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What does a “Cloud Architect” do?

What does a Cloud Architect do?

What does a “Cloud Architect” do?

Written by David Linthicum for Nelson Hilliard

The problem with cloud is that cloud computing is so new, with fast-emerging technology, that it’s tough to find people who understand how all of this fits together into cloud computing solutions for enterprises.  Indeed, I would say this is one of the biggest limitations around the adoption of the cloud.

I would call myself a cloud architect, and there are a few like me running around out there.  However, how can you find one of your own?  How can you become one?  I think it’s first a matter of defining the knowledge required for the job.  Here is my short list:

  • An understanding of most cloud computing technology, both private and public.  This is the tough one.  Try keeping up with this space for a month.  It’s exhausting.  However, those who build cloud solutions need to have a holistic understanding of the available technology, including its proper function and use. 
  • An understanding of architectural best practices that go back 20 years.  The ability to design cloud solutions is based upon architectural procedures and methods that go way back.  If you understand what those are, and have experience leveraging those approaches, you won’t end up reinventing the wheel in the world of cloud computing.  This includes service-oriented architecture (SOA), or more traditional enterprise architecture approaches. 
  • A willingness to rethink things that don’t work to find things that do.  Much of cloud computing architecture is trying new things, seeing if they work, and, if not, finding other things that will work.  The best architects are those who have open minds around the use of technology, always moving to the optimal solution.  Remember, just because something works, does not mean it’s the right solution.
  • A willingness to work with and understand the business.  Successful cloud computing solutions are those that align directly with the needs of the business.  Thus, cloud architects need to understand the business and work directly with the stakeholders.  Many have a tendency to get caught up in the technology, and not understand the core business problems that need solving.  That leads nowhere good. 

Some exist, most will be created.  Follow the guidance above and you can either become a cloud architect or find one that’s useful. 

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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer. David is internationally recognized as the worlds No.1 cloud computing industry expert, pundit and thought-leader.

(Disclosure: David Linthicum’s views in the blogs, video shows and podcasts are his OWN and are NOT financially sponsored by Nelson Hilliard)

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