In a recent article for CIO, “Say Goodbye to Traditional IT,” Rich Murr wrote “IT professionals don’t need to focus on making sure generators have fuel. Or struggle to eke out just a little more power in the data center for a new server. Or arrive at a morning meeting exhausted from an all-night troubleshooting effort.

Instead, they can spend the time with their business counterparts, helping them tap into the incredible power of technology to solve complex problems and grow revenue.” Murr attributes this transformation in IT to increasing cloud adoption. According to Murr, as cloud has grown from another form of co-location through hosting capabilities into Software-as-a-Service and beyond, IT departments have been liberated to perform less of a maintenance function and more of a strategic function within the business.

Has cloud truly killed off traditional IT, or is it business as usual?

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The Limits of Cloud’s Expanding Influence

There’s no doubt that cloud is here to stay. IDC predicts that the total cloud market size will grow to around $128.6 billion by 2018. In spite of this, many companies are choosing to combine on-site infrastructure with cloud solutions. Gartner predicts that 50% of enterprises will have hybrid clouds by 2017. While the majority of organizations are going with the cloud, they are still hesitating to go all in with a public cloud solution that would free them from a traditional infrastructure.

In fact, Forbes continues to report that 80% of IT budgets are tied up in routine maintenance. This means that things have not changed as much as it might seem.

Reasons for Change

For companies that are still hold-outs, a reminder of some of the benefits of the cloud is due. With the cloud, it is easier to start business innovation initiatives because of the range of service options available.

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): With IaaS, instead of overprovisioning or risking not meeting your storage requirements, you can acquire storage on an as-needed basis. In addition, IaaS makes building and dismantling test environments easier and more economical. You can deploy more storage and compute to accommodate the project temporarily and scale down as soon as the project is completed.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS reduces the need for an in-house software infrastructure. You no longer need to acquire, install, and maintain software applications. Updates and patches are performed automatically.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): If your company needs to develop customized software, PaaS is a great option. PaaS provides the platform needed to develop, run, and manage applications without building and maintaining the infrastructure required.

Any one of these solutions can help your IT department become a strategic part of the business. Instead of focusing on routine infrastructure management and maintenance, the cloud can perform these functions.

Additional Roles for Cloud

While many companies may be familiar with IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS, there are less obvious functions the cloud can perform that can transform the traditional IT environment.

For a long time, organizations have held back from adopting the public cloud because of security concerns, but the cloud can actually play an instrumental role in your company’s Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans. The high availability of the cloud creates redundancy that enables faster recovery times and protects against data loss. With the cloud, you canreplicate your data to a second site so that you can failover quickly. Your business continuity plan can also be stored offsite to ensure that it is always available.

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With the rise of big data, the cloud can be instrumental in managing information to gain actionable insights. When the data is in its raw state, the public cloud can be scaled up to accommodate the influx of data. Once the data has been made more manageable, it can be brought in-house to the private cloud for processing.

Even though traditional IT is not entirely dead, it is on its way out. As the cloud adapts to meet needs created by trends in IT, companies will continue to explore ways to shift routine functions into the cloud, freeing their IT departments to develop new solutions that inspire growth and innovation.

Discover how the cloud can transform your IT environment into a center for innovation by contacting IT Partner Community.

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