How cloud computing changed internal IT in 2009

Cloud computing may have more of an impact as an influence on how we do IT, even for those who may never use a public cloud computing provider

Over the holidays, I finally had some downtime to think about the impact that cloud computing has exerted on existing corporate and government IT. 2009 was clearly the year of the cloud, but most of the work was around small projects with just a few larger and more strategic cloud computing implementations tossed in. Did anything really change?

Strangely enough, cloud computing has turned out to be more about reviewing and modernizing internal IT than about how internal IT systems can be extended to the clouds. More simply put, we now try to replicate the value of cloud computing by modernizing and reimplementing our existing IT architectures using cloud computing concepts, such as self-provisioning, virtualization, elasticity, multitenancy, and yes, SOA.

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Called "private clouds" by many, this trend is more about learning to leverage internal IT resources effectively and efficiently than what was previously considered best practices. Specifically, this is the movement from single, monolithic, and underused systems to virtual environments, as well as the ability to address local and remote systems using APIs or services. This allows developers to mix and match existing application data and behavior to form new, innovative, and largely scalable solutions. Born and proven in the clouds, this approach is being used to architect work within the enterprise firewalls.

History is repeating itself somewhat. Back in the early 1990s, we started to internally leverage Web-based technology. The resulting intranet applications provided a more effective way to support the diverse number of clients through the least common denominator of HTTP/HTML. The pattern is much the same today: proven on the Web, then adopted in the enterprise.

The more profound nature of these trends is that cloud computing may have more of an impact as an influence on how we do IT, even for those who never use a public cloud computing provider. In many respects, cloud computing is driving a move to SOA and virtualization, perhaps without those labels actually applied. Nonetheless, it's progress. Thank you, cloud computing.

This article, "How cloud computing changed internal IT in 2009," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at


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