Cloud computing ‘to be as influential as e-business’


27 Jun 2008

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Cloud computing will redefine business to the same extent the internet has, analyst firm Gartner has said.

Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing where massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided as a service using internet technologies to multiple external customers.

“During the past 15 years, a continuing trend toward IT industrialisation has grown in popularity as IT services delivered via hardware, software and people are becoming repeatable and usable by a wide range of customers and service providers,” said Daryl Plummer, managing vice-president and Gartner Fellow. “This is due, in part to the commoditisation and standardisation of technologies, in part to virtualisation and the rise of service-oriented software architectures, and most importantly, to the dramatic growth in popularity of the internet.”

According to Gartner, these three major trends will create a new opportunity to shape the relationship between those who use IT services and those who sell them. It is predicting the impact on the business landscape of cloud computing to be as big as that of e-business.

Essentially, it will mean users of IT-related services will be able to focus on what the service provides them rather than how the services are implemented or hosted.

Examples of cloud computing include outsourced storage and software-as-a-service companies offering CRM services through their multi-tenant shared facilities so clients can manage their customers without buying software.

“The focus has moved up from the infrastructure implementations and onto the services that allow for access to the capabilities provided,” commented David Mitchell Smith, vice-president and Gartner fellow. “Although many companies will argue how the cloud services are implemented, the ultimate measure of success will be how the services are consumed and whether that leads to new business opportunities.”

“When organisations cross the threshold between the internet as a communications channel and the deliberate delivery of service over the internet, then we truly start to head for an economy based on consumption of everything from storage to computation to video to finance deduction management,” added Plummer.

By Niall Byrne