The core idea behind IT agility is being able to provision IT resources and services to match the business need, rather than the other way around where the business is dictated by IT resources – new OS upgrades, expanding the core network, etc. More and more we’re seeing business need driving IT to thinking outside – and beyond – the traditional data center: If the business needs new services that can’t be met within the more static traditional data center, maybe the solution is to move beyond the confines of the traditional data center, hence the drive toward the cloud.
2009 was very much the year of the cloud, at least the year we talked about how the cloud would change the enterprise data center. We’re half way through 2010, and this year is turning out to be the year we’re actually using the cloud. This quick adoption rate is something we’re not used to in IT; major data center and infrastructure trends typically take a few years to gain traction before mass adoption. The cloud is different, however. We’re seeing companies moving services to the cloud in large numbers, especially where new infrastructure is an issue or new business services and tools are needed.
One of the primary drivers of cloud computing – and what has taken the cloud from early adopters to mass scale deployment in such a tremendously short time frame – is the ability to provision new business services as needed without investing in new infrastructure. Designing and deploying new infrastructure isn’t often needed when rolling out a new business service. In fact the goal is to minimize disruptions to the infrastructure as much as possible. For new services that don’t map to existing architecture, however, new infrastructure needs to be deployed first, drastically increasing the time and complexity required to spin up that new business service.
Early cloud adopters quickly learned that the cloud can provide new infrastructure as-is without a major data center rebuild (I realize this is a very simplistic way of looking at the various as-a-service solutions that make up the cloud.), which is a big reason why cloud solutions were first deployed by enterprise business groups going around IT. As we see cloud adoption rates continue to grow, it’s safe to say that we’re moving past the hype. Cloud computing is driving IT outside the data center and fundamentally altering the enterprise data center landscape that’s stood for the past 10 to 15 years.
Alan Murphy is technical marketing manager of management and virtualization solutions with F5 Networks.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi