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IT Desktop Support To Be Wiped Out Thanks To Cloud Computing 349

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-needs-help dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tech industry experts are saying that desktop support jobs will be declining sharply thanks to cloud computing. Why is this happening? A large majority of companies and government agencies will rely on the cloud for more than half of their IT services by 2020, according to Gartner's 2011 CIO Agenda Survey."
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IT Desktop Support To Be Wiped Out Thanks To Cloud Computing

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  • Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:31AM (#40164515)
    The naivety into a fud survey disturbs me, not to mention the whole company dependence issue which could lead into a business trap backlash if one fails.

    Cloud computing isn't going to kill anything.
    • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:41AM (#40164559)
      To be fair, hype overload is killing brain cells.
    • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:54AM (#40164607)

      agree. I run a service desk. Cloud computing doesn't eliminate the morons using computers. Cloud computing won't change a thing except provide new challengers to my tier 1 techs.

      • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by El Torico (732160) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:16AM (#40164881)
        How many times will you hear, "The cloud is down!"?
        • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lightknight (213164) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:17AM (#40164889) Homepage

          Surprisingly often, if past incidents are anything to go by.

          • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:24AM (#40164903) Homepage

            Yep, and it will stop the entire company from working when it happens.

            Managers will start to think that individual PCs will prevent that...and we'll begin the circle of computing all over again. Just like the last time.

            • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by gtall (79522) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @08:46AM (#40165389)

              Hmmm...and thus the Distributed Cloud was born in the year 2016. Before that, cloud services were centralized and so were downtimes. Managers felt that this was a denial of service to the worker bees and in order to keep them happy, a distributed form of cloud service was necessary. In the new concept, individual PCs will perform cloud services for individual worker bees...at their OWN desk. Hailed as a remarkable productivity enhancer that made men stronger and women prettier, Management declared Victory with Honor and many awards were passed out. The Business World heaved a sigh of relief that the cloud scourge had been fixed. Techies merely heaved.

            • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @09:28AM (#40165723) Homepage

              Individual PCs can prevent "everyone is down due to the cloud", even with a server-centric or even thinclient architecture. I've worked at such places where there hasn't been a single network-wide outage for periods of 6-8 months with regularity.

              Guess what it means, though? You've got to:

              * buy enough of the right kind of equipment
              * hire the right people to manage said equipment
              * hire enough people to maintain those systems

              Short of catastrophic equipment failure, there are few reasons for such outages. A properly maintained environment doesn't have these problems (with any regularity).

        • by paiute (550198)

          How many times will you hear, "The cloud is down!"?

          Which reminds me - I really haven't heard the kind of marketing/meme support for this new cloud thing. I mean startup named Cumulonimbus or Translucidus or bending to the new task old metaphors like silver linings, etc.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          How many times will you hear, "The cloud is down!"?

          Do you not read any tech news at all?

          There has been current and major failures with all the cloud services. Microsoft's most recently, and it was for more than a few minutes.

          Are you confusing the "cloud" with the "internet?"

          And....when this happens, you have ZERO control over resolving the issue, you sit and wait.

          • by azalin (67640)
            Do you know how often a help desk call involves accurate descriptions of the real issue at hand? How many times have issues like "OMG the mailserver is down!!!!" resolved be plugging in the f*cking network cable or switching the wireless switch on someones laptop back on?
            It is somewhat fascinating to see how people get through traffic everyday alive just to switch their brains of at work.
            • It is somewhat fascinating to see how people get through traffic everyday alive just to switch their brains of at work.

              You seem to be of the persuasion that their brains are on while they're getting through traffic.

        • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Funny)

          by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:59AM (#40165071)

          How many times will you hear, "The cloud is down!"?

          Does that make it a fog?

        • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Funny)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @08:40AM (#40165341) Homepage

          Hello IT! Is your Cloud plugged in and turned on?

        • To the user, "the cloud" may as well be "the website" or "the internet" or "the server". They interchange all freely, when talking about the desktop, their word processing package, the printer, the coffee machine, the keypad for the front gate...

