This post was written by Jeff James, industry news analyst for Windows IT Pro Magazine. Content was first published in Windows IT Pro Magazine January 2011.
If you're an IT manager or senior IT executive in the evaluation phase for turning over some of your infrastructure to the cloud, you’re not alone. Cloud adoption can vary by industry and organization, but cloud computing is rapidly making inroads into most organizations. According to a recent survey of 600 senior IT and business executives by Savvis, 70 percent of IT decision makers are using or plan to use cloud computing in their own enterprises within 24 months.
While concerns about security, identity, SLAs, and other topics are still on the minds of many IT pros, those concerns are gradually being addressed by cloud providers. While cloud computing may not be a complete solution for every enterprise—nobody is talking about ditching internal data centers yet, and probably never will—a number of pressing factors are driving the growth of cloud computing. I’ll cover some of the biggest drivers towards cloud computing adoption here.
Improved IT Agility
As recently as a few years ago, it took far too long for many IT departments to respond to increasing demand for computing capacity. Too much paperwork, too many approvals, and a reliance on hard-to-deploy physical servers meant that IT was often slow to respond to variable organizational needs. Virtualization helped that situation immensely, and the arrival of cloud computing gives IT organizations even more of an ability to easily (and cost-effectively) expand and reduce computing resources to meet fluctuating demands.
Cost Savings and ROI
Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud
The concept of the private cloud has gathered steam over the past 12 months. Public cloud computing services generally rely on having your data on someone else’s infrastructure. That can be a non-starter for many IT administrators, especially if your organization operates under tricky auditing, compliance, or data location requirements. That’s where the private cloud steps in: Leveraging virtualization and commodity hardware, the private cloud can provide some of the elastic benefits of public cloud computing without some of the inherent risks that public cloud computing still needs to address.
Cloud-Savvy IT Staff
A new breed of IT professionals is stepping into leadership positions in many organizations. Some fear that cloud computing could mean the end of their careers, but savvy IT pros realize that someone in the organization has to take the lead in selecting what IT platforms and services are moved to the cloud while simultaneously educating management and the rest of the organization why other elements aren’t good candidates for cloud computing treatment.
Many organizations are eagerly recruiting skilled IT professionals who not only have a grasp of the technical aspects of in-house IT, but can also champion and facilitate the adoption of cloud computing products and services. I’ve heard firsthand that IT professionals who can simultaneously balance IT and tech needs while meeting the strategic needs of the business are a hot commodity, and business leaders should make every effort to retain and reward qualified staff and spend the necessary capital to train and reward the next generation of IT leadership.
Jeff James is industry news analyst for Windows IT Pro. He was previously editor in chief of Microsoft TechNet magazine, was an editorial director at the LEGO Company, and has more than 15 years of experience as a technology writer and journalist.