Cloud computing — where mega-data centers serve up webmail, search results, unified communications, or computing and storage for a fee — is top of mind for enterprise CIOs these days. Ultimately, however, the future of cloud adoption will depend less on the technology involved and more on strategic and economic factors.
On the one hand, Nick Carr, author of“The Big Switch,” posits that all computing will move to the cloud, just as electricity — another essential utility — did a century ago. As Carr explains, enterprises in the early industrial age grew productivity by utilizing locally generated mechanical power from steam engines and waterwheels, delivered over the local area networks of the time: belts and gears. As the age of electricity dawned, these were upgraded to premises-based electrical generators — so-calleddynamos — which then “moved to the cloud” as power generation shifted to hyper-scale, location-independent, metered, pay-per-use, on-demand services: electric utilities. Carr’s prediction appears to be unfolding, given that some of the largest cloud service providers have already surpassed thebillion dollar-milestone.