Okay, this is a big question and at the risk of being completely wrong, I will weigh in on it. The answer is yes, it is going this way. I do think, however, that it is moving very slowly toward full cloud computing.
What I will call partial cloud computing, as discussed in chapter 2, is actually being adopted very quickly and I am already seeing many implementations of these services in small and medium sized business in our practice. In fact, we offer all of these services and feel that they are a good fit for many of our customers.
On the other hand I have not seen even one implementation of full cloud computing in our area. That does not mean that companies are not doing it, they probably are, I have just not run into any yet. I have proposed it to a couple of prospects but they have decided against it. That may be a result of my half-hearted proposal and my own belief that it was a higher priced solution.
All of the tools are available now for full cloud computing and there are companies who are specializing in providing these services. You can see that if a few things change, it could take off. In my opinion it is the price that is holding things back. Right now, when you do the analysis for small and medium sized businesses, it is still more expensive. When you combine that with the loss of control, it is a pretty big road block to most small business owners.
One big change that will move things in this direction will be if smart phones, iPads and other tablets can be “docked” to devices with full keyboards, monitors and mice. If users can simply plug their smart phones or tablets into a docking station and then access a full virtual PC running somewhere else, I think that will make a big difference.
There may still be an interim step of companies having their own servers to host the virtual PCs, servers and data. In this scenario the businesses would still own the servers, software and databases that the smart devices connect to, but the PC on each desk would be gone.
The products to accomplish this are just about all here now. A good docking station and some apps to attach to the virtual PC in a seamless way are all that we need. Even these probably exist in some fashion.
Once this happens, it won’t even matter if some companies want to host their servers and some want to completely outsource it. It will work the same way. Price, the business owner’s preference and the nature of their business will be the determining factors.
So yes, it is coming. It may be several years yet because of the installed base of traditional servers and PCs. Also, people do not like to make large changes without a certain degree of comfort that it will all work as promised. We will need a few years of success by some early adopters before everyone jumps on.
I actually think that is good. There is no business purpose to change something just because it is possible. If making the change is not going to make business more efficient, save money or make money, going slow is okay. Once it becomes apparent that this is the better, faster, cheaper way to go, of course everyone will be in. That may take over five years, but I think it will happen.