          Yes, your ID card doesn't work because there is a virus in the reader, and nothing to do with the fact that it looks like you folded it in half to fit it into your purse.
      • Re:Survey? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Vintowin (1476905) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @08:29AM (#40165267)
        Ladies and Gentlemen, In this corner, weighing 245 pounds, wearing the cheeto and Mountain Dew stained shorts, our reigning champion, Larry the Tier 1 Tech! and in this corner, the challenger Weighing in at 435 pounds, her fudge stained shorts smelling of Chanel, Susan the Admin Assistant! Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmble!!!!
      • Re:Survey? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tibit (1762298) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @08:46AM (#40165387)

        Agreed. Cloud computing doesn't mean that you don't have a desktop PC that you have to log into just to use the web browser and the printer. Where are all those cloud-thin clients deployed? I somehow don't see them... These days, "thin clients" are often desktops with a 3270 terminal emulator, or an RDP or VNC client. It's interesting how many businesses still use mainframe tech. Sometimes I see thin intranet shims over 3270, and that's even funnier. A real 3270-like or RDP/VNC terminal with remote provisioning would probably be truly zero-support, but desktops sure as heck aren't.

        • by SScorpio (595836)

          Wyse makes some that are deployed at a client of ours. http://www.wyse.com/products/cloud-clients/thin-clients [wyse.com]

          It's not a true cloud setup as they are using RDP to connect to a local terminal server, but this server is replicated at a remote data center, so if the server were to go down because of a hardware issue, they could then be redirected to the remote server.

          I'm not sure which model they are using but I think it's either the Wyse S10 or S30. These have a very basic OS build in that allow some windowi

        • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday May 31, 2012 @09:39AM (#40165811)

          For "cloud" access, a "thin client" has to be pretty beefy, because for access to "cloud" applications, the client will have to have not just a keyboard/mouse/TCP/IP stack (like an X-station), but a full OS that has to handle security, a Web browser with support for add-ons, and some form of persistent storage (so each machine can be uniquely identified via remote via a cookie, "super-cookie", LSO, or whatnot.)

          With persistant storage comes HDDs or SDDs.

          Desktop IT support is not going to vanish anytime soon:

          1: Someone has to deal with broken machines/terminals in users' cubicles of offices. In theory, switching out a thin client would be the best thing, but in reality, thin clients tend to usually be more expensive than a generic x86 desktop, and with a desktop, parts can be swapped which means another client doesn't have to be purchased if one breaks. Of course, if it is a new thin client, it will have a different MAC address, so it won't be allowed on a locked down corporate network, which brings us to the next point.

          2: There are going to be network admins. Packets don't magically route themselves, so someone is going to be there making sure the routers are working and secure, and local company policies are enforced. That way, a worm originating in one corporate department stays in that subnet and doesn't wind up in receiving or sales. Even if things work perfectly, someone is going to have to be there every six months to upgrade the router OS every time Cisco makes a major security update package.

          Personally, cloud computing has its place, but it is not a cure-all, just like Javastations were not a cure-all when that was the rage, nor were X-stations the cure-all when that was important.

    • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by History's Coming To (1059484) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:55AM (#40164611) Journal
      So you no longer need a computer to "access the cloud"? And here I was labouring under the impression that the majority of support jobs were related to hardware faults, OS problems, malware and user error, how "the cloud" will stop this happening is a mystery.
      • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CSMoran (1577071) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:59AM (#40164627) Journal

        So you no longer need a computer to "access the cloud"? And here I was labouring under the impression that the majority of support jobs were related to hardware faults, OS problems, malware and user error, how "the cloud" will stop this happening is a mystery.

        The dumber the terminal, the fewer hardware faults, OS problems and malware, no?
        Although in practice we can expect a dumbing down of the user base too :).

        • by MitchDev (2526834)
          "Although in practice we can expect a dumbing down of the user base too :)." Does IQ measurement go below zero?
        • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:16AM (#40164679)

          So you no longer need a computer to "access the cloud"? And here I was labouring under the impression that the majority of support jobs were related to hardware faults, OS problems, malware and user error, how "the cloud" will stop this happening is a mystery.

          The dumber the terminal, the fewer hardware faults, OS problems and malware, no? Although in practice we can expect a dumbing down of the user base too :).

          At some point it's got to to run an OS, maybe on a backend server instead of a workstation but it's there. Where there's an OS and users, there will be malware. The hardware faults will transfer to "server" instead of the workstation. An interesting change will be that a hardware fault that takes down the box will impact multiple users instead of just one. You will get the benefit of redundancy if you're running a real server, though.

          As an aside, we had cloud computing in the 80's and 90's. We called it Client-Server and used terminals connected to unix servers (in my case specifically, HP-UX). Now we're doing the same thing, just with different hardware and software.

          • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:43AM (#40164765)
            Having really dumb terminals does simplify end support though. Computer not working? Pull it out, put in a new one. Send the old one back to the manufacturer. It means one IT worker can support many more computers, and needs less training thus lower pay. This is very good from a business perspective, but very bad for job satisfaction. Telecoms went through something like that when the old click-and-bang mechanical switches were replaced with solid state boards that were just swapped out, thus reducing highly skilled engineers to the role of 'pull anything with the fault light lit and stick in a new one.' A lot of them retired early.
            • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <{kcocknozzle} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:25AM (#40164905) Homepage

              Having really dumb terminals does simplify end support though. Computer not working? Pull it out, put in a new one. Send the old one back to the manufacturer. It means one IT worker can support many more computers, and needs less training thus lower pay.

              Only if you've divided up your roles... But so many companies have people "wearing many hats" that, in practice, it will be the same person doing the virtualization AND the "desktop" support of the virtual-desktops... Which means he'll need far MORE training than current helpdesk people. In fact, what it really does is makes IT hiring that much harder for most organizations because now you can't just hire somebody who knows Windows desktops for the helpdesk/workstation VM admin role--you would need to hire somebody who knows VDI or Xen Desktop (or something else.)

            • Where are these dumb terminals? Off the shelf PCs are standard in businesses everywhere; swapping them out might not be practical for a large organisation as they might not have enough spares on hand for more than a few failures. That happened a few times back in Nortel.

            • by Kjella (173770)

              Same with a lot of computer and electronics repair, in the old days they actually repaired them like replacing a bad chip or capacitor or welded a bad connection. Then they were replacing whole cards instead of components and eventually mostly replaced the whole box. They went from highly skilled jobs to simple manual labor to glorified delivery boys. It doesn't even matter if they are repairable, it just isn't worth a skilled person's time to look at cheap, small electronics anymore. Even warranty repairs

              • by tibit (1762298)

                The miniaturization and high intergration is the sole reason for that: the cost of physical goods is tiny compared to the cost of maintaining a human service person. Just look at how little goes into, say, an MP3 player. The main PCB is usually the size of a quarter and weighs less than that. A highly skilled, very well equipped service person could perhaps repair a couple of those a day. He/she needs food, clothing, housing and entertainment. All that to get a couple boards fixed that can be had off eBay f

      • Not to mention deploying OS updates, new versions of client-side software for their cloud-hosted services, and fielding all the troubleshooting that comes from that.

      • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jbolden (176878) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:33AM (#40164945) Homepage

        This was one of the early arguments for Unix/Linux.

        Windows because it offers the possibility of a rich client has: complex breakable hardware, which is unique to the user, a complex OS and applications susceptible to malware. A thin client erases all those issues. The hardware itself is far less breakable, and isn't unique to the user. You can just have spares and have them fixed "whenever". The OS just has to boot the hardware and connect to the servers, and the applications all exist remotely. Think about your television as the hardware, the cable box as the OS and the shows as being applications. The TV rarely breaks and when it does it can replaced with another generic television.

        Now .... you are replacing your desktop team with a more complex system admin and operations team because the local system But right now, as a legacy of Windows, most companies have both complex server solutions and complex desktop solutions.

    • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:06AM (#40164651) Journal

      The sad part is nobody seems to remember we have been down this road before....show of hands, anybody remember the whole "thin client push" in the dot bomb days? I sure do, you had all these companies pushing "the net/server' would solve everything, all your IT needs and problems just poof! Gone. anybody else remember that? So what happened?

      The exact same things that is gonna happen this time, worries about data security, having a whole office sitting on ass if the network ever goes down, lag and crappy hosted apps not being as good as rich desktop apps, which BTW none of these problems have been solved by replacing net or server with cloud. I guess history doomed repeat and all that.

      • Re:Survey? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:20AM (#40164691)

        The sad part is nobody seems to remember we have been down this road before....show of hands, anybody remember the whole "thin client push" in the dot bomb days? I sure do, you had all these companies pushing "the net/server' would solve everything, all your IT needs and problems just poof! Gone. anybody else remember that? So what happened?

        The exact same things that is gonna happen this time, worries about data security, having a whole office sitting on ass if the network ever goes down, lag and crappy hosted apps not being as good as rich desktop apps, which BTW none of these problems have been solved by replacing net or server with cloud. I guess history doomed repeat and all that.

        Yep, and long before that we had unix terminals connected to a central host. "Cloud computing" will hit the enterprise, and in a few years the enterprise will move on to something else.

      • While I expect that the data security/control concerns and UX deficiencies will be(if anything) worse with served-from-offsite-across-a-WAN-by-who-knows-who 'cloud' stuff than they were with served-from-our-datacenter-over-the-network-by-IT thin client stuff, it does seem likely to me that the impact on local IT staff will be different.

