How Cloud Computing Will Change IT: 6 New Predictions's Virtualization and Cloud blogger Bernard Golden presents a clear picture of what the IT world will look like when cloud computing becomes the status quo. The future of IT has never looked more promising.

By Bernard Golden
Fri, July 29, 2011

CIO — IT is in a time of disruptive transition, caused by the rise of cloud computing. CIOs are in the midst of a maelstrom, and—like Ulysses, the fabled hero from Homer's Odyssey—are torn between the Scylla of established IT practices and the Charybdis of the future, both of which loom dangerously and portend trouble. Also like Ulysses, many CIOs must inure themselves to the din of tempting Sirens: the vendors who sing a sweet song of painless cloud transformation, made possible by the purchase of some software, or hardware, or a set of cloud services.

One can predict that, CIOs, like Ulysses, will eventually pass into calm waters—the future in which new processes and products will replace the legacy activities that make up today's IT world. The shorthand term for these new entities is cloud computing.

It's hard to envision that new world, of course, caught up as we are in the turmoil of today. Nevertheless, in my opinion, one can make confident predictions about how the cloud revolution will materialize. The light emanating from the cloud is strong enough that the outlines of the post-cloud future may be discerned.

By post-cloud, I mean when cloud is no longer an option to be compared with today's IT conventions, when cloud computing has become the accepted, standard way of doing things. Today, cloud computing is viewed as a perturbation of the established order, but one day—and not so far off, by my reckoning—it will represent the status quo.

What will that status quo look like? Here are a few trends we can expect:

Enormous scale is quotidian. Every system will be designed to process huge amounts of data. Every application is elastic and will be able to respond to changing currents in the flood of bytes. When systems are designed, no one will ask a question about capacity, because everyone will assume that potential capacity may be infinite. Therefore, design efforts will assume that, no matter how much data an application may be managing or how many virtual machines the application topology contains, it must be able to expand to handle more. In essence, we can assume that systems will be architected for a world of "the illusion of infinite capacity."

The Internet of Things Comes to Pass. Cisco's CTO has predicted that, in the near future, one trillion devices will be attached to the Internet. We've had many people predict we're entering the post-PC world.

Guess what? We're actually going to be entering the post-human-centered device world. There will be devices that humans interact with that are like general-purpose computers, of course. PCs. Smart phones. Tablets. In fact, we'll be surrounded by far, far greater numbers of special purpose devices that execute one function and communicate to a centralized program running in the cloud, which in turn will interact with something we (or someone acting as our proxy) will find valuable.

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