Gartner: Cloud Computing Will Replace IT Departments


But internal tech staff will be kept busy on the roll-out of internal IT private cloud technology for the near future

Traditional IT departments will eventually be replaced by direct relationships with numerous cloud computing providers – but in the short term staff will oversee internal cloud projects, according to analyst Gartner.

Ahead of its Data Center Summit 2009 next week in London, the company released a statement this week spelling out its views on how the rise of cloud computing will impact IT departments. Although IT organisations in large companies may see much of their role replaced by cloud services in the long term, in the short term IT departments will oversee the roll-out of internal private cloud projects within their businesses.

“With cloud offerings coming in the form of services, this means that the IT organisation will be replaced by relationships to many cloud computing service providers, each for one or a handful of services,” said Phil Dawson, research vice president at Gartner.

But the analyst believes that it will be a while before public cloud services are mature enough to replace much of the IT departments responsibility for internal infrastructure.

Cloud services are still criticised for poor security, but a greater problem may turn out to be compliance with regulations for issues such as data protection (an issue highlighted this week in a webinar chaired by eWEEK Europe).

Until public clouds become more dependable and compliance issues are ironed out, IT departments will focus on developing internal cloud services created specifically for their business. “Through 2012, IT organisations will invest more in private cloud services than in offerings from public cloud providers,” the analyst said.

“Larger organisations will continue to have an IT organisation that manages and deploys IT resources internally. Some of these will be ‘private clouds’, but not all,” said Dawson. “IT departments will also take on IT service sourcing responsibility – determining when to leverage external providers, when to deploy internally, and when to leverage both for specific services.”

The analyst also said that services that are business differentiators and tightly integrated into the business will not be destined to end up in the cloud.

“For now, private cloud computing will not just be a viable term, it will be a significant strategic investment for most large organisations. We predict that through 2012, more than 75 per cent of organisation’s use of cloud computing will be devoted to very large data queries, short-term massively parallel workloads, or IT use by start-ups with little to no IT infrastructure,” added Dawson.

Earlier this week, analyst Forrester said that the migration of databases to the cloud is still maturing and it could take two to three years before mission-critical databases are hosted on the technology.

However, other analysts have voiced concern over the security of cloud services. “[Public cloud providers] don’t have the pieces to meet the regulatory requirements; they don’t have the means to meet the compliance issues related to security,” Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst for managed IT services at Current Analysis told eWeek earlier this month . “That’s not to say there won’t be a time, or that cloud service providers can’t provide something useful to the enterprise.”