        In my rather painful experiences with thin clients, the client hardware itself is practically bulletproof; but the terminal servers are more than touchy enough to make up
      • Re:Survey? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:51AM (#40164795)

        > The sad part is nobody seems to remember we have been down this road before....

        Yup. I see "cloud" and I immediately think "client-server". Well, "client-virtual server hosted on some random network somewhere in a collection of physical servers", but whatever.

        You can shuffle stuff between the client space and server space all you want, but 90% of day-to-day problems will still be found between the keyboard and the chair.

        • I see cloud, and think of mainframes.

          If the mainframe goes down, all the dumb terminals are useless, and any work is lost. Specially written software that only runs on a handful of computers of the same type, and cost overruns that makes even the most outrageous licensing deals from Oracle and MS look like blue-light specials.

          Not that mainframes weren't fun, or powerful, in their heyday. But there is a major reason the PC took off.

          But the best part of all of this is that I get to sit back, with a box of pop

      • Re:Survey? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jbolden (176878) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:41AM (#40164973) Homepage

        Sure this cycle has been repeated since the 1960s.

        1) There are real advantages to centralization for some applications
        2) There are real advantages to distributed for some applications
        3) There are substantial additional costs in being both distributed and centralized

        3 encourages people to move towards one extreme or the other. The conflict between 1 and 2 pushes the back towards the center.

      • "nobody seems to remember we have been down this road before"

        Yes. When I talk to a new class, I often find it useful to draw a spiral showing the development of IT - emphasizing "we have been here before":

        • "Big iron" with dumb terminals (pre-1980, centralized computing)
        • The first PCs (1980s, decentralized computing)
        • Thin clients (1990s, centralized computing)
        • Modern PCs (2000s, decentralized computing)
        • Cloud services (ca. 2010, centralized computing)
        • Mobile computing (coming fast, decentralized computing)

        Obviousl

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      The naivety into a fud survey disturbs me, not to mention the whole company dependence issue which could lead into a business trap backlash if one fails. Cloud computing isn't going to kill anything.

      Quite agree. How exactly will people access the cloud? They won't be having the cloud itself - they'll need laptops and tablets to access it. Like those things won't need support? Even if support was to come from the cloud, that's only valid when internet connectivity is fully functional (not always the case) or there is nothing physically wrong w/ the part. But for those 2 key cases, IT support will always be needed. Maybe less frequently, but no way will it go the way of the dodo.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      The first tip off is....

      "Tech industry experts are saying"

      These people are NOT Tech industry experts, they are posers and wannabe's that make crap up and then blog about it in hopes that under-educated CIO's will listen to them. See, for example, all the content in CIO magazine and how the existence of it makes any IT engineer cringe.

  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:33AM (#40164533)
    There's no article here. It's just a bunch of marketing crap.
    • Even the basic premise doesn't stand up to a cursory glance. In order to use cloud computing people are going to need computers, which are going to need er, support. Doesn't matter what they are being used for, its the same machines.

      • by _KiTA_ (241027)

        Even the basic premise doesn't stand up to a cursory glance. In order to use cloud computing people are going to need computers, which are going to need er, support. Doesn't matter what they are being used for, its the same machines.

        Yes, but if the support is lowered to "Swap out dumb terminals when they're broken and call Dell for hardware swaps" then you can do that with 1, 2 guys. If the OS and all the apps are hosted and served up remotely... ...Actually...

        This isn't anything new, is it? Dumb terminals have been around for decades and didn't end the desktop. Every few years they come up with a new term for it -- this time it's apparently "Cloud Computing" -- and the tech pundits, hoping for clicks, talk about how it's going to b

        • one or two guys working for a little above minimum wage. If there is no need to actually diagnose and repair anything, the training time is reduced to a one-day orientation course.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      In a way the article is right - but it ends up that we are turning back to the mainframe computer with terminals. The difference is that the terminals are a bit smarter today.

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:06AM (#40164653)
      Anyone in IT who thinks this is news is a teen or a manager who was never technical. Mainframes were the first attempt at "cloud computing". Then we had mini-computers for distributed processing. Then to micro-computers with centralized computing again (telnetting and terminal emulations, BBS, etc.). Then distributed again as PCs grew in power. Then centralized/cloud again when servers had a resurgence in the '90s (the birth of RDP, Citrix, VNC, etc.). Then that was abandoned as PCs became more powerful than the servers of 2 years before. And now we have the massive push for "cloud" again. Same shit, another decade.

