Cloud computing among emerging technologies changing IT's trajectory, expert says

Published: Friday, May 4, 2012

Cloud computing, mobile computing and big data are converging into what industry expert Gordon Haff explained will emerge as the next generation of enterprise IT.

In a recent CNET report, Haff explained that defining the cloud has proven challenging because the technology has so many uses. At the same time, figuring out where the cloud, mobile solutions and big data all intersect is another challenge. Essentially, he said they come together in what is a common trajectory for the future of enterprise IT, with the three emerging technologies combining to create new opportunities for innovation and revenue generation.

In the future IT climate, cloud computing will essentially provide the underlying data center infrastructure that businesses function on, the report said. The server, compute and even network resources will all be housed in the cloud as the technology follows Moore's Law to bring about major changes in the architectures that enterprise IT departments are built upon. Essentially, the cloud will be used to create scalable, elastic clusters of computing resources that can be adjusted and re-engineered rapidly in response to operational needs.

With the cloud working in the background, the mobile device becomes the client for the next generation of enterprise computing, the report said. However, the concept of mobile devices needs to go beyond smartphones, as the "internet of things" is becoming a reality and more appliances, lighting systems and a variety of portable equipment are being connected to the web, changing how software can be delivered and information can be shared. The "internet of things" also includes the ability to take data from a variety of structured and unstructured resources, allowing sensors and monitoring devices to informed connected devices about various relevant conditions and allowing for better decision making. In many ways, this is where big data comes into play, as it acts as the underlying foundation that organizations build from, as the primary focus of cloud and mobile systems will likely be make access to data easier and more intelligent.

As IT works toward this systematic change of how IT works, businesses need to carefully evaluate their database systems and consider how they need to adapt them in response to emerging trends in the industry.

One of the first things to do is consider the role of databases in the cloud. Turning to a cloud computing solution for DB infrastructure offers businesses considerable benefits, as they can use the technology to optimize the underlying infrastructure needed to support database systems. With traditional DB infrastructure, organizations need to not only have enough servers available to meet operational requirements, but also need systems available for peak usage times or sudden data spikes.

This means that there is almost always hardware not being used - and often plenty of it if use patterns recede. Cloud computing solves all of these problems by allowing organization to use only what they need, but companies do need to make adjustments to how they manage their DB infrastructure to use the cloud effectively, as the technology work at such a fast pace that proprietary database systems can struggle to keep up.

As the cloud gains steam, organizations will also likely see more users access databases through their mobile devices. This will mean organizations need to deploy DB systems that are not only flexible enough for the cloud, but also offer the elasticity necessary to function on a diverse range of end-user computing platforms.

All of these trends point toward open source database systems, which allow organizations to customize source code and adapt the platform to their specific needs. Out-of-the-box solutions could soon look like dinosaurs as the next generation of IT emerges, and open source could be the answer to enterprise database challenges.