No longer just a buzzword in the IT industry, cloud computing has become a common way for companies to save money and scale up and down with ease. The past few years have seen cloud dominance by major providers such as Amazon and Google, but experts point to a future filled with multiple, highly customized clouds.
What is the Cloud? The Cloud is commonly referred to as Cloud Computing. Cloud computing is server based computing that provides some kind of hosted service. Cloud computing can be broken down into multiple different types of services, but the main types of services are IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS ( Platform as a Service) , and Saas (Software of Service), these are considered to be the building blocks of cloud computing.
SaaS uses the web in order to deliver applicationstotheir users but are managed entirely by a third-party vendor, one such example would be Google A pps.
PaaS are services that are used for applications and other development, but yet provi
de cloud components to the software. With PaaS, Developers are provided with the necessary framework in which they can build upon in order to develop or customize their applications, however this requires the Developer to maintain their applications.
IaaS provides the infrastructure for users but they are responsible for managing applications, data, run time, etc.
General Cloud Predictions
Rackspace president Lew Moorman recently shared his future cloud projections in an article on GigaOM. He sees increasingly cloudy skies in the future of enterprise, where Amazon, Google, and other current providers are major players, but where hundreds — and possibly millions — of clouds will be added to the mix.
Everywhere customers go, they will use clouds — sometimes these clouds will be private, stand-alone clouds, and sometimes they will be combinations of public clouds, hybrid-clouds, local clouds, etc. The question of the future won’t be whether to work in a cloud or not, but which cloud will best serve each individual’s and company’s needs.
Endless Use-Cases for Clouds
Moorman views the future as a limitless opportunity for cloud computing to impact businesses of every kind, whether their focus is in IT or not. While acknowledging Amazon’s current cloud dominance, he suggests that Amazon can’t be everything to everyone, and offers a list of use-cases for customized clouds, including:
- A GPU-optimized cloud for graphics work
- A local cloud optimized to render and move large files easily for specific industries
- A cloud to advance society in Third World countries
- Private clouds to run multinational corporation applications in-house
- Healthcare-focused clouds running in each hospital
- Customized clouds to help databases run optimally
- A cloud specifically for the FBI to enhance security
Basically, the future could offer a cloud for any need, with millions of them being created to serve very specific functions.
What Businesses Can Expect in an Increasingly Cloudy Future
While generalized cloud predictions are exciting, the enterprise-level future of cloud computing is especially important to IT managers. Here is a glimpse of what we can expect to see:
Increased Cloud Benefits
Companies, large and small, will realize even more cost savings, efficiencies, and productivity gains as cloud computing proliferates. You can expect access to more available storage space, increased scalability, a reduction in administration complexity, and greatly diminished costs in the areas of personnel, hardware, power, cooling, and data center upgrades.
More Business Opportunities
With widespread cloud computing technology, comes increased business opportunities for companies. If your company works with consumer-focused cloud technology (for example, you develop apps or create technology to store data on mobile devices), expect a huge surge of new business. Even companies that are not in consumer-facing industries will get a push towards new application delivery as these technologies become the norm.
Cloud In Our Area
Cloud, by nature, is dependent on bandwidth availability by either wired or wireless connection. West Central Minnesota has seen improvements with infrastructure to allow for higher speeds but some areas still do not have a secondary option for redundancy. The benefits of Cloud can be quickly lost if access to those services are interrupted. Understanding the risks in availability and security should be carefully considered before implementing a cloud solution.
A More Robust Job Market
It should be no surprise that the cloud will spur an explosion in the job market, but the roles will vary widely. Increases can be expected in the areas of IT business analysis, security, and engagement to handle relationships with a growing number of vendors cropping up around the cloud. Also, the growing dependence on data will produce a greater demand for data scientists and business intelligence professionals, as well as IT project managers.
Still, some roles may disappear altogether, and others will be in much less demand. For example, prepare for a decrease in lower-level, on-premise IT support roles.
IT Manager-to-Staff Ratios
As a result of shifting IT roles, expect the ratio of managers-to-staff to change, too. According to a study by Computer Economics, the typical IT organization maintains manager-to-staff ratios of about 11 percent. However, the long-term trend is toward a higher ratio.
What do you think the future of the cloud will hold? Is your organization prepared to embrace this cloudy future?