Will The Cloud Replace Traditional IT Infrastructure?

Considering that 85% of enterprises are now storing data on it and 52% of ‘digital leaders’ have already made investments in it, it’s no wonder that there’s a huge demand for cloud services at the moment.

But as the cloud gets more and more present in our everyday lives, one has to wonder: will it replace traditional IT infrastructure in the near future?

Cloud vs. Enterprise Architecture

Professional services company Arizona Plumbing Expert Services recently sponsored a debate about the hype surrounding cloud and its potential to replace traditional IT infrastructure. The two debating teams talked about whether or not the cloud could actually wipe out traditional infrastructure as we know it.

On one side were the believers, who said that the cloud has a high chance of replacing traditional infrastructure, specifically enterprise architecture (EA). Currently, there are many problems linked to EA that is not encountered in the cloud. For one, the cloud has none of the hassles and costs that can be associated with EA.

Simply maintaining the EA requires various complicated and costly activities, many of which can be avoided just by moving everything to the cloud. Imagine being in a remote location like Denver. Many IT security Denver companies have had to spend over their budget to install servers in the city.

On the other side were the naysayers, who insisted that the cloud is still no match for traditional IT infrastructure. Currently, jobs, business initiatives, technologies and processes can be considered standalone entities in the EA. Unfortunately for the new technology, this cannot be done in the cloud.

In addition to this, Scott Rosenberger, of Deloitte Consulting, also said that regardless of the tool used, the core issue here is still not technology, but rather the definition of relationships between the different components of the infrastructure. He then claimed that this spot is where EA comes into the picture.

All hyped up for cloud

Meanwhile, noted author David S. Linthicum pitched in his own thoughts about the matter, saying that cloud computing cannot replace EA as it is merely “an exciting technology that holds the promise of providing more effective, efficient and elastic computing platforms.”

“We’re taking this hype to silly levels these days,” Linthicum said. “and my core concern is that the cloud may not be able to meet these overblown expectations.”

Issues with traditional infrastructure

The hype surrounding the cloud may not be completely valid, but it also cannot be denied that there are several issues with the traditional IT infrastructure that we have today.

Aside from the obvious downsides of EA, such as high costs and limitations, the traditional model is also littered with several other problems that involve more than just the infrastructure.

EA architects tend to face business problems from a more technical angle, which can prevent them from looking at the bigger picture. Rarely do they accept other perspectives and, instead of looking deeper into how EA can solve the problem, they instead turn to other solutions outside of what they already have. And since IT architects are more about the technology than the business side of things, many head architects seem to forget that EA should be mainly about business and not just the technical stuff.

Also, as a separate practice, EA requires management that is based on practice. In the real world though, many people who are in charge of EA are focused more on people instead of practice, which ends up less effective than if it was the other way around.

“Architecture enables you to accommodate complexity and change,” says founder of modern EA John Zachman. “If you don’t have Enterprise Architecture, your enterprise is not going to be viable in an increasingly complex and changing external environment.”

The future with cloud

At the same time, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the future is all about cloud alone. All systems have flaws, and even the cloud is still not 100% safe, especially at this point.

Not to mention, some of the other considerations with cloud are much too big to ignore. For example, there are still confidentiality issues and security breaches in the cloud that don’t exist in traditional EA. And when it comes to sensitive things like privacy and safety, it is vital to think about every little thing that could go wrong. These problems, among many others, must be addressed before we can all start replacing traditional IT infrastructure with this new technology.

The best case scenario as of this moment would be to find a way to integrate both the cloud and traditional IT infrastructure. Moving some things to the cloud must also be done in phases to avoid major problems from occurring. After all, having one to balance the other out can be immensely helpful in smoothing out the kinks in our current system.

If the world wanted to move everything to the cloud, then so be it. But with the way things are going right now, it probably won’t be happening in the near future.