As cloud technologies and services mature and user understanding of their capabilities improve, the cloud is developing into a mainstream IT option.

Today, it is clear to IDC that the cloud is no longer viewed as a disruptive technology but an innovation in business service delivery. By 2015, IDC foresees that the cloud will no longer exist as a standalone concept. It will be integrated into every facet of a business service delivery. Public cloud will metamorphose into Outsourcing 3.0 and the technologies of cloud will become intrinsic parts of the IT infrastructure landscape and an essential component of any IT environment.

Chris Morris, Associate Vice President for Cloud Technologies and Services at IDC Asia/Pacific says, "In enabling the enterprise move to this future, it is likely that IT executives will choose to help end-users meet their escalating business needs by offering IT 'as a service' rather than as a technology platform. In delivering these services to the business, the CIO will source more and more of these services externally - from the public cloud, from Virtual Private Clouds (VPC) hosted by an information and communications technology (ICT) service provider and from traditional outsourcers, which will also be using cloud technologies to deliver these services."

The end result is that the CIO will be asked to manage a hybrid environment comprising of on-premises, outsourced, managed and cloud-sourced services. For some organizations, the future will be not much different from 2010, except that the types of public cloud services will have moved from low-value trial implementations to applications which are central to their business. Most of them will be based on virtualized, standardized and scalable platforms that were once known as "The Cloud".

Morris adds, "In the past two years, we have seen a rapid maturation of users' understanding of cloud services and cloud computing. Rather than the cloud being viewed as a collection of new technologies, savvy CIOs now see the cloud as an extension of their sourcing strategies." As a result, many organizations today are adding the public, virtual private and private cloud delivery models to their services sourcing portfolio. Just as they have added outsourced and managed services in the past, these organizations are applying the same selectivity and due diligence process to the cloud as they do to other externally sourced services.

Although CIOs today may have the answers to some of their initial concerns surrounding the use of the cloud, the challenge now is to be informed enough to be able to ask the smart questions about their potential cloud vendors to ensure that they make the best strategic decision. "This is a very important stage of the development of the cloud market," concludes Morris.

(Source: IDC)