Although costs and IT asset reduction are important benefits, the most important driver behind the move to the cloud is convenience. The ability to spin up new services on a whim, without waiting to procure and configure gear is a major win for the business leader who is trying to react to all of the opportunities to leverage computing to run a business.
Information technology is no different than any other manual, laborious task that has been automated and then packaged for general consumption. Heck, you could say that about all aspects of our society. We have constantly made shifts in consumption, based on conveniences offered to us by smart marketers who have automated something we used to do ourselves. We buy beer at the store but back in the 19th century, if you wanted a brew after a hard day's work, you'd have to make it yourself.
Gartner is predicting this shift will take place in a short enough time frame that cloud computing will allow companies to dump their traditional IT assets (people and systems) and instead, purchase them as needed:
"If the ownership of hardware shifts to third parties, then there will be major shifts throughout every facet of the IT hardware industry. For example, enterprise IT budgets will either be shrunk or reallocated to more-strategic projects; enterprise IT staff will either be reduced or reskilled to meet new requirements, and/or hardware distribution will have to change radically to meet the requirements of the new IT hardware buying points"
Gartner estimates the growth of data is also increasing at a sobering 60% in the same time frame. With all that demand, it is easy to see businesses wanting to make it easier to buy and spin up systems, rather than growing IT teams and systems in house.
We may soon look back and be surprised about companies having specialized staff to manage computing infrastructure. Marketing the cloud will bring computing power to businesses as units of consumption that are readily available, 24 hours a day.
Virtualization has already benefited from the need for convenience in the enterprise. It allows an admin to spin up a new host environment with the flick of the wrist, responding to business needs in record time, and giving the system admin a chance to go home on the weekend and enjoy the better things in life.
Will convenience drive your business to cloud computing? And will it taste great?
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