Owning on-premise IT infrastructure has no place in a world where the most valuable data is likely to come from outside the enterprise, according to a top Salesforce executive.
“Legacy IT models were designed to take data that’s a byproduct of business, store it and report it. But today, the most interesting data is originating from the behaviour of customers on mobile devices and supply chain partners,” said Peter Coffee, vice president for strategic research at Salesforce.
Analysing such data, such as the response of netizens on Twitter and Facebook towards ads shown during big events like the Super Bowl and Olympics Games, would require mammoth amounts of computing power, he said.
“You can’t afford to own the capacity to handle enormous spikes of data for a period of 30 seconds. You need to have the elasticity to dynamically handle and analyse the data, and the cloud is the only way to do that. That’s why owning on-premise infrastructure simply has no future as an IT model.
“The world is already heading towards cloud computing as the only viable IT model, and nothing is moving towards on-premise infrastructure being effective,” he stressed.
It’s hard to argue against Coffee’s views, given the increasingly attractive propositions of cloud computing favoured by many businesses – the ability to spin up and spin down resources based on business needs and the shift from capex to opex in funding IT investments.
Perhaps what’s keeping the cloud train from moving faster than it should are the vested interests of legacy tech companies that continue to charge exorbitant sums for software maintenance, along with their commission structures that still favour selling on-premise software over cloud services.
Then, there are those IT professionals who continue to cling on to the past, some of whom may try to influence IT buying decisions. While they may still get their way in a hybrid IT environment, they are likely to hit a wall once business users who value simplicity over complexity get a much bigger say in IT decision-making.
Like on-premise IT, electricity in the early days was delivered to companies that had their own staff to make sure there was, well, electricity. Now, we simply plug into the power grid and pay for the electricity we use. Whether you like it or not, the same thing is happening to IT today.