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Toddy Mladenov

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Win-Lose-DiceNot surprising to me my yesterday's post Why Shutting Down TechNet is Not a Problem for IT Pros sparked quite passioned comments from IT Pros. I have to admit - I was wrong! Shutting down TechNet is a problem for IT Pros! But not because they will lose the ability to install software for free but because the hater that this event sparked among them hinders their abilities to look beyond this immediate issue and consider the change they need to make.

From the comments 30% contained rage against the cloud, 30% against the developer and 30% described how much IT Pros' job is to install, maintain and troubleshoot servers and environments or plainly said how much they love to hug their machines. The remaining 10% were valid concerns that can be summarized under 1.) cloud environments are hard to configure and 2.) Microsoft is acting rude.

Let me first address the 10%!

Cloud computing as a concept is not new except maybe the name. However the software automation that cloud environments achieve was not available several years ago. Bringing up a full application stack required several hours if not days for the IT Pro in the past while now it is available with the click of a button. Whether the cloud will live to its promise or not only the time will show but one thing is for sure - more and more automation will be added, which will require less and less need to perform the current admin tasks.

Regarding Microsoft and whether they've been acting rude this should not surprise anybody. They (still) have power and they decided to exercise it. I will emphasize once again though - I don't think shutting down TechNet is such a big problem! There are other ways to get Microsoft software for evaluation (note: not production usage) and I truly believe that if Microsoft wants to stay relevant and if they are true to their "devices and services" strategy they need to make their software affordable for evaluation. If not, as one of the comments said - there is always Linux.

The remaining 90% though are the ones that worry me about the IT Pros. For people who will always be on the liabilities side of the balance sheet they should pioneer the cloud and not blindly claim its uselessness. Throughout the comments I noticed that certain professionals do not even clearly understand the basic cloud concepts (like public and private) and what scenarios those can enable. There are numerous examples where IT organizations embrace the cloud and not only keep their jobs but become the Achilles heel of the enterprise.

Which brings me to the second point - the hate against developers and in this capacity the Lines of Business (LOBs). Everybody who works in a company that has at least one IT guy is aware of the tensions between IT and the "others". And being realistic if the IT Pro needs to serve several masters (developers, users and maybe customers) and if it takes weeks if not months to gets servers provisioned neither him nor the "others" will be happy. The solution for the IT Pro guy is to become more nimble, more agile. Partnering up with the business groups and development teams instead complaining will bring them more success and fame.

For the remaining 30%, the people who want to hug their servers my only advice is to let it go. Unless you feel weird satisfaction by installing the same software again and again you need to move on and start bringing value to the table in the form of fast and flexible solutions.

As I mentioned in my previous article - it is time for IT Pros to change unless they want to become extinct.

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Toddy Mladenov has more than 15 years experience in software development and technology consulting at companies like Microsoft, SAP and 3Com. Currently he is a CTO of Agitare Technologies, Inc. - a boutique consulting company that specializes in Cloud Computing and Big Data Solutions. Before Agitare Tech Toddy spent few years with PaaS startup Apprenda and more than six years working on Microsft's cloud computing platform Windows Azure, Windows Client and MSN/Windows Live. During his career at Microsoft he managed different aspects of the software development process for Windows Azure and Windows Services. He also evangelized Microsoft cloud services among open source communities like PHP and Java. In the past he developed enterprise software for German's software giant SAP and several startups in Europe, and managed the technical sales for 3Com in the Balkan region.

With his broad industry experience, international background and end-user point of view Toddy has an unique approach towards technology. He believes that technology should be develop to improve people's lives and is eager to share his knowledge in topics like cloud computing, mobile and web development.