When vendors talk about cloud computing services today, they do their level best to try to create as much differentiation as possible. That usually results in talking about infrastructure delivered as service, platforms as a service, and applications as a service. The difference between all these services basically comes down to whether the customer needs hardware, hardware with operating system and middleware, or a discrete application delivered as a service.
But from the perspective of the customer, these cloud computing distinctions are niceties that will probably be quickly dispensed with. We're already seeing IT services companies that used to, for example, pretty much specialize in applications moving quickly to embrace infrastructure services as well.
According to Paul Spence, head of Capgemini's board for North America, an IT services company with a strong history in delivering applications, the major priority for Capgemini in the coming year is to bolster its IT infrastructure skills because in the age of cloud computing, the infrastructure and the applications that run on them are increasingly joined at the IT hip.
What Spence is really driving at is that you can't really make an application decision without considering the impact that application is going to have on shared infrastructure running in either a public or private cloud computing service. The days when application and infrastructure could be managed in isolation from each other are quickly coming to a close.
Spence says this trend will ultimately lead to a more balanced approach to IT that will first yield savings primarily in the areas of energy consumption and real estate, followed by an increase in the number of systems and devices that can be managed per IT employee as more integrated sets of application and infrastructure processed become more automated.
This convergence, said Spence, will like most things take longer to get started than most people think, but once it occurs the depth to which it will change enterprise computing will be much more profound than people realize.