The Great Divide between Cloud and Hardware
Growth in cloud technology is anticipated at nearly a 20% year on year rise until 2020 having recently cemented its position as the future of IT. The speed of uptake around IT technology has not been seen since the emergence of the internet. Increasingly fewer SMEs have any system hardware as the perception to businesses is that onsite IT and hardware is a thing of the past.
The IT industry is progressively moving towards utilising cloud but it is important not to forget that hardware skills and resources still have a huge part to play in the future of IT.
Investing in Cloud
Couple the wide availability and the perception of Cloud and it has developed a rather carefree attitude to technology. Cloud solutions are easily accessible and present the idea that the cloud is completely free of hardware. Despite most businesses having fewer equipment and hardware on onsite than they did some five years ago, physical hardware is actually still essential to maintaining system uptime.
A gap between cloud and hardware has subsequently developed as the cloud is seen as a connection to a network that is often wireless and without the need for a physical connection. A data centre still requires a number of highly skilled individuals to maintain however. A skills gap has been identified in this area as a challenge facing more software firms.
An emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR)
In terms of start-up firms, technologies such as AI and VR are making a huge impact and are emerging as the latest business and consumer trends in products and solutions. These often operate in the cloud and require masses of computer power, thus being heavily reliant on server, networking and storage hardware and skills.
Despite this, the focus on skills training continues to be more on coding and computer programming, prioritising software over hardware. The intention is to develop the UK into a futureproof high-tech economy but identifying and changing the focus of training needs to happen sooner rather than later. Developing high quality technical skills is essential to support cloud and the new emerging technologies such as AI and VR which the modern IT industry so heavily relies on.
To enable a successful future for our infrastructure and data, skills investment needs to be consistent across hardware and software. The latest and emerging technologies still require a data centre backend situated somewhere, even if it is a location far from the subject. The trend in decreasing onsite hardware may have created an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude, but the reality is that the focus must still be given to maintaining a skilled engineering capability to manage and maintain hardware infrastructure.