Sysadmin, Network Admin? Meet the Cloud Admin

cloud admin

Traditional IT roles mutate as boundaries expand

Once, the territory that belonged to system administrators and network administrators was neatly delineated, writes Lawrence Garvin in But the rise of cloud computing and software-defined infrastructure has blurred traditional boundaries; soon, Garvin says, “we’ll all just be known as ‘cloud administrators,’ with no real distinction between systems and networks.”

Historically, network administrators have handled the infrastructure down to the switches and routers, and sysadmins have focused primarily on software and system configuration and maintenance. But success in either role has always favored those with a broader understanding of the whole ecosystem, Garvin notes.

“Sysadmins who have an understanding of how networks work, including DHCP, DNS, and IP routing, usually have a much easier time diagnosing server and application problems,” Garvin writes. “Likewise, network admins who have an appreciation for the nature of the application traffic flowing across the wires and through the switches typically enjoy much better behaved networks.”

Entire application infrastructures, Garvin points out, depend on optimal network operation. And so the profiles of the two roles are morphing to reflect dimensions of the other.

“Sysadmins,” Garvin writes, “particularly application administrators, must now be cognizant of network technologies and operations. Network administrators who want to keep networks in top shape must now have an awareness of what application traffic is flowing across the network and how to design and implement networks to support those needs.”

He notes that there are divergent trends in the toolsets the two roles employ — sysadmins are rediscovering the efficiency of the command line, while network admins, thanks to cloud management tools, are finally embracing the graphical user interface (GUI).  The question of which will prevail, Garvin leaves unanswered.

How Citrix Fits into Hybrid Cloud

How Citrix Fits into Hybrid Cloud

Citrix executive defines user-centric vision

Appearing on SiliconANGLE TV, Morgan Gerhart, senior director of products for Citrix’s cloud and networking business,  offered his thoughts on where Citrix fits in the emerging hybrid cloud environment.

“What we try to do at Citrix is make the deployment and configuration of our stack as transparent as possible regardless of whether it’s running on-premise or in AWS [Amazon Web Services] because IT professionals shouldn’t have to do things fundamentally different to invoke AWS,” Gerhart said. Citrix’s goal, Gerhart noted, is to make AWS look like a natural extension of its customers’ data centers rather than just another silo.

The interview took place at’s recent re:Invent summit and was reported in siliconANGLE by Maria Deutscher.

Citrix NetScaler is central to the company’s cloud strategy, “providing a common interface for managing demand that allows organizations to handle an application running on AWS no differently than if it were deployed on-premise,” Deutscher writes. Users can also also move NetScaler-backed workloads outside the data center with minimal tweaking.

“What’s driving us is the concept of the software-defined workplace, which is fundamentally built around the fact that when a user is accessing an application today, they’re going to be accessing that application from at least three devices over the course of the day,” Gerhard said. “Ultimately, it’s not a technology conversation, it’s a user-centric one.”

IT Hiring Is Up; 10 Hottest Skills for 2015

Top IT Careers 2015

IT Hiring Is Up; 10 Hottest Skills for 2015

Tech support, programming high on list         

“November was a good month for hiring in general and IT hiring in particular,” writes Patrick Thibodeau on According to Foote Associates, an IT labor analyst and research firm, IT added 17,300 jobs in November, compared to 12,900 in October.

Employers are “systematically replacing consultants with full-timers,” says David Foote of Foote Associates, searching in particular for “people with business and technical skills, analysts, architects and software engineers.”

Another article on took a deeper look at the IT skills that

will be most in demand heading into 2015, based on feedback from 194 IT executives.

In a repeat from a similar survey last year, the IT skill that topped most wish lists was programming/application development. Forty-eight percent of survey respondents said they plan to hire for those skills in the next 12 months.

Next was project management, which analysts said is crucial in order to be able to execute on the backlog of complex technical initiatives that enterprises had back-burnered because of the recession.

The Computerworld 2015 Forecast Survey also listed the following skill sets, in descending order:

Help desk/technical support  “Demand for this position is a function of growth,” explained one analyst.

Security/compliance governance  –  Security breaches can be devastating and make for lurid headlines. Demand is high for those who can protect an enterprise’s digital assets.

Web development

Database administration  Big Data has given us the ability to crunch massive sets of data, but “you still need to understand how your database has been put together,” said an analyst.

Business intelligence/analytics

Mobile applications and device management

Networking   Robert Half International reports that 57% of U.S. technology executives said network administration tops the list of skills needed in their organizations.

Big data