The shift to cloud computing is among the most prolific trends in information technology today. Organizations in both the private and public sectors have already begun migrating applications, services and data to the cloud in an effort to consolidate hardware resources, save money and improve sharing and collaboration capabilities.
Small and medium-sized businesses especially have employed cloud-based services that can scale to meet a company’s needs. Even the federal government is looking to cloud computing in an effort to save money on legacy IT infrastructure.
The dawning of an era
Denying the prominence of cloud computing would be like arguing that the world is not round, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. But for those who aren’t convinced, compelling new research that cloud computing is here for the long haul came courtesy of Cisco with the Oct. 28 release of its latest Global Cloud Index.
The company forecast that between 2014 and 2019, cloud traffic will increase from 2.1 zettabytes to 8.6 zettabytes. In other words, the amount of activity occurring via the cloud is expected to quadruple. In addition to the sheer immensity of the numbers, the rate of growth exceeds the rate of data center expansion, further highlighting the rapid pace of proliferation for cloud computing.
“Denying the prominence of cloud computing would be like arguing that the world is not round.”
Cisco cited a variety of factors that will contribute to the ascension of the cloud in IT infrastructure. Among these are increased use of public cloud among organizations, especially in the form of Software-as-a-Service deployments.
Private cloud is also expected to see growth, with more IT departments delivering corporate applications over virtual networks. Data center virtualization will also play a role, as more organizations choose to store information in virtual servers as opposed to legacy servers.
Mobility and the Internet of Things
No forward-thinking discussion of cloud computing would be complete without considering mobility, and the Internet of Things, or what Cisco refers to as the Internet of Everything. The increasing number of mobile devices – which could include everything from smartphones and tablets to smartwatches and fitness bands – will also catalyze cloud growth, according to the report.
Storage space is limited for smaller devices, so the ability to store applications and data in the cloud helps users access whatever service they may need on the go.
Likewise, the vast array of devices that will be connected by the IoT will generate immense quantities of data. Refrigerators, washing and drying units, garage doors, home security systems, automobiles, trains, trucks and city infrastructure – just to name of the objects that be connected by the IoT – will be communicating with other devices and with the people overseeing them. Machine-to-machine chatter will occur in offices, at home and within city infrastructure, and most of it will happen through the cloud.
What this means for IT professionals
With more traffic in the cloud, IT professionals with formal cloud computing training or any variant of a virtualization certification may be in high demand. This is especially true for IT wor