      And it's *always* cheaper to in-source (provided you can find the appropriate resources). You can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone their cost, which could be your cost, plus 20% or more overhead and profit. So outsourcing costs you a minimum of 20% more than doing it in house. But all the consultants swear it's better to outsource - to their company. That's like hiring the Fox and Co security company to guard the hen house.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "And it's *always* cheaper to in-source (provided you can find the appropriate resources)."

        Not really some things have economies of scale and startup costs.

        But as long as you're not a small business, or you'll only ever what one, then it's probably cheaper to go in-house. If you are a government or large business it's nearly always cheaper to in-house, but then you can't play silly accounting games like you can for per month service charges.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:52AM (#40164799) Homepage

        And it's *always* cheaper to in-source (provided you can find the appropriate resources). You can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone their cost, which could be your cost, plus 20% or more overhead and profit. So outsourcing costs you a minimum of 20% more than doing it in house. But all the consultants swear it's better to outsource - to their company. That's like hiring the Fox and Co security company to guard the hen house.

        By that logic, you'd never need anything like suppliers, partners or subcontractors, it'd be cheaper to do everything yourself right down to making the PC all the way from mining silicates. Supporting your basic desktop is not something unique to your company and there's typically economics of scale. I doubt you need exactly twice the IT staff to double from 200 to 400 users. For an outsourcing company that might be increasing the desktops under management from 10,200 to 10,400 instead, they can do it for less because of economics of scale.

        Just to take one very obvious example of non-core activity at least here in Norway a lot of the big companies use one of the same two-three big cafeteria operators. Why? Bigger quantities of food both in purchasing and in preparation, better redundancy in kitchens and serving staff and all the overhead is spread across more customers. By far most companies would prefer to simply hire in a company that's specialized on doing exactly that if there's a reasonable number of suppliers they could switch between. When to take the total cost of doing it in house, it just isn't worth it to most companies.

        • by Viol8 (599362)

          "By that logic, you'd never need anything like suppliers, partners or subcontractors, it'd be cheaper to do everything yourself right down to making the PC all the way from mining silicates."

          If you ran your own silicate mine you wouldn't buy in silicates from elsewhere. His point is if you already have the staff and infrastructure and perhaps are even in the IT business its cheaper to do it yourself.

      • by Geeky (90998) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:54AM (#40164805)

        And it's *always* cheaper to in-source (provided you can find the appropriate resources). You can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone their cost, which could be your cost, plus 20% or more overhead and profit. So outsourcing costs you a minimum of 20% more than doing it in house. But all the consultants swear it's better to outsource - to their company. That's like hiring the Fox and Co security company to guard the hen house.

        Not always. Take email, look at the costs of using Google mail vs. running a complete, resilient mail system. Control over your data aside, for most small to medium businesses gmail will be a lot cheaper, not to mention more reliable and functional.

      • > And it's *always* cheaper to in-source (provided you can find the appropriate resources). You can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone their cost, which could be your cost, plus 20% or more overhead and profit. So outsourcing costs you a minimum of 20% more than doing it in house. But all the consultants swear it's better to outsource - to their company. That's like hiring the Fox and Co security company to guard the hen house.

        Simply untrue. I'm an academic writing and reading a lot about clou

      • And it's *always* cheaper to in-source [...] You can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone their cost, which could be your cost, plus 20% or more overhead and profit.

        I agree that in-sourcing can be cheaper as you do not have to pay for overhead and profit. Your argument relies on one premise, which is completely broken.

        Your cost to do something is almost never their cost. So if they can get to the same result with 50% or sometimes far less due to economies of scale adding another 20% is still much cheaper than paying for in-source. Even if you in-source you have to pay for the whole infrastructure. Your email server needs a backup, UPS and staff, whereas the cost of a

    • by sco08y (615665)

      There's no article here. It's just a bunch of marketing crap.

      What about that graph at the top? It's in 3D! With reflections and everything!

      And it clearly shows how all your devices can be connected to one of those screw and nail organizers you can buy at Home Depot.

  • by Manip (656104) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:35AM (#40164537)
    You always see this kind of language when disruptive change occurs (e.g. production lines Vs. hand built, car Vs. carriage, electricity Vs. coal, etc) but all that really happens is the jobs shift from one area to another, and that people need to adapt or die.

    Desktop Support MIGHT decline, but we will see growth in service level jobs at third parties. Instead of having in-house IT staff teach people how to use e-mail, you'll have someone across the country or globe do the same job.

