Is the Cloud a Career Killer?
I read Michele Crockett’s "Securing Your Position in the Cloud" (February 2011, InstantDoc ID 129267). I make my living administering a small company, and I see cloud computing as a potential career killer. So, I was excited to see an article that would address my concerns. After reading it, I feel no better.
Basically, Michele says to research how it works, ask a service provider a few questions, and hold hands for a while until all the services are transferred to the cloud. But here's my story: Last month, a large client of mine approved a huge IT budget to move to an offsite Hyper-V solution. I acted as a trusted source, did some research, answered a few questions, and now—bang!—I'm out of the loop. The guys who took over even have a local tech taking care of all the “cloud appliances” required to connect to the new service. Other than menial jobs around the shop, there will be nothing much for me to do.
What I see working in my community are IT shops buying expensive iSCSI and software-as-a-service NAS boxes, getting into a data center somehow, and moving the service to their hardware—just paying the bills, by the looks of it.
I think cloud computing works wonders for big firms with terminal servers all over the place and locations everywhere. But for the little guy, I'm not so sure. I also think once the price of high-speed NAS comes down, there will be a place for me to move my existing clients’ physical servers to virtual servers in their own shops. And that will happen as virtual computing becomes more robust than physical servers.
Publishing Updates Without Certificates
Russell Smith’s article, "Publishing Third-Party Updates to WSUS” (February 2011, InstantDoc ID 129241) discusses using the open-source Local Update Publisher to publish third-party updates to WSUS—a capability I've been wanting for a long time. Thank you for this article! Maybe this capability has been around for a while, but I didn't know about it. Either way, Windows IT Pro has given me nuggets of gold like this quite often.
In an environment without a PKI server, can this be done without certificates? Creating the self-signed certificate as you describe is no problem. Getting it onto the clients is. Any advice? Can this be done without certificates? (I'm trying that now.)
I’m glad that you find the material in Windows IT Pro useful. To answer your question, there’s no supported way to do this without certificates. But self-signed certificates, or certificates purchased from a third-party CA, can be distributed to clients using Group Policy or the Certutil/Certmgr command-line tools.
Although I agree with Jeff James’ assessment of cloud computing (“Why IT Is Moving to the Cloud,” February 2011, InstantDoc ID 129285), I think there should be some cautions regarding many companies who have simply rebranded themselves to join the revolution. These companies do a lot to hurt the concept of cloud computing while trying to ride the "wave" for free. Those who are serious about cloud computing waste a lot of time and money verifying who they're really dealing with and what their actual capabilities are.