Is Google Your Next Data Center?

Cloud computing is changing the way we think of the IT department.

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And those aren't the only inhibitors to widespread adoption. "One of the biggest barriers is the IT organization itself," says Sun's Dutra. "There is a cultural history of building things." There's also a bias among some business customers that have become accustomed to having their IT organizations own and operate systems, he adds.

"There are different degrees of progression down this [hosted services] path," says Bryan Doerr, CTO at Savvis Inc., a St. Louis-based IT infrastructure services provider. "There's a percentage of companies that don't think a virtualized solution is for them."

Even for IT organizations that do shift work to third-party providers in coming years, certain activities will remain in-house, including data management and business intelligence functions, says May.

Moreover, says Robert Keefe, CIO at Mueller Water Products Inc. in Atlanta, "you're always going to have some things [in IT] that need to be looked after -- nuances and pieces of technology that continue to change."

For example, IT organizations are likely to retain project portfolio management, says Chris Barbin, co-founder and CEO of Appirio Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of products and services for hosted environments such as Salesforce.com and Google Enterprise. That means they will still need people who are adept at sourcing and staffing project teams.

"For me, it's my revenue-generating and customer-facing systems" that will remain in-house, says Major.

He cites a few reasons for this, including a dearth of vendors that provide hosted application services for those particular disciplines. Even when players do emerge in those areas, says Major, "they're going to have to come to me and explain why this is a great idea for me."

So while more and more enterprises are looking upward, most will probably test hosted services before losing themselves in the cloud.

"I don't think the on-premises [software] business is going away overnight; I don't think it's ever going away," says Google's Glotzbach. "If we've learned anything in IT over the past 20 years, it's that nothing ever goes away completely."

Read More About Cloud Computing

  • QuickStudy: Get the basics on cloud computing in this primer.
  • Where will your job go if Google is your data center? Learn about careers in the 'cloud.'

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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