As we all know, the traditional way of building an IT environment is to buy servers, hardware, licenses and to install the software. This is a long and costly process, involving many infrastructure demands and long deployment cycles. This fully IT internal model may be commonplace, but IT as we know it today is being replaced by newer technologies.
Lately, cloud computing is causing a major shift in the IT industry. New technologies have been developed, and now there are various ways to virtualize IT systems and to access the needed applications on the Internet, through web based applications. This means no IT costs for hardware or servers.
This utility based and service oriented IT model is no longer a plain hardware or software market. Currently, vendors can offer email apps, production systems, security options, storage and backup services, to name just a few of the IT components that can be moved to the cloud.
But how do software developers and IT decision makers adjust themselves to this trend? How is the traditional IT industry affected by these newer available technologies?
- Traditional IT jobs are being changed, as new skills and specialties are increasingly demanded. Before moving to the cloud, the IT staff will need to fully understand the advantages of cloud computing and how it can be integrated into the current business model. Issues such as security and maintenance should be discussed upfront with the cloud computing vendors, and also a good IT department will have to oversee the migration and the ongoing relationship with the cloud provider.
- The IT Infrastructure will be crucially changed, as more applications are being moved to private or public clouds. Software developers will have to adjust the ways they create and deliver applications.
- The need for IT support staff is reduced, thus diminishing the cost with desktop support. However, a new need is created, which is training the employees to work with and understand the new systems and applications.
- The effort to maintain the data is also diminished. However, moving the data to the cloud equates losing its physical control, as it is stored in the vendor’s data center. Although clients might not be comfortable with this fact, they should understand that data in the cloud can be safer than being in-house. This brings us to our next point.
- Security: Enterprise cloud providers that offer a managed cloud solution have security experts on staff managing the applications, with security options included. A best-practice method is to store the data in more facilities to make sure it is safe. I believe this is better than do-it-yourself.
- Highly customizable software: Most of the software that companies use is not “cloud-ready”. This is where the software developers intervene, by creating code especially designed for the cloud. Also, cloud providers should make their best in making this transition easy. However, once the applications are SaaS, the need for the IT department troubleshooting decreases.
I have always said that cloud computing is about shifting the interest from physical resources (IT resources and capital expenses) to efficiency and utility. In the end, cloud computing allows companies to focus on doing what they know best, and not on spending a lot of money and time on IT processes. I believe that the companies which fail to adjust to this trend are going to face serious economic and business disadvantages.
Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1159615.