As if outsourcing, virtualisation, utility computing, automation, hosted applications, and a recession weren't enough to stress out the average IT professional, there's the emerging threat of cloud computing. As time progresses, analyst firms foresee the cloud becoming more prevalent, absorbing functions traditionally done by IT. IDC predicts that worldwide IT spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold by 2012 to US$42 billion (NZ$63 million).
So exactly how — and when — will cloud computing reshape IT organisations and IT jobs? And what should the typical IT staffer do to protect his or her career?
First, don't panic. Any large-scale shift to cloud computing is a decade or more away, says Gartner analyst Ben Pring, and Kim Terry, president of Terrosa Technologies, says "For now, I look at software as a service and cloud computing as an extension of the company's network, not a replacement". Terrosa helps software vendors make their wares available through the cloud, and Terry says that in most organisations, it's likely to be five years before anyone is ready to change out a company's financial systems to the cloud.
The cloud will create a few jobs, at first
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