Published/updated: October 2010
By Dale Vile and Tony Lock
The term ‘cloud computing’ is one of the most widely used in the IT industry today. To some, it means revolution and a fundamental shift in the way IT services are delivered to both businesses and consumers. To others, it’s just about marketeers dressing up old ideas in new clothes in an attempt to encourage another round of spending on technology and services.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. While there is no denying that a bandwagon is rolling, and many suppliers and pundits are jumping on it whether they are justified in doing so or not, some very interesting developments are coming together that are extremely significant. Whether these ideas are totally transforming the world of IT is debatable; perhaps a more accurate description would be to say that a range of significant developments are taking place that together will enable a step change in the ongoing evolution of IT service delivery.
Within this paper, we will be reviewing some of these developments, and with a view to the more practical concept of evolution rather than revolution, will be looking at how things can be worked into mainstream IT activities in an incremental manner. Our aim is not to ‘sell cloud’, but to simply provide guidance on what it translates to in terms of tangible and actionable specifics.
As we get into the discussion, you may pick up ideas on where some of the capability often referred to under the cloud computing umbrella might be used to deal with immediate needs. Given that cloud computing, as we shall see, is as much an approach as it is a range of technologies and services, you may even discover that you are already ‘doing it’ at one level or another.
Beyond immediate needs and tactical starting points, however, we will be looking at how cloud computing concepts, services and technologies are likely to impact the way IT departments are organised and operate over the medium to long term. Whether we are talking one year, three years or five years until significant impact occurs, depends partly on your circumstances, and partly on how quickly the market and IT professional community moves forward in terms of solutions, skills and experience. Whatever view is taken on this, indications are that things are already moving forward in an irreversible manner in the cloud computing domain, so it’s probably best for IT professionals to be prepared wherever they are starting from.
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