    I guess one might argue that you can shift the jobs abroad, but as we've seen in the last few years such out-sourcing is not cost effective in the long term (or at least with skilled jobs it isn't).
  • Sounds like wishful thinking to me. I don't believe in the cloud, and I think many will follow when the first mayor cloud-outage or data breach has occurred. Also, staying connected to the cloud is a challenge itself, which will still require a lot of jobs. We recently had a three day down-time in our organisation, which effectively made them three lost days. Connection issues to the internet are a daily thing, but since we don't use the cloud that only delays my Slashdot posts...

    • by Bongo (13261)

      I agree although perhaps it isn't outages that'll put people off. Just musing this as I once again waited for the very unreliable bus this morning -- yet I still use public transport.

      I think the cloud needs to do something that can't be done any other way, and that's the reason people would use it, and even depend on it. Like syncing stuff because it is too much hassle trying to remember which docs I copied to which piece of hardware, or like setting my device at home to record a show using my mobile, or us

  • Survey-vertisement (Score:5, Informative)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:40AM (#40164557) Homepage Journal
    This survey is done by Gartner, and thats all you really need to know. Basically its a clever ad for Gartners consulting services "cleverly" disguised as a survey to try to give it some sort of credibility.

    This isnt the first time they have done this, this wont be the last. I remember back in 2003 they basically came out with a survey that stated something along the lines of "by 2010 around 50% of all US IT jobs will be offshored...oh and apropos of nothing, we just HAPPEN to have an offshore IT consulting service. What a coincidence! Contact us now for a no-fee consultation, and remember, 50% of all jobs, you dont want to be left behind, call today!"

    However their predictions werent even CLOSE to being true, I would be surprised if 10% of all IT jobs are now done offshore, still a large % to be sure, but nowhere near what Gartner was predicting. Of course, Gartner doesnt have a vested interest in being truthful, they have a vested interest in creating alarmist headlines to try to drum up business for their shitty consulting arm.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:43AM (#40164573)

      Well, they were not lying. They were just off by a few years. 50% of IT jobs were going offshore by 2006. By 2010, they were all back again...

    • by fwarren (579763)

      These are the same people that predicted the massive rise to hundreds of millions of Netbooks after the first Netbooks hit the market. From 2009 we can see that their 2012 predictions are off. They did not see Microsoft killing the Netbook market. They also failed to note at the time the rise of the iPAD.

      It is almost to the point that if Gartner predicts something I can be sure that is the ONE thing that won't happen.

  • Good riddance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coder111 (912060) <[coder] [at] [rrmail.com]> on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:44AM (#40164575)
    I don't really like "cloud" as a solution for this, but I think desktop support is a waste of resources. Be it thin clients, remote administration, Linux on desktop or whatever, but anything that cuts down desktop support is a good thing in my book.

    And if you are worried about lost jobs, well, breaking windows is also a job, but it does no good. These people would be more beneficial to society doing something else.

    --Coder
    • Desktop support isn't just about the hardware and OS. It is also about "how do I do X" and "I can't access the Internet". Both of which require hands on help, if not always, certainly often. Plus as others have said, it is a poorly disguised marketing effort by Gartner, so ignore it .. SITREP normal for now.
      • by dkf (304284)

        [Desktop support] is also about "how do I do X" and "I can't access the Internet". Both of which require hands on help, if not always, certainly often.

        Accessing support on the cloud when the 'net is down is... challenging. (True story: we had a taste of that yesterday due to a bad BGP route pushed by an upstream provider. Irritating as blazes — Slashdot was one of the sites I had trouble reaching — but fascinating to watch and see which of our core services had been outsourced.)

  • Seriously (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Who validates such bullcrap to be published on slashdot ?
    There is not even a single argument or anything, just FUD and buzzword.

    • by thomst (1640045)

      And Anonymous Coward asked:

      Who validates such bullcrap to be published on slashdot ? There is not even a single argument or anything, just FUD and buzzword.

      In this case? Samzenpus.

  • by brokeninside (34168) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:50AM (#40164595)

    I worked in desktop support for a number of different companies. (I've also done software testing, and programming.) Currently, I do end user support for a vertical software package.

    Anyway, in ten years across four different firms supporting everything from commodity hardware to custom software, one thing has remained constant. Most support calls aren't for the sort of configuration and installation issues that the cloud solves. Rather, most support calls are for users that are unable (or unwilling) to read the manual or to show the user how to do things that are either too basic or too complicated to have been included in the manual.

    Moving to the cloud isn't going to magically make a user understand the difference between a short cut and a file. Nor is it going to explain to them what those numbers in that report that hits that one table in the database means.

