While cloud computing has been around for some time (anyone remember the plethora of application service providers at the end of the last millenium?), it has taken some time to become mainstream, partly because of a lack of widespread internet connectivity and partly to do with concerns about security, service levels and, to a lesser extent, latency.
However cloud computing is finally becoming established in most market sectors, with cloud services finally mature enough to live up to IT providers’ claims as well as industry practitioners’ knowledge of how cloud computing fits within their existing IT infrastructures.
Different cloud models are evolving, from internally-shared private clouds and hybrid public/private models to pay-as-you-go services; each offers a different balance of cost, flexibility and security. Importantly, the common theme across the different cloud models is that they all promise cost reductions in IT infrastructure and delivery, the distribution of applications across data centres and the ability to re-architect legacy applications.
We are seeing the growing adoption of cloud computing in the housing sector; web-based applications for anytime, anywhere access to centrally-stored information appear to be the fastest-growing area, with growth in cloud-based infrastructures (platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, etc) expected to follow.