Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly apparent that the company at which I work doesn’t need an office. When we downsized our premises in 2012, it might not yet (just) have been economically a good option – various cloud providers like AWS and Rackspace didn’t have the solutions available that they do now – and there was also what must still be a common (but diminishing) attitude on the management side where having some tangible asset that you can lovingly caress proves that you own your emails/documents or your source code; you need to love it and hold it tight and cart it around from office to office, providing it with air-conditioning, uninterruptible power and networking. However, now management have finally realised the economics is all wrong, and so we closed the office on Friday.
It took me several months to migrate all our infrastructure once the decision was made; I would have loved a bit more time to work out how to do it more cheaply and efficiently, but it’s done and I’m proud of the job I did. In reality, it’s been a couple of years of slowly creating and testing tools to wrap around AWS Cloudformation so that I could show that we had cheap and reliable options for running web servers that demo our software. That allowed me to gradually convince management that we can host sensitive data in the cloud without losing control of it, and that we can do it more cheaply than hosting and maintaining local servers. It also helped that the VPN requirements for sales staff etc. to access our office remotely could extend almost invisibly to ordinary staff working from home as and when they needed. I could then use the same mechanisms to host data in the cloud with virtually no impact apart on how people work and the benefit of lowered storage costs in the long run.
As the IT guy in the company, I know that moving to the cloud doesn’t mean I’m out of a job, as there’s no room full of computers and cables to physically manage. That room is now virtual and in someone’s data-centre and I still have to manage it. I look forward to the challenge.