With cloud computing promising so much, are internal ICT infrastructure projects a thing of the past?

Absolutely not, the move to cloud is a journey that can quite sensibly take many years, and during that journey it will constantly evolve and mature, delivering new capabilities and greater levels of efficiency. The IT industry has never seen such rapid change, with much of that change being accelerated by virtualisation.

Every organisation is in a different state of infrastructure maturity. Many leading consultancies and analysts have ways of measuring that maturity, but there are two things to bear in mind. Firstly, the advantages cloud computing delivers, are towards the more mature end of the spectrum, because of the efficiency and automation involved. Secondly, most organisations infrastructures typically exist at the less mature end of the scale, as their infrastructures have been the result of evolution and not the revolution that is cloud.

The jump from one to the other might be too big for some organisations. Virtualisation might help be a stepping stone.

One common factor of an immature infrastructure is the lack of use of virtualisation technologies, which increases efficiency and agility whilst reducing cost. It is a fact that within large enterprise infrastructures many companies only use the technology for test and development systems and not production. VMware – a leading virtualisation vendor – has a 95% market penetration but with only a 50% deployment.

In the cloud, virtualisation is not only used almost 100%, but is actually critical to the success of cloud and the ability of cloud service providers to deliver efficiency, reliability, availability and rapid deployment and scale. The approach of the cloud service providers has been one of the revolutionizing of the delivery of IT infrastructure.

On the basis that virtualisation underpins the cloud, it is absolutely essential that organisations continue and accelerate their internal adoption of virtualisation technologies. By doing so, they are paving the way for their migration to cloud, when cloud is an appropriate way to consume IT infrastructure. By taking the step to move to 100% virtual, organisations can easily take advantage of cloud computing Infrastructure as a Service solutions from a myriad of suppliers.

Virtualisation can be a powerful first step towards being ready to embrace the cloud more fully.

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