Nicholas Carr didn't mince words during his COMDEXvirtual keynote session Wednesday: Cloud computing is here to stay, and now is the time for VARs and IT as a whole to get in on the action or risk being left in the dust.
"It's certainly been amazing to me to see the changes in attitudes about the cloud just in recent years," he said.
According to Carr, a renowned author and IT pundit, cloud computing as moved beyond skepticism and has reached a period of great hype and enthusiasm.
"The picture has changed almost completely," he said.
Carr spoke at COMDEXvirtual, the online conference hosted by CRN parent company Everything Channel. The show takes place November 16 - 17, and sessions are available on-demand until May 17, 2011.
Unlike other over-hyped technologies, Carr noted that cloud computing is the biggest IT shift since the introduction of the PC. While the move to cloud architectures won't happen overnight, it's high time to start planning lest you have to play catch-up in the future.
"Cloud computing is the model of IT for the future," he said, adding that while adoption may only be in the early stages, cloud computing as a theory and idea is now mainstream.
And dismissing the cloud as all bark and no bite is a bad idea, Carr cautioned.
"To take that attitude would be the worst thing you could do at this time because complacency will lead you -- whether you're supplying IT or using it -- to kind of get behind the curve and not realize that users are going to be demanding more and more cloud services in the very near future, and suppliers are going to be tested in the marketplace on their ability to respond to these trends and these needs and desires," he said.
The cloud currently sits perfectly at the intersection between two laws: Moore's Law and Grove's Law, meaning that the capacity of the network has caught up to the capacity of the computer, and the cloud computing model sits square at their intersection.
To best define the cloud, Carr turned back the cloud 17 years to a quote from Eric Schmidt, who is now Google's CEO: "When the network becomes as fast as the processor, the computer hollows out and spreads across the network." Or, more simply put, the Internet becomes a worldwide shared computing system.
Though the transition to the full cloud will be a five, 10 or even 15 year climb, Carr said five patterns of cloud adoption have already emerged as the market forms.
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