    • Hmm. I've noticed a perverse kind of...obsession among management types to 'get rid of IT.' I don't know if it's inter-company politics, or pure jealousy, but the talk / attempts lately seem more...intense. There is no real reasoning behind their desire to remove IT, just a feeling.

      And I say obsession, because that's what it is. You can have 30+ incidents or attempts by one group or another to outsource IT, have wasted hideous amounts of resources doing so, and have everyone know that it's a mistake to even

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:55AM (#40164609)

    If you know anything, you know that's nonsense. For one thing, most companies require services not offered by the cloud. Beyond that, never under estimate the user's ability to not be able to find the O.N. button or otherwise screw up a foolproof system.

    The IT situation is going to change. It always does. But abstracting it all to the cloud isn't possible unless you have a custom database designed for the amazon cloud or something and even then you've got the whole IT department that manages that.

    Beyond that you have local files. Telling businesses that they can't get access to anything if the internet drops isn't going to work.

    There are just so many serious fatal problems with this idea.

    This funny little video touches on a few:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4EbCkotKPU [youtube.com]

    Yes yes... evil M$... insert hiss and boo... but we're talking about end user business software. Have fun clawing Excel out of their cold dead hands.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's obvious that you don't really know either what is meant by "the cloud" or much about it... The cloud is a term which I don't really like much as it lets a lot of IT Managers abstract things that they know nothing about and then sound like they are experts, however the concepts behind the term work well.

      Take your obsession of hanging on to desktops for local files and some strange notion that you need to "custom" design something for the cloud.

      Even here in local government we are working now toward intr

      • The cloud isn't terminal services. That's a totally different concept.

        You say you don't like the term but you're not apparently aware what it means.

        Remoting into a virtual machine is not the same thing as the cloud. The cloud amongst other things is almost always a web service. Google documents would be an example.

        Windows terminal services is not the same thing.

        And terminal services doesn't get rid of your IT department. They're just not as worried about individual systems and stick to the server room more.

  • by RonVNX (55322) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:25AM (#40164705)

    "Desktop support" isn't really about desktops. DUH. It's about users, who won't be going anywhere, and will continue to need to have their hands held for even the most trivial of things.

    Maybe "the cloud" will make Gartner go away. The Cloud can do anything right?

  • Seriously. Hasn't everyone already been 'empowered' to fix everything on their own? Help desks haven't been anything more that ticket cutting password resetters for years and years. Oh you have a problem? Yeah let me kick that up to level 2 and maybe they'll get back to you in a week or two.

  • Unlikely... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@NoSPaM.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:47AM (#40164777) Homepage

    Even as more apps are becoming web based, in the short to medium term users will still be accessing them using the same desktops they always have and will still need support for them.

    Perhaps long term, users can move to simpler dumb terminals that have less to go wrong and thus require less support. But that's less, not none... Things can still go wrong, one of the primary functions of desktop support is unjamming printers and replacing toner which despite promises of the paperless office won't be going away any time soon.

    There will also be a need to debug network level issues, as a dumb terminal is useless without its network...

    So sure, desktop support will be reduced but not "wiped out"...

  • The other half.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scsirob (246572) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:50AM (#40164793)

    Perhaps the article is right that more than half of IT is going into a cloud. That means that almost half will still be in-house, and it is usually that half which requires the IT support staff. It is local, customized applications that need attention. Sure, a word processor can be ran anywhere. But your CRM system will not be so easy to move into the cloud, Regardless of what cloud vendors are trying to tell you.

    The IT staff is here to stay.

  • by randomsearch (1207102) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:15AM (#40164877) Journal

    There's an awful lot of scepticism on slashdot about the cloud, which is healthy in a way, but I think in general people are hugely underestimating the impact that cloud computing is going to have on IT deployment. It is going to affect us all; software as a service holds huge challenges for the free software movement, some skillsets such as traditional IT support are not going to be as useful, and the way we write software is going to change further.

    I'm no cloud zealot, I've just been reading about it a lot and talking to Cloud providers (some large, some medium-sized) and academic experts. I've tried to answer the many points that have been brought up here:

    -- "We've been down this road before."

    We have, but things *are* different now. Firstly, we have sophisticated and mature virtualisation technologies that allow efficient coresidency and management of VMs. Costs per CPU hour have dropped. Internet access is incredibly pervasive. The "post-PC" era of tablets and smart phones are producing a huge demand for cloud-based storage and services. Does this mean cloud will automatically be successful? No. Does it mean that comparisons with previous era's are not necessarily correct? Yes. If you want another example, tablets didn't 'work' in the past... but now they do.

    -- Moving to the cloud won't change anything.

