Unsurprisingly, cloud computing, network virtualisation and on-demand technology services are growing at a rapid rate. If these new services take over, as many are predicting, we could see businesses accessing all of their IT needs remotely, no longer requiring their own infrastructure or applications. Were this to happen, it would result in a huge decrease in the importance of IT administrators and the Local Area Network (LAN), subsequently impacting the role of support software such as network monitoring.
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The increasing use of the cloud will bring with it undoubtable change, providing numerous reasons as to why businesses should transfer to cloud computing; such as the range of software, IT services available and the increased efficiency it can bring with it. There are also claims that a shift to the cloud would cut costs by eliminating the need for IT administrators. Managers, with the help of the cloud, would apparently be able to cover all jobs IT administrators do, such as changing passwords and creating new accounts.
However, this point of view is not without its detractors. Indeed, the idea that the IT administrator will be obsolete is highly debatable, as the cloud could not replace the more technical on-site jobs where specific expertise and knowledge is crucial. While the cloud would ensure the completion of more basic tasks, IT administrators would still be required to ensure the smooth running of the network and the network monitoring tools.
In considering other reasons that the uptake of cloud may not be on either the scale or at the speed that some suggest, cloud systems are very heavily dependent on Local Area Networks (LANs) and a stable internet connection. So, if a business unexpectedly loses internet connection, it wouldn’t be able to access the cloud, and simple, basic tasks such as printing wouldn’t work, as employees would find themselves unable to access the cloud app that sends the file to the printer service.
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In addition, the cloud – as well as the Internet itself – depends on millions of switches, servers and firewalls located across the world. Therefore organisations still need to rely on LANs, and demand high availability and quick response times from them.
Another large issue for many companies is that it’s easier said than done to shift a business to the cloud. Businesses that rely on machine power, such as those working in industrial manufacturing, simply cannot move to the cloud right now because it does not yet offer the high availability that assembly lines demand. At present, 37 percent of the world’s GDP is produced by non-service industries, and machines need to be connected by secure LANs with ultra-high bandwidth. As LANs remain the epicentre of businesses’ IT infrastructure, the IT administrator will remain essential when it comes to maintenance and improvement in a business IT context.
While the cloud is undoubtedly a significant technological development, and one that will have an enormous impact on businesses in the years to come, the enduring importance of traditional IT components cannot be overstated. The advent of cloud computing will ultimately rely on efficient networks, underpinned by sound engineering, and so network administrators and the network monitoring tools that they use to ensure the smooth running of their networks, are here to stay.