The cloud adopts a consumption service approach to computing. The cloud separates the application layer from the underlying resource layer and introduces an extraordinary level of flexibility to computing. Resources can be requisitioned on the fly and resource utilisation can be maximised. Resource capacity levels can be set to meet aggregate needs and utilisation levels can be maximised to reduce the cost of infrastructure deployment. Business users can ask for and use the right amount of technology at the right time for the right activity.
This is true irrespective of the fact that, cloud computing is delivered through a variety of configurations on demand. The cloud can be a private cloud that resides inside a firewall. The cloud can be a public cloud that is hosted on infrastructures owned and managed by the service provider and used by multiple enterprises collectively. Hybrid clouds are clouds that bridge public and private resources and use resources that exist inside and outside the enterprise firewall. Each of these models allow users acquire or discard additional resources on demand.
However, this promised flexibility has not been achieved overnight. It has evolved gradually, with a lot of interaction between the provider and the end user and an extraordinary understanding of the needs of the other. Three decades of intense efforts that have paid off. Organisations and cloud vendors that were initially focused on cost efficiency moved on to focus their attention on quality and then on to business agility and further reduction of operating and capital costs. Vitalisation has enabled the aggregation and consolidation of data centres and promoted the creation of large elastic pools of computing resources.
Standardisation and automation of applications and services have given the users freedom to deploy or use applications when wanted. Simplification and centralisation have freed administrators from repetitive troubleshooting, patching, and change management. Policy based workflows empower the workforce access and use information from wherever they are , and on whatever device they may choose to use. All this translates into cost savings on an extraordinary scale and opportunities for businesses by reducing time to service.
In short, the flexible computing paradigm will create a revolution in the way people work. The cloud may enforce standardisation, pre-packaging of services and evolution of “no-touch” concepts. Management will no longer avoid change, but embrace it and work with it, so that business flexibility and agility is exploited effectively and efficiently.