Cloud computing is here, and enterprises are increasingly taking advantage of the limitless pool of offsite resources it provides. With few exceptions, though, IT isn't really leading the charge -- even though it should be.
Not only are IT pros missing out on an opportunity to cover themselves in glory, they're also risking the possibility of becoming less relevant to their organizations.
"The thing about the cloud, it's usually driven by 'not-IT': namely the chief financial officer, individual business units and developers," said Jeff Ready, CEO at Scale Computing, an Indianapolis-based storage and server provider for small and medium-sized businesses.
That not-IT crowd sees plenty of potential in cloud computing advantages. The finance side of the house looks at public cloud and sees an easy way to avoid unnecessary capital expenditures, overhead and head count. Business units see Software as a Service (SaaS) versions of applications that are easy to get up and running and don't require any maintenance. Developers see a thriving community of their peers doing cool stuff and delivering new ideas.
Meanwhile, IT pros -- who are most technologically equipped to take on the cloud -- look at public cloud and see security holes, integration nightmares, a threat to job security and yet one more thing to do.
That's a stark contrast to IT's attitude about virtualization. Back in the early 2000s, IT seized upon the nascent technology as an easy way to solve nagging capacity and power issues, reduce costs, and gain greater manageability and availability. IT adopted a "virtualization first" policy, and business owners were often the last to know their applications were running in a VM. Early adopters of virtualization were hailed as modern-day IT heroes, saving the company money and laying the foundation for a workable disaster recovery plan.
IT folks have a tendency to either dismiss or ignore cloud computing, however, while developers and application owners sally forth and reinvent the business. Not only are IT pros missing out on an opportunity to cover themselves in glory, they're also risking the possibility of becoming less relevant to their organizations.
Alex Barrett is senior executive editor for TechTarget's Data Center and Virtualization media group, with editorial oversight of SearchDataCenter.com, SearchServerVirtualization.com and SearchVMware.com.
This was first published in November 2012