There has been more discussion lately on DevOps and how they able to demand higher wages and that it should be a position that traditional System, Storage and Network Admins should be striving for long term. I have a slightly different opinion. I think the number of individuals that actually fit in the DevOps category to be very small and this is by the definition itself. It is very difficult to achieve the mastery involved in being both proficient at System/Storage/Network plus extensively development experience in several languages. I'm not talking scripting (though those that are good at scripting can do some impressive stuff) but those that can actually open up the source code for an application and fix it or tweak it to fit their needs.
My thoughts and questions around this topic are do traditional System, Storage and Network Admins have anything to fear over this new category of Operations? My initial thoughts are no, the roles that DevOps are filling in my experience have been on more complex environments with unique need requirements. They are typically part of very small teams tasked with getting large automation or deployment done. They want very technical people supporting the operations of the environment who can work and debug any part of the stack.
So what impact is this having in the industry? I do think that System, Storage and Network Administrators are now having to learn a lot more about each others jobs. With virtualization such a huge part in the landscape of data centers the lines are blurred. One thing has become abundantly clear to me, automation and scripting are incredibly important for admins to have as a skill. In order to take advantage of all the tools for cloud services (public, private or hybrid) all of them require understanding and using effectively automation and scripting. So my personal short list is learning PowerShell, System Center (several of the products), Hyper-V and if time allows, Orchestrator. Did I mention I spend my time focused on networking? Those tools, along with their counter parts in VMware are increasingly becoming important to understand to deploy data center network architectures appropriately. Additionally, Puppet, Chef or cfengine would be good skills sets to add to my tool belt soon. If only I had more time! What is on your short list to learn and why?