    Yes, and no. We will still need IT to manage the cloud services, and engineer bespoke cloud products. Users will still require support. But you're no longer talking about rolling out O/S updates across your company, or installing the latest version of Word. No more capital investment in some server hardware, no more long-term planning of purchases of those servers. If a thin client is broken, you just replace it, and maintaining those thin clients is a hell of a lot easier if they're dumb.

    -- Bespoke solution X won't work on the cloud.

    No, it won't. But your Exchange server certainly can be moved to the cloud quite easily. In fact, many companies start their move to the cloud with Exchange, and then migrate to live apps... the point is, that you don't have to move *everything* to the cloud in order to make savings and find other benefits.

    My advice is, go learn about cloud computing, start looking at the architectures that cloud applications use. Read up on Amazon Web Services and try it out. Take a look at Google App Engine. Read a few books looking at the business case for the cloud before you dismiss it.

    RS

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Well thought out comments. I think the big savings that people forget is real estate savings. I suspect cloud will drive IT cost up substantially and unless this is paired with mobile / home / outsourcing it will die.

      "We've been down this road before."

      You address a bunch of technical problems that mostly didn't stop centralization in earlier generations by analogy. There are two main factors that drive the move towards distribution is the demand for customization and performance/cost. The more central

    • "I'm no cloud zealot"

      You actually kind of are. Why do NONE of the "cloud" providers ensure that there is no way they can look at your data? Oh sure, they will say the servers are tightly controlled and heavily monitored and there is no way an employee could get at your data, etc etc yadda yada yadda, but none offer to have your data encrypted BEFORE they have control of it. D'oh! Automatic fail.

    • Try it some time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @01:13PM (#40169093)

      We just moved from "the cloud" exchange to local hosted exchange. This wasn't done on account of "we just felt like it" in fact central IT was very much against the idea. It was done on account of the epic amount of problems we were having. It didn't save on support, it took more support. We had to pay them for support AND have all kinds of on campus support for all the end user problems. Support slowed to a crawl trying to get shit fixed with all the finger pointing.

      "The cloud" really just means "outsourcing" and as ever with that, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and it often depends on your size. If you are a 5 man small business, well than ya you have to outsource exchange, too expensive to have it internally. If you have 10,000 people, then it probably doesn't make sense.

  • If they include things like the use of Citrix XenApps then I can see a sharp decline...local cloud based application publishing will reduce desktop support to almost nothing... especially if those companies are able to move completely to thin clients.

  • by jht (5006) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:27AM (#40164921) Homepage Journal

    A lot of today's internal server support jobs will go away. But there will still be network infrastructure to support (somebody has to manage the switches, firewalls, and access points), there's still going to be desktop support (PEBKAC errors, hardware, and malware), and there will likely be at least some local resources that need to be managed. We won't have a lot of people managing Exchange servers or Active Directory anymore. Or actually we still will - they'll just be working for the cloud providers instead of the client company.

    Besides that, this will open up opportunities for outsource support firms (disclaimer: I own a small one). Companies will still need specialized support resources on occasion, just likely not enough to employ a lot of them as staff. They will get that expertise as-needed to supplement what they have in-house.

  • by UncHellMatt (790153) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @07:28AM (#40164925)
    Bless my users and their black little hearts, desktop support is highly unlikely to ever vanish. Certainly change, certainly remote desktop support (ie gotoassist) will increase, however there will still (likely) be situations where an actual person is going to be needed to go directly to a person and help.

    With the increase in mobile computing and potential to see the desktop PC effectively vanish in 20 years (or less!), you will still have people who not only shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a means of communication more complex than smoke signals, and you will still need someone at the ready with a fire extinguisher. The current generation of tech savvy middle school age children will, of course, be part of that next generation of mobile users. However, problems happen. Mobile users will, most likely, still have an office which needs to be set up, which needs to have a person come and assist in problems. They will still need face to face time to help sort out issues, train in the use of a device, and possibly troubleshoot. I have many users who experience abject terror at the prospect of setting up even the most simple minded of USB printers, activating a phone, or even plugging in speakers! Odds are such phobia won't just up and vanish.

    There is also a more human element that many people desire when dealing with technical issues. Perhaps we'll see more situations like Apple's genius bar, or *shudder* Geek Squad, taking shape in the business of support. But who knows? At this point, pundits shouldn't attempt to speculate about the IT industry in 2 years, let alone 8 or 20.
  • by Covalent (1001277) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @08:00AM (#40165075)
    And so long as a computer power supply can fail, a monitor can go bad, or a cable can become disconnected, you will need on-site support.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

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