April 24, 2012
In many ways, the cloud has already had a major impact on the ways companies organize and deploy their IT departments and conduct business. As companies shift operations into the cloud, they inevitably must adapt their infrastructure to better accommodate and take advantage of cloud computing. For example, instead of maintaining onsite servers, IT must focus on the organization and management of data.
As Gartner Research recently highlighted, as the cloud continues to evolve and become an even more central component of business' networks, more and greater changes in businesses IT deployment will likely follow.
Rise of cloud-centric design
Perhaps the most significant change that is likely to occur is organizations will begin to design their IT around the cloud. Currently, Gartner notes, most organizations focus on ways in which they can move existing workloads and operations to the cloud to improve efficiency and service. In the near future, however, businesses will realize that to fully optimize their use of the cloud, they must design their applications with the cloud in mind.
Discussing the Gartner Research findings, Udayan Banerjee of Sys-Con echoed these sentiments, writing that to fully adopt the cloud into its processes, a "new architectural style" must be pursued.
Highlighting the hybrid
As a number of other industry analysts have suggested, Gartner Research expects hybrid cloud computing to become more prominent as time goes on. Hybrid cloud configurations allow organizations to move data and operations from a private to a public cloud at will, thereby improving scalability and efficiency. For example, an organization can store the bulk of its sensitive data on a private cloud, but move it to the public cloud if the information must be shared.
Currently, it is a significant challenge for organizations to set up and maintain an advanced hybrid cloud solution. However, Gartner argues that it is possible that hybrid cloud computing may one day lead to a single "cloud" comprised of both internal and external cloud platforms.
Long term effects difficult to predict
As significant as these changes will be, it is difficult to predict the ways that the cloud will force businesses to change. Banerjee quotes Amara's Law, which states that people typically overestimate a technology's short term effects and underestimate its long term consequences. He believes that this rule is applicable here, and that ultimately only time will tell the true impact of cloud computing.
Regardless, it is certain that the cloud will have a major impact, as it already has. Organizations will need to adapt their models, including their IT, to account for security concerns and other issues that will almost certainly arise.
-McAfee Cloud Security