Forrester Says Cloud May Not Be the Future of IT: Really?
I apologize for the attention-grabbing nature of the headline, but that is pretty much what some of the news reports covering Forrester Research’s latest paper on cloud computing said. Delving further, it seems there is a bit of exaggeration at play here.
The aforementioned news items (See: Forrester: Cloud is not the future of IT and Cloud is not the future of IT, claims Forrester) were looking at Forrester’s Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready report, itself a part of the research firm’s Playbook on Cloud Computing, a framework for going on the cloud. James Staten, an analyst at Forrester, has been quoted as saying, “Not everything will move to the cloud as there are many business processes, data sets and workflows that require specific hardware or proprietary solutions that can’t take advantage of cloud economics. For this reason we’ll likely still have mainframes 20 years from now.”
At this point, I would like to point out a few things. One, saying “not everything will move to the cloud” is not the same as “most things won’t move to the cloud.” In other words, nowhere is mainframe’s or other legacy technologies’ dominance over cloud computing implied.
Two, the best thing (or perhaps the worst) about the future is that it’s impossible to predict accurately. For example, the negative issues plaguing cloud computing today may well have been overcome in a few years. To give an example, consider a trading platform that requires computational processing without delays beyond a minimum threshold, because as we all know, stock prices change within fractions of a second. While current cloud computing technology may not able to satisfy these specifications necessitating the deployment of in-house computers, available bandwidth may increase manifold in future to allow delivery of the same level of service in a distributed environment, as in cloud computing.
Three, what is worth mention here is Forrester’s earlier assessment of the future cloud computing market (See: Cloud Computing Market Will Top $241 Billion in 2020). As is evident, Forrester does consider cloud computing to be the future of IT. And finally, mainframes and cloud computing, though of totally different eras, are not incompatible (See: Mainframes in the Age of Cloud Computing).
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my long-held belief (“long” relatively speaking, since cloud computing itself is only about a decade old) that cloud computing IS the future of IT. However, as every prediction of the future goes, conditions apply.
By Sourya Biswas