Typical New Year’s resolutions focus on personal and professional development—ways to improve. Although I certainly have personal goals of no interest to anyone but myself, I also have some related to the cloud computing profession. I’ll share them in hopes that a few of you will adopt these efforts as well.
Teach more people about cloud computing. If you have followed me for some time, you understand that I have a passion for education. However, rather than focus on a traditional educational path where most of what you learn is useless, concentrate on specific cloud skills that are very marketable right now, such as storage, architecture, cloud-native databases, security, etc.
It’s one thing for leadership to complain about the lack of cloud talent out there (which is the biggest hindrance to cloud computing success right now). It’s another to actively solve the problem by funding cloud skills development, or better yet, providing informal or formal instruction pro bono. I’ll make more time for this: either on-demand video training, formal lectures, or one-to-one mentorship.
Expand the number of cloud architecture patterns that are currently used. There are many cloud computing architectures, including the most basic: hybrid and multicloud. I’m finding that rank-and-file cloud architects are just replicating what they read about in books or see in an online tech journal. The trouble with this is that you’ll likely create a solution that works. Unfortunately, it’s rarely optimized for value and efficiency. You could be spending five times too much on your cloud systems each month, considering that your architecture is likely overly complex, underoptimized, more fragile, and less secure.
What is bad architecture? I know it when I see it, but the people who are actually deciding how to configure their cloud computing solutions effectively need better and consistent guidance. It’s time to start creating and documenting these patterns so they can be matched with specific problem domains. This year I’ll try to do better and not keep everything to myself, and make sure to accept constructive criticism to further improve and expand those patterns.
Take cloud security to the next level. Recent cyberattacks have proven that our online security is less than perfect. Although the majority of the targets have been traditional systems and not cloud-based ones, there is still a clear need to make cloud security better. Another consideration is that more-traditional systems have been somewhat neglected in the wake of the cloud security market exploding and R&D dollars being directed toward cloud-based security.
Still, any system can be an attack vector, and your security is defined by the systems that are most vulnerable. The rise in edge-based and IoT (Internet of Things) systems that are connected to cloud and non-cloud systems may serve as a convenient entry point for hackers. Moreover, as multicloud deployments become more complex, they are also more difficult to defend.
What’s needed is not another round of security tools to toss at the problem, but a rethinking of how security is done in the first place. This means tossing out accepted notions of security best practices and technologies and defining new and more effective models.
Looks like a busy year.