cloud architecture facts

You need approximately 12 adults to form a circle around an elephant. The African elephant, earth’s largest land animal, can be over 24 feet long. If you asked the folks making the elephant-entwining circle, “What do you see?” every answer would be different, and a couple of people may be a little unhappy with their particular perspective.

This is what it is like to grapple with cloud architecture: no one person has an ideal viewpoint, and everybody sees something different. And, admittedly, some people may not like what they see. We want to share with you five facts that could shape your view of cloud computing. 

Fact #1: Cloud Architecture Starts with Hardware

While “the cloud” is a theoretical framework for understanding interconnected computing, cloud architecture begins with actual hardware: 

  • Real servers
  • Physically existing networks linked by wiring
  • Data storage devices
  • Brick-and-mortar facilities to house all the equipment

Data professionals attend to all this hardware and keep it running smoothly, 24/7/365 (or, for 2016 and future leap years, 24/7/366). Onto this hardware must go software, and, here again, IT professionals thoroughly conversant with cloud computing select, test, load, monitor, and maintain the software. 

This software provides cloud services, such as:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Business Process as a Service (BPaaS)
  • African Elephants as a Service (AEaaS—our research may be a bit muddled on this)

With all credit to the faithful founders of creaky and antiquated software programs that may still lurk on government and university servers somewhere, today’s cloud architecture demands IT professionals with 21st-century skills and knowledge. 

Fact #2: Cloud Architects Routinely Make More than Building Architects

network administrator salaryThe Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the median annual wage for network and computer system administrators (IT cloud computing professionals) as of May 2014 was $75,790. Those working in "computer systems design and related services" garnered even higher mean annual wages of $84,280. Computer architects, whose work encompasses the architecture of the cloud itself, enjoyed mean annual wages of $100,710 by the BLS estimate. 

Contrast these high wages with those earned by actual architects, the folks who design and put up buildings. They had mean annual wages of only $74,520, according to the BLS. 

Regarding future job growth, cloud computing professionals own that territory, too: 

  • Network architects: nine percent job growth through 2024
  • Network and computer system administrators: eight percent job growth anticipated through 2024
  • Building architects: seven percent job growth through 2024

In case you wondered, the BLS also says that large animal care and service workers—the sorts of kindly people who deal with African elephants every day—earned mean annual wages of only $20,610. Yes, the BLS keeps track of just about every job out there. 

Fact #3: Hybrid Cloud Computing Architecture is Hot

Companies spent enormous parts of their IT budgets creating private cloud computing architecture, to service their in-house needs. Then public cloud computing with security offered flexible solutions: 

  • IBM Softlayer
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Rackspace

Attendees of any “University of Google” mini-course (i.e., all who surf the internet using a search engine) have used public cloud architecture. Hybrid cloud models are now a mature technology. IT professionals combine cloud applications and data to reach beyond in-house systems, using public domain cloud architecture to handle data centers, increase connectivity and offer more personalized services to their customers (SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS). 

Fact #4: Multi-cloud is Next

While hybrid cloud computing architecture is still the preferred mode among businesses, according to RightScale’s State of the Cloud Survey, multi-cloud architecture is the new way to handle increased traffic and service strain. Multi-cloud computing uses a mix of cloud services from different providers. This allows a company to avoid being locked into getting its cloud IT from a single provider. Competition is keen, and very large companies can exert tremendous price pressure by shopping in multiple areas for services that are easily switched from one cloud to another. 

Managing multi-cloud architecture is even more complex than handling the hybrid cloud computing model strongly favored in today’s business world. Dimensional Research found that 77 percent of surveyed IT professionals planned to deploy to multiple clouds in the year ahead. International borders mean nothing: 58 percent reported plans to use clouds operating in more than one country. Addressing the complexities of deploying these multi-cloud strategies, 87 percent of respondents acknowledged the need for high bandwidth interconnection between the various clouds their companies will use. 

If managing hybrid cloud architecture for your firm was challenging to you as an IT professional, imagine handling this: 

  • Two or more public IaaS providers
  • One private PaaS 
  • On-demand management
  • Security integration from public clouds
  • A live, private user database
  • Clouds operating in multiple time zones globally

Still, the managerial and logistical headaches are probably worth suffering, because with multi-cloud strategies, no company has to:

  • Be under the strictures or price controls of a single provider,
  • Forego the advantage of redundancy and security offered by multiple clouds
  • Lack the flexibility of running applications on different IaaS platforms (geographically limited clouds for improved security; high-performance clouds for significant gains in computational speed)
  • Worry about rogue elephants foraging among their servers—wait, what?

Fact #5: You Should Educate Yourself in Cloud Computing

To understand the ever-changing nature of cloud computing, hybrid models, and the new wave of multi-cloud architecture, you need more than a few sessions at the imaginary "Google College." To become a cloud architect, you need real instruction from qualified professors who can guide you through software deployment, configuring virtual servers, establishing network security and more. Attend ECPI University and, in just 2.5 years, earn your Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Cloud Computing. Contact ECPI today to learn how you can be on the ground floor of an architectural marvel for which the sky—or the cloud within it—is the limit. It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

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