Skip to main content

Cloud Services Shift Roles for System Administrators



Cloud computing has shifted many tasks away from system administrators who were previously responsible for managing servers which were located on premises or in dedicated data centers.  Many system management tasks such as all hardware upgrades, repairs and replacements and networking issues are now handled by cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft,  Google and others).  In most cases, security and other patches to the operating system are performed by cloud providers as well. Cloud providers have been successful in meeting their service level agreements, and set the standard for managing data centers at a large scale with the latest hardware, facilities, and best practices.

Cloud databases do not require the same database administration (DBA) activities, at least for some lower level tasks, but there are still requirements for DBAs to monitor and correct performance and improve data quality. It can be challenging to determine the cause of a database performance issue because the responsibility for the system is spread across several people (and perhaps different companies).

Other system administration tasks remain the responsibility of the customer, such as creating and removing users and assigning permissions.

Cloud computing has changed the way that organizations handle system administration. Because cloud services need fewer administrators, some organizations have eliminated positions or moved system administrators to new roles.  A hybrid cloud environment may result in division of labor among on premises and cloud system administrators.  Specialized skills can also mean that different people manage different cloud services, increasing the number of system administrators.

Troubleshooting may involve multiple system administrators from the customer and cloud providers.  this can waste time and lengthen interruptions of service, especially if incorrect diagnoses ascribe the problem to the wrong admin.

Because Microsoft Dynamics is integrated with Office 365, my clients must ensure close cooperation among system administrators for Dynamics 365 and Office 365.  Usually a department "owns" a Dynamics solution, while the enterprise information technology department "owns" the network and email.  Therefore, the Office 365 admin creates user accounts but the Dynamics 365 admin assigns rights within Dynamics 365 solutions.

I wrote another blog post explaining how Microsoft divides the roles for various admins, but a similar division of labor is applicable for other cloud providers, and even more complex for hybrid deployments with multiple providers.

The best time to find out how your admin coordination is working is before you have a crisis.  It is helpful to create a process for communicating cloud outages to all the admins and have a mechanism for routing support cases to all the admins whose help will be needed to resolve a problem. Otherwise, cases will slip through the cracks or be assigned to people who do not have sufficient rights to resolve them.

Popular posts from this blog

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This post introduces some of the key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation. While Dynamics 365 is available on premises, it is most commonly deployed on the Microsoft cloud.  This blog post discusses only cloud implementations. Microsoft has multiple clouds such as commercial and government community clouds. We start with a Microsoft tenant .  A tenant is the account you create in the Microsoft Online Services environment (such as Office 365) when you sign up for a subscription. A tenant contains uniquely identified domains, users, security groups, and subscriptions.  Your tenant has a domain name of .onmicrosoft.com such as acme.onmicrosoft.com.  User accounts belong to a tenant, and subscriptions are assigned to user accoun

Understanding Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Admin Roles

Managing Dynamics 365 instances If you run Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) in the Microsoft cloud, you need to understand how your Dynamics instances relate to Office 365 and choose which of your administrators receives which roles and permissions to manage Dynamics 365. In on premises deployments, your network administrator would create and delete user accounts.  The Dynamics 365 admin would then assign permissions to users in Dynamics 365. This post explains three administrator roles: Office 365 Global Administrator Dynamics 365 System Administrator Dynamics 365 Service Administrator You may think that the Dynamics 365 system administrator would have power to do all the actions needed to manage Dynamics 365, but this is not the case. What's different in Microsoft cloud deployments is that licenses and user accounts are managed in Office 365 by an Office 365 Global Administrator.  This role is analogous to a network administrator for an on premises

Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps

Source:  https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/ by James Townsend Microsoft has offered a number of forms automation products over the years, and the most long running was InfoPath which was released as part of Office 2003.  InfoPath is a powerful and flexible product that stores user data in XML while offering form features such as rules, data validation, scripting, and integration with SharePoint.  The popularity of SharePoint resulted in many organizations standardizing on InfoPath for forms, especially internal forms which are hosted on an intranet such as employee reviews, leave and payment requests, and human resources forms. Microsoft has discontinued InfoPath, with mainstream support ending July 13th, 2021, and extended support ending July 14th, 2026. Microsoft has named Power Apps as the successor to InfoPath .  Power Apps has much in common with InfoPath.  Both products include integration with SharePoint.  Both are geared toward the citizen developer and do