Lack of skills hindering cloud migration

Enterprises testing or implementing cloud projects recognize benefits but lack of internal skilled workers mean more time spent identifying right professionals to manage migration, industry insiders say.

SINGAPORE--A dearth of IT professionals equipped with adequate know-how for datacenter virtualization and cloud computing migrations is being unveiled as more companies embark on pilot trials or full deployments of the platform, industry insiders note.

According to Zou Ling, vice president of technology at a leading financial institution which embarked on transforming its internal data center into a private cloud environment, the change in processes from a physical infrastructure into a virtualized one is "big". Additionally, in order to architect for private cloud, Zou said she had to identify and bring together IT staff with skillsets that straddle across storage, server and networking. This, she said, took time.

"There are not many people internally that have skills in all three areas, so we reskilled those that [had] ticks in two out of all three boxes," admitted Zou, who was speaking here Friday at a cloud computing forum organized by Hewlett-Packard (HP). The name of her organization could not be revealed to the public.

Zou said, however, that the efforts were worth it as the speed of provisioning services and bringing new processes on-stream is now "a lot faster" than it was previously. The financial organization's entire IT environment is now also more "elastic and flexible" to cater to business growth and seasonal compute needs, while allowing the company to reap cost savings from better maintaining physical hardware, managing datacenter space constraints and the time-consuming act of decommissioning out-of-date equipment, she elaborated.

In a previous ZDNet Asia report, experts said cloud computing is forcing IT professionals to re-educate themselves to stay relevant. In fact, the most sought-after IT workers were are the ones who had both a practical understanding of technology and could also communicate, advocate and deliver outcomes within the wider enterprise, the report noted.

Cloud benefits beyond cost savings
Enterprises are no longer content to simply revamp their data centers for the sake of reaping cost savings though, said Aman Dokania, vice president and general manager of blades, virtualization and cloud solutions at HP Asia-Pacific and Japan.

During the question-and-answer session, he noted that more IT heads are now talking about transforming their data centers in order to provide the necessary compute resources and applications business users need, on demand.

As for companies that have yet to put in place a cloud computing strategy, Dokania said the management team will see employees "challenge" them to invest in cloud offerings.

"These users can now easily sign up for public cloud services by going online and paying with their credit cards," he explained. "This makes it difficult for IT to say no and justify its decision."