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Data center transformation: Evolution or revolution?

As we continue to chronicle the “disappearing” data center, we have to consider the ongoing transformation of the enterprise application. Software as a Service, Web-based applications, cloud computing and mobile have effectively put an end to client/server applications that were the rage fewer than 15 years ago.

And even though “cloud” has been part of everyday IT lingo for three or four years, there is still much we don’t know about exactly what a cloud is or what defines a cloud service or application, not to mention private clouds. Features Writer Laura Smith this week discusses how private clouds are more than just virtualized environments. Management is just as key an ingredient, and CIOs are starting to adjust their focus.

In reality, we are a long way from getting a grip on not just how to define data center transformation, but what the end-game really is. But a TechTarget colleague recently put a certain spin on it that made a lot of sense. There’s nothing evolutionary about cloud computing, he said. It’s already here, since much of the technology has been around for awhile.

What’s revolutionary about it is that cloud is changing the delivery mechanism for applications, relocating the computing power and management (people) power outward and making executives rethink everything about how they use technology to run their businesses. CIOs must look to new ways to port, build, buy or outsource them; re-learn how to evaluate in-house application portfolios; and understand how to maximize value and reduce redundancies.

And this adjustment needs to happen quickly, because Microsoft is betting on the cloud as much as it has on anything since it first heard of the Internet.

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