T-SQL Tuesday #089: The Cloud and Job Security

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Published on: April 11, 2017

The Cloud

Today I am doing a quick entry for my participation points in the monthly blog party called TSQL Tuesday. I have missed the past few opportunities for various reasons. Today when I saw the topic, I wanted to post a few quick thoughts. If you are interested, the host this month is Koen Verbeek (blog | twitter) and the invite can be found here.

Koen invites us to explore the cloud, whether it be a stormy cloud or a silver lined cloud. Either way, explore it and how it relates to you. Here are some of the examples Koen posted:

  • What impact has this had on your job?
  • Do you feel endangered?
  • Do you have more exciting features/toys to work with?
  • Do you embrace the change and learn new skills?
  • Or do you hide in your cubicle and fear the robot uprising?

I guess the answer for me is “it depends” – buahaha. Just kidding.

The Future Is Bright

I think the cloud is a good thing for the data professional, when done right. I do not believe there is anything to fear with it, so I definitely don’t feel endangered. That said, I do proceed cautiously to the silver lined puffs of water in the air. It’s not from fear, but more of a caution to ensure it is the correct move for the business need in question. I don’t believe the cloud is the right answer for all business needs but it is an appropriate solution for many business requirements.

I like to ensure my clients are well informed of what the choices are and the implications may be when deciding to move to the cloud. I like to make sure they understand that a move to the cloud is not a knee jerk decision – it takes planning and considerable effort in many situations. I also like to remind them that the cloud is really just another data center hosting their data. Granted, some offerings from vendors like Amazon and Microsoft do permit considerable flexibility and the opportunity to move quickly to new demands or interests.

Playground

For me, one of the biggest benefits of the cloud is the constantly evolving sandbox that I get to use to learn and grow (obviously that means I get to play a lot). I don’t have the resources at my disposal (and most clients don’t either) to be able to stand up a brand new environment from scratch for a POC quickly and efficiently. If I want to play around with Machine Learning (ML) then I can spin up an environment to help learn and evaluate my options. Should I decided I want to learn how to setup a multi-site multi-node windows cluster, I could spin up that environment very quickly and start learning with minimal hardware requirement on my part.

The cloud offers great learning potential for those interested. That said, it is obviously not free. There is cost for the cloud services and of course one must still invest personal time into the “sandbox” in order to learn the technology properly.

TSQL2sDay150x150The Wrap

Personally, I see no threat from the cloud movement. Some may worry about the cloud automating them out of a job. The truth is, data professionals are always trying to automate things. Automation is not really entirely new and it seems there is always more to be automated.

The cloud offers new avenues to grow ones career. The technology is getting more and more interesting. Is the cloud blowing past you and your career or are you riding the Jet Stream through the clouds and into your future?

Cloud Nirvana

Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: November 12, 2013

TSQL2sDay150x150T-SQL Tuesday is a recurring blog party, that is started by Adam Machanic (Blog | @AdamMachanic). Each month a blog will host the party, and everyone that want’s to can write a blog about a specific subject.

This month the subject is “Cloud Atlas”. If you want to read the invite, please click the image below to go to the party-starter: Jorge Segarra (Blog | @SQLChicken).

For me, this will be a quick entry on my part to participate.  I have a mixed bag of feelings about the Cloud and the buzz-wordiness that implies.

mushroomDisaster Struck

One of my biggest concerns with the cloud is the gloom and doom that has been felt by a client after a bout of corruption struck their database.  The person on staff responsible for backups did a fantastic job of ensuring the database was backed up on a daily basis.  That is not the doom and gloom sadly.

This particular case turned sour after corruption hit the database.  The web application no longer connected to the database.  The data was corrupt.  The database was inaccessible.  The client was distraught and sweating bullets.  The client and the employee new not what to do so they sought me out to get some help.

After an assessment, we determined that the database needed to restored from backup.  All of the backups were done fastidiously – to the cloud.  The backups were only accessible through a specific application and the process required copying the backup from the cloud down to the server via the application.  The process is pretty easy, right?

The recovery of the database took an entire week!  The copy down through the application from the cloud was destructive to the business to say the least.  The company had little to no chance of surviving being out of business for the outage caused by this scenario.

thunder-cloudNirvana

On the more positive side, there may be a silver lining to the cloud for many people.  I have done more than my share of successful Cloud migrations.  I have also seen many applications work very well from the Cloud.

One benefit to me personally about the Cloud is the ability to quickly spin up resources or even servers.  Much like a VM farm, I can request more resources for a Server during specific workload times.  And I can also dial down the gauges a bit when the workload is less intense.

I really like the idea of spinning up a machine in a matter of a few clicks and minutes.  When SQL 2014 released CTP2, this was fantastic.  I know several people took advantage of this ability and began playing with CTP2 almost immediately after the announcement of the CTP2 release.

Is the cloud right for you?  I can’t say.  I have had success and failure related specifically to the cloud that might not have happened in a less “nimble” environment.  The decision to move to the Cloud is frequently the decision made by somebody other than the technologist that must support the technology and the decision.  If you are moving to the Cloud, you may succeed and enjoy it or you may fail and hate it.  Your mileage will vary.

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