Will cloud popularity lead to the demise of traditional software?

May 21st, 2014 by - 3,706 views

Although the prospect may sound far-fetched, some professionals have speculated that increased investment in cloud computing may put major software developers out of business. If you look at the situation from the perspective of an open-source developer, it makes a fair amount of sense.

Cloud servers encompass computing network.

Cloud servers encompass computing network.

Enhanced sharing capabilities and cloud implementations go hand in hand, delivering an easier way for IT professionals to collaborate to create customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, desktop operating systems, and other deployments.

Creating a wide wake 
As adoption rates increase, technological accouterments designed to complement cloud technology are growing. For example, potential customers initially expressed concerns regarding security, primarily because they didn’t know what they were dealing with. In response, hosting companies made it a priority to enhance defense measures, and some organizations are even building entire business models around providing cloud security.

This level of response is characteristic of the cloud industry and explains why adoption rates have increased significantly. Skyhigh Networks conducted a Q1 2014 report based on data collected from more than 8.3 million cloud users and found that 3,571 cloud services were in use — 1,320 more than the previous quarter.

As far as what services were being used, everything from data storage to application usage were considered. On an interesting note, the study discovered that, on average, an organization leverages 24 different file sharing solutions and 91 disparate collaboration programs. This statistic supports the cloud’s status as a popular service, but it also signals a call to action.

At first glance, it seems as if business leaders would perceive investing in a single, comprehensive model to be preferable to using multiple cloud hosting providers. Perhaps not enough vendors offer holistic solutions, however, or these decision-makers believe that leveraging numerous services gives them some kind of advantage.

Software as an adaptable force 
Yet there’s another possibility. Two decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for businesses to use a collection of IT solutions. Now that companies are moving past traditional data centers and into the cloud, the same platforms (operating systems, CRM, etc.) that have remained on-premise for so long are adapting to the shifting atmosphere as well.

The fact that cloud computing encompasses such a wide range of services should stir concern among software developers. David Linthicum, a contributor to InfoWorld, noted that organizations such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP may become obsolete in the long run. He referenced IBM’s recent statement that Q1 sales fell nearly 4 percent as customers become less dependent on purchasing servers and less reliant on mainframe capacity.

The idea of abandoning Microsoft Office 365 seems unthinkable, given that it’s such a popular productivity suite. But suppose a group of IT professionals working with open-source material through a cloud server could bring a free program to its full operational capabilities?

“A possible consequence is that the ‘legacy’ providers will become weaker in the market,” Linthicum speculated. “They won’t be able to spend on the R&D to improve the software they’ve provided to your enterprise for years.”

It’s no secret that Microsoft and Oracle have cloud solutions of their own. However, as Linthicum mentioned, organizations that have focused their brands on the cloud from the start will likely have the advantage. As a result, software developers known for creating signature on-premise systems may some day be regarded as mildly invasive as opposed to serious competitors.

As for where cloud computing is headed, it’s imperative that those participating in the industry consider merging. Combining the knowledge of a cloud security provider with the expertise of a file sharing service, for example, is a recipe for success.

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