Factors buffeting the definition of the new class of datacenters include globalization, a rising tide of information and need for expanded flexibility and adaptability for business models.
To compete, companies need to operate without borders, and become a globally integrated enterprise. "There are huge resource pools emerging around the world ... with new ideas and creativity," said IBM VP Rich Lechner. It's more than outsourcing, he said, it's about integrating these resources.
The tide of data and devices, resources, and assets will continue to explode. How can you best use the data that flows all around you?
New business models will evolve, said Lachner. The impact of social networking and peer influences on buying decisions is just beginning to be felt.
Virtualization will remake the landscape IT, as will cloud computing, virtual worlds, and high new levels of scaling when it comes to compute power, said Lechner.
Cloud computing allows an unbounded aspiration of the best user experiences. "It provides anytime, anywhere access to IT resources delivered dynamically as a service," he said. Cloud computing expands capacity almost indefinitely.
IBM's cloud initiatives are allowing technology incubation, data-intense workloads, government-led initiatives and new types of software development support.
IT plus cloud computing can enable change. How to get started? Simplify using virtualization, share infrastructures via SOA, and create a dynamic ability to access data and knowledge, said Lechner.
The world is changing to enterprises without borders, unbounded IT infrastructure, and huge more data sets, and a need for collaboration that increasingly crosses many organizational and sourcing types, he said.
Additionally IBM is learning a lot from Google (GOOG) and vice versa when it comes to cloud computing, said Lechner. Cloud computing allows its practitioners to isolate compute units and make their use far more efficient economically via dynamic provisioning.
For data security, users can physically isolate data using partitioning. IBM for years has been hosting multiple companies on single mainframes with no data protection or privacy issues. The technology exists to leverage the economics of cloud computing while protecting data, said Lechner.
"It's about removing IT as an inhibitor," he said.
Cloud computing needs probably international standards on security, access policies, and many other things which deviate it from normal local storage / computing technology. The idea itself is magnificient and has a lot of benefits, but it may suffer from the fact that an initial period of fragmentedness and innovation probably turns into a oligopolic offering, where a few big companies offer reasonably affordable clouds - but here comes the trouble: clients have to rely on a few partners only. If the big companies have problems, the clients will also have these.
Cloud computing, particularly subscription services, allow many companies an ability to do things they could never afford before. Instead of having to field an entire staff, server farm, etc...they simply choose a safe certified partner, and then set up solutions with them. They pay $100 per month per person, instead of $1M all at once. that $100 gets written off as Operating expenses, vs the $1M of Capital expenses. (Of course it has to be a solution that actually saves the company money or makes them money, like ERP systems, or CRM).
Why would companies set up tiresome networks and hosting infrastructure when companies like Google offer unlimited scaling for a fraction of the price. Being a developer and tech blogger I think cloud computing will take over today's local networking hardwares and stand-alone software providers win a matter of years. Besides that, ubiquitous data availability can only provided by cloud services. I've written deeper about these factors in my blog : http:\\www.topcloudcomputingcompanies.net . Overall, I think cloud computing is really in a bullish state.