How to Become a Cloud Computing Rockstar

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It’s now the end of my first full week back at work since I attended the 2010 Cloud Expo and RightScale User Conference, and I’m still feeling the motivation and enthusiasm I picked up there.

You see, a few weeks before the conference, RightScale announced a contest for the best ServerTemplate published to their public library. Three winners would be announced at the RightScale User Conference and be thanked for their contribution with a shiny new iPad. I couldn’t resist submitting my own work for a chance to win.

If you follow me on Twitter you already saw this. [twitter_status_by_id id=“29593902654”]

Yup, I won a shiny new iPad for my OpenLDAP ServerTemplate in the “Most Useful” category of the competition. What’s more my blog post about the ServerTemplate showdown made it into the opening slides for the day!

That pretty well set the tone, and I felt like a Rockstar for the rest of the day. All of the RightScale staff knew my name, and many of the other attendees chatted with me about how we’re using the Amazon and Rightscale, and how I built my ServerTemplate.

Groupies lined up to get my autograph and get their picture taken with me, and I had a few room keys slipped into my pockets.

Okay, maybe that last part was an exaggeration but I definitely felt like “somebody” that day.

On top of that, this has created a nice little buzz within my department and the company at large and it’s motivating them to take a more serious look at how we can leverage cloud computing for our IT needs.

And if all of that wasn’t enough I’ve also been accepted as a RightScale ambassador which gives me early access to betas and the attention of the product development folks to share our needs and use cases.

But I have a juicy confession

My dirty little secret

All of this happened not because I am particularly charismatic, or because I extended some special effort to produce something amazing then market the crap out of it in social media. No, this all happened because I was just doing my job.

The OpenLDAP ServerTemplate was one I’d already created to meet the needs of our application development, and the possibility of winning an iPad (and a little notoriety) was all the motivation I needed to polish it a bit and share it with the community.

This all serves to strengthen a point which I picked up on at Cloudexpo and I think it will become a serious marketing trend for cloud computing. Making IT the “Hero”.

[twitter_status_by_id id=“29589020775”]

In a lot of organizations, the IT folks are viewed as little more than an obstacle to getting things done, like the roadie who spends more time smoking behind the van than he does setting up the stage.

The experience of acquiring IT resources usually goes like this.

Request resources by following an often rigorous process…

Wait an extraordinarily long time to get the resources, usually so long that your project suffers…

Once you get the resources you need you’re bound by what seems like an endless list of apparently burdensome and unreasonable restrictions in the name of “security”…

Not an attractive scenario for the IT “customers” but it’s just as bad for the IT team. You see it’s not that the poor IT team does not want to move quickly, and provide the resources, but they also want to must sure that the users are protected and that they will be able to weather a security and compliance audit.

Sign your own record deal

Using the cloud computing paradigms though, IT can have a whole portfolio of ready to run servers and IT infrastructure. All of those images and templates are already pre-configured with all of the companies regulatory requirements, security best practices, and ready to interface with the rest of the IT infrastructure.

All the user has to do is log in and configure the environment they need for their particular business purpose all of the automation magic makes the resources available almost instantly!

That is really the beauty of cloud computing (if you’re doing it right). You can improve IT efficiency and agility, while maintaining or even improving your system of checks and balances, and you can make your users happy to use the system you’ve put in place. Now everyone wins!

Of course the very best news for IT guys is, you can sit back and enjoy the perks of rockstar status just by doing your job. In fact, by leveraging the promise of agility that cloud computing offers, you’re job will actually become much easier, and you still get to party like a rockstar.