The Changing Face of IT Infrastructure

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

The Impact of Cloud Computing

The primary driver for cloud computing adoption is shifting from costs to agility.

The cloud is rightly described as another abstraction on top of an already abstracted, virtualized data environment.

And yet those abstractions are resulting in significant consequences to the real IT world that are only beginning to be understood.

At a basic level, the cloud is poised to effect major changes on the way physical infrastructure is developed and deployed. IDC predicts that server shipments destined for public, private and hybrid cloud operations will climb at a 20-plus percent annual pace until at least 2015. For public services, that will put more than 1.2 million cloud servers in operation, valued at approximately $3.6 billion. Private shipments will be smaller in volume but higher in value, topping out at about $5.8 billion.

With that much at stake, it's no wonder top server and processor designers are already shifting their development roadmaps to the cloud. At the Structure 2011 conference in San Francisco last week, top executives from SeaMicro, Tilera and others talked up everything from ARMs to many-core Atom architectures as the driving forces going forward. When you have top-tier enterprises like Google and Facebook designing their own custom hardware to tap into the cloud, it's time to either make a change or close up shop.

These changes will also have an effect farther down the supply chain. As Delphi's Cary Audin pointed out last week on No Jitter, any VAR or system integrator not paying attention to the cloud is likely to get bowled over very soon. Put simply, enterprise contracts are likely to diminish while service providers stand to gain. This is particularly true for the lucrative SMB market, which is very likely to hand over both hardware and service responsibilities to the cloud. At best, enterprise-focused VARs will subsist on workstation and LAN/WAN access, supplemented by monitoring or other services, while those targeting the new service providers will thrive.

Still, it would be a mistake to view all this change as a net negative. In fact, the exact opposite is true given that times of uncertainty also yield the greatest opportunities. As we've seen all too often in the recent past, sometimes the hurricane knocks down the biggest trees, but that only allows the saplings to thrive.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 4, 2011 3:39 PM Kevin Kevin  says:

A very real impact is the shift of IT personnel needed in the enterprise and instead shifting.  If everything is cloud based, that pushes support for those hosted items to the hosting company reducing the need of IT people in the enterprise.  Also since a lot of this cloud stuff is built on Linux, if you're beginning your IT career and have no knowledge of Linux, you need to get some asap.  Pretty much in the future in-company IT people will be a job of the past, we'll be working for SaaS vendors, working in colo's monitoring and deploying servers and working in Internet companies.  Probably the only readily available job for IT people will be the entry level one of Help Desk Technician.

Jul 4, 2011 5:38 PM estebe estebe  says:

2011 NOT 2001

Jul 5, 2011 3:33 PM L Spooner L Spooner  says: in response to Jim


Your post is the definition of irony.

Jul 5, 2011 5:25 PM Jim Jim  says:

Author of this article -- You don't even prove read it.

Kevin -- Your point is well taken but your writing sucks.

Jul 5, 2011 5:51 PM donger donger  says: in response to L Spooner

small organizations have no need, it isnt cheaper or safer, only storage space is cheaper.

the company LAN in many cases is already a hybrid of LAN and WAN resources. The WAN resources ca be hacked all day and night, no one will find out soon enough, only when its too late, and then - your clients or customers cannot reach that resource either.

because we all know the service provider isnt that good, even IBM. Unless you are a top client you will just be another folder on some hosted platform, and it will suck for your folder and every folder when that platform is mugged, broken into , or infected - and infected discretely.

in many cases online providers have very complex TOS and without a legal counseling no one can be 100% sure the info/IP/content they place online is still 100% owned by them and that no derivatives can be created from that. look it up and start reading. it is not clear at all in every situation.

...the moment the cloud isnt available, then what? the moment i cant reach it i have to see if my clients/customers can, and if not then i need to call support, who will be busy drowning in it, seeing how all this talk is assuming everything will be there...

if it all goes down and my cloud provider is down, and my LAN is there too, then i may as well go home, not get paid, and blame 'Linux guys' all day and night until its back up.

then its back up ! and who do i call to get a pro rated time refund, who do i sue because they clipped off the biggest deal i was involved in to date, who can i get on the line to tell me how it wont happen again? well sorry but you cannot sue, and if its our fault, the cloud provider, well you can bet its not really our fault as stated in our complex TOS, what, are we stupid? we're NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING.

and if its all on the cloud and my internet goes down now what?

essentially, if its on the LAN and WAN, and the WAN goes down or is mugged or is broken, its still on the LAN and so far so good we have decent control of the LAN. It takes a few layers of hardware, but we do.

granted much of corporate B2B, B2C is on the WAN so if in fact it goes down i cant do business, but at least the info and history and all strategic data is on the LAN and was updated as early as (an hour ago) lets say and yknow what? no one needs to go home to be unpaid, we can all work on the LAN and some of us will be scrambling to fix or find out what happened to the WAN.

oh and smarty pants, the second, the minute, the instant that the WAN breaks and does this to me you know, you just know in your heart of hearts, that we will be re-hiring, bringin back on board, requesting, and demanding -  LAN people -  to re-institute the LAN

and they wont all be 'Linux guys'

thank you and good night


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