT specialist is to make work simpler and more efficient for the entire enterprise. Automation, and AIOps specifically, play a key role in solving nagging problems and freeing up talent to focus on higher-level challenges. When considering return on investment, facility with automation might be the most valuable skill that a hybrid cloud pro could offer.
IT operations and architectures are always evolving, which means that the list of in-demand skills is constantly growing. The right person to tackle hybrid cloud challenges will always be flexible, keep pace with the industry, and know how to filter for the best solution in each unique situation.