If It Can Move To Cloud, It Will; If It Can’t, It Won’t
March 21, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Cloud is a distribution model more than it is a technology transition in the datacenter, and even before Amazon Web Services launched in March 2006, a lot of us were contemplating returning to the time-sharing, utility model of compute. It was a natural thing after enterprise IT shops dealt with decades of best-of-breed computing and systems integration as well as a wave of outsourcing. If you could pay IBM to run your IT shop as it is, why not just pay someone to create a better one and put it on their books?
This cloud thing – which has the worst name in the world because there is nothing at all cloudy about a very substantial hyperscale class datacenter, and we have visited more than a few of them – was never the stupidest thing we ever heard. But people overdo it sometimes, and AWS was just plain wrong about everything moving to the cloud “in the fullness of time,” as Andy Jassy, the former CEO of AWS and now the CEO at the Amazon parent company, was fond of saying.
In the fullness of time, the bots take over after AI gets smart and leave the Earth to go to the center of the galaxy in a giant diamond crystal spaceship glowing with all of the data there is, and all of the computers are destroyed back here on Earth but at least the computers don’t destroy us and we go back to living an agrarian life with oral traditions and no writing – until we relearn this all again some millennia hence.
But I digress.
So it is with a certain amount of amusement that we read yet another report – this one out of Gartner – about the inevitable and unstoppable move from on-premises computing to the cloud. And what we interpret as the inertial resistance to it that continues to this day. Here is the interplay that Gartner is forecasting out to 2025, with historical spending data back to 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit:
In 2022, Gartner reckons there will be around $1.3 trillion in spending, and it will grow to reach $1.8 trillion by 2025. The growth rate for traditional, on-premises IT spending accelerated in 2020 and will be growing by a steady rate, as you can see, somewhere north of 30 percent per year. But the spending growth for cloud infrastructure, services, and software is growing at an accelerating rate, and by 2025, the cloud portion will be bigger than the on-premises portion. By the way, this data includes spending on application software, infrastructure software, business process services, and system infrastructure – the things that can move to the cloud. It does not include other IT services and products that cannot, such as telecom services and connectivity for client devices, or the client devices themselves.
We will all be retired before cloud becomes the dominant, rather than just a mere majority, of IT spending. And it is just possible that it will never completely happen. We shall see.