Home » Technology » Cloud Computing » The future of networks in the age of cloud computing
The advent of cloud computing, network virtualisation and on-demand technology services is changing the way we use IT. And if these technologies achieve ubiquity, as many expect, there could well be a sharp increase in the number of businesses accessing their IT services remotely, possibly at the expense of their own infrastructure and applications. In turn, this could lead to less emphasis being placed on the Local Area Network (LAN), IT administrators and IT monitoring tools.
Some argue that this could be an incredibly rapid process, but this in fact is far from certain. The shift to cloud computing will spark change, and the range of services available coupled with the increased efficiency and scalability they offer makes it an increasingly attractive proposition for many businesses. However, it seems unlikely that the growth of cloud computing will be at the speed or on the scale that many have predicted. Also, it is doubtful that it will mean the fundamental changes to IT networks that some have claimed.
Firstly, it is important to note that cloud systems are heavily reliant on both the LAN and a stable internet connection. If a company loses its internet connection, more often than not this will adversely affect its ability to do business. Even a simple task such as printing becomes impossible, as staff cannot access the cloud app that sends the file to the printer service.
In addition, cloud computing, along with the internet itself, relies on millions of switches, servers and firewalls located across the world. In order to maintain high availability and fast response times, businesses will still need to rely on LANs.
Added to this, for many companies, a wholesale move to the cloud is simply not possible. 37 per cent of the world’s GDP is produced by non-service industries, and companies in manufacturing that rely on machine power, for instance, require high availability due to the demands of their assembly lines. Machines need to be connected by secure local area networks with ultra-high bandwidth and reliability, something that the cloud cannot yet deliver.
One current line of thought is that IT administrators will soon become redundant, as their work is moved to the cloud. Referred to as ‘service as a service’ (SEaaS), this innovation would remove the need for businesses to employ IT administrators. The idea would be that cloud services could complete many of the everyday tasks that administrators perform, such as creating new users and resetting passwords. However, whether this is realistic or not is questionable. While cloud services could certainly cover some of the more basic tasks, on-site technical jobs are still likely to require specific expertise and human intelligence for the foreseeable future.
Cloud computing is undeniably growing in importance, and there is no question that its implementation can be of huge benefit to businesses. However, LANs look set to remain at the heart of business IT infrastructure, and so the IT administrator, and the IT monitoring tools that help them to do their job, look set to be critical to the maintenance, improvement, availability and economic viability of the cloud moving forward.