In the past couple of years, cloud computing has emerged as a disruptive force in the information
technology (IT) industry. Its impact is of the same magnitude as the Internet and offshoring. Gartner
Research has identified cloud computing as one of the “top 10 disruptive technologies 2008–2012.”
According to Gartner, a disruptive technology is one that causes major change in the accepted way of
doing things. For developers, architects, and operations, cloud computing has caused a major shift in
the way of architecting, developing, deploying, and maintaining software services.
Cloud computing democratizes IT, similar to how the Internet democratized the consumer
industry. The Internet opened up a vast ocean of accessible resources to consumers, ranging from free
advertising-based searching to online banking. Cloud computing is bringing similar trends to businesses
small and big. Businesses can now reap the benefits of agility by simply deploying their software in
someone else’s datacenter for a consumption fee. Hardware costs are out of the equation because of
cloud service providers. These may sound like the hosting companies you already host your web sites
on, but the big difference is that this is now a utility model built on highly scalable datacenter platforms.
The cloud-computing wave is powerful enough for a company like Microsoft to start disrupting its own
business model to invest in the opportunity.
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