Daniel Cawrey| Midsizeinsider
There is no going back; cloud computing is here to stay. This technical innovation has become so pervasive that it may no longer need the cloud moniker.
In his CIO column “10 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2014,” Bernard Golden talks about a confluence of factors that have brought the cloud into all facets of IT. Today’s midsize business must prepare for this.
Buying versus Renting
The new model in midsize IT is to pay per period for cloud services. Many IT professionals wonder why they should buy something outright when they can simply rent infrastructure. The risk of owning a depreciating asset is carried by the cloud provider, and not the business using it. This trend will only continue in 2014 as less architecture is natively installed and numerous cloud services are implemented into IT organizations.
Some companies selling cloud services call this a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model; the effect is the same. Whatever the name, the idea of renting is what makes the cloud so enticing. This is especially true considering that rapidly evolving technology and quickly changing hardware assets can prove to be costly.
The Consumer Quotient Pervades
Many IT professionals in midsize businesses are concerned about the possible user impact of switching to the cloud. There are often a few difficult points to get through in terms of process and procedure. The reality is that many users have already been using cloud email or streaming services in their personal lives for quite a long time.
Moving from a local system to a cloud solution in midsize IT is similar to popular consumer Internet services. While most people are already paying to receive such services via the cloud, they do not realize it. Midsize IT should consider the potential benefits of any sort of cloud initiative to be analogous to those that consumer cloud services have already provided to users.
Virtualization versus Cloud
While many cloud services utilize virtualization in order to maintain optimal hardware efficiency, virtualization and the cloud are different technologies. Even so, there are many virtualization providers on the market today that are maintaining that deep virtual machine experiences can translate over to cloud computing.
That may be true, but for the average midsize business, that level of virtualization intertwined with cloud computing is not necessary. These types of implementations are generally for hybrid or even private clouds, entities whose maintenance and administration require significant virtualization expertise. Virtualization is an important component of cloud computing for service providers but is needed only for very specialized uses within midsize IT.
Putting It All Together
The increasing reliance on cloud services can require a different style of IT management than what is needed for local system administration. Vendor relationships are incredibly important to ensuring a keen understanding of cloud products.
The cloud gives a lot more data responsibility to the user, particularly with regard to mobility. Reports of security concerns have dogged the cloud in the past, and news media will likely continue this trend. Nevertheless, for IT professionals, the positives outweigh the negatives. Cloud computing is mainstream now and will become an even larger part of SMB IT strategy going forward. Organizations that are geared towards this reality are best set to succeed.