I have been in tech in a professional capacity for 15 years and am amazed how quickly innovations are still occurring. I like to think I know a lot about tech, but every day I discovery a new technology that makes me question how much I really know. Things are moving faster these days and that means we, as a company, need to move just as fast.
Take containers for an example. It is a fairly new way to execute applications that you can think of as abstracting the operating system from executable code, similar to how virtualization abstracts the hardware from the operating system.
And then there is serverless, another hot topic, that allows developers to scale applications by outsourcing the infrastructure to another company that provides APIs.
We also have infrastructure-as-code which is writing code that manages and provisions IT infrastructure, instead of manually configuring it using a graphical interface.
These technologies alone are incredible, but together they bring a huge change in pretty much everything related to IT infrastructure. Very ambitiously, they all have massive scalability as the driving force. And the common essence underpinning them is the migration of provision and management from traditional IT administrators to programmers.
I spent a chunk of my career as the IT Director for Castle Brands, a US spirits supplier in New York City (they are now a client). We started out with real servers in real racks and dealt with (small) data center issues like everyone else. Then we virtualized everything on new hardware. And soon enough we moved everything to Azure’s cloud infrastructure. Much of the original architecture of Windows Servers remains; it’s the infrastructure that changed.
The next big move for many companies like Castle Brands will involved containers, serverless and infrastructure-as-code. There will be less virtualized servers that we manage – certainly none that we build by hand like in the old days! – and more APIs to work with. Already we can have serverless databases, such as AWS Athena. A smart developer can set that up without an infrastructure person involved. Containers will be part of how all of this works behind the scenes.
Eventually, I think, virtual servers, because they are more expensive than API calls, will be for very large situations that require a lot of control. (Same goes for running an email server these days instead of using a hosted solution like Office 365). Those folks that have traditional server skills will find themselves with less work to do; those with programming skills on infrastructure will pick up work.
These changes will occur very fast because low cost is attractive. Already, we know that most people move to new technologies without security in mind – this is and will continue to be a big problem, but will not slow down adoption. We at System of Systems are uniquely qualified to provision and manage large environments using the skills gained from years of managing traditional IT environments. When these technologies are strung together, they create a continuous progression; none of these technologies exist alone and it takes a broad skill set to manage all the moving parts.
Our goal is to continue to learn about new technologies, see them in action and, ultimately, master them.
Andre Preoteasa is the founder and CEO of System of Systems IT Consultants in Newark, NJ.