Since the turn of the century, virtualization and cloud computing have become two of the most important areas of technological advance. Now that the technology has matured, as well as become mainstream, have you ever stopped to ponder the question of which part of the business market appears to benefit the most from the cloud?

I believe that the small business market is benefiting the most so far. The sheer amount of software and services that has been made available to this market easily gives the smallest of businesses nearly the same or even better technology than that of a medium-sized company that can support its infrastructure in house. I was reading an article about the top twenty cloud services for small businesses and paused to think that this is just a sample of what is readily available. Since this market space represents the majority of all businesses, it makes sense that it would be leading the pack.

Next on my list would be the large enterprises. This is the area in which I have the most firsthand knowledge, mainly with regard to the service delivery aspect. Most of my clients over the last few years have had the specific goal of being able present services to company employees in a timely manner. With the automation that can come with adaptation to the cloud, the “timely manner” becomes mere moments as the complete self-service model becomes more and more of a reality.

Finishing up the list would be the small-medium to medium-large companies. For these companies’ IT development, I believe this is a transitional point at which the decision is often made to pull and keep data in house and to develop and use what they need and can support. I think that there comes a time with growing companies when they make the decision to pull back data in house in an attempt to increase security and control of their data.

I would be curious to hear your thoughts and what you have seen in the marketplace. If you agree with my assessment, then what in the cloud would really be of interest to medium-to-large enterprises? Is it really just a matter of time before smaller companies that grow from a complete or almost-complete cloud presence pull some or all services back in house? Time will tell, but I believe the last hurdle for all is the SMB market. What cloud service would a CEO not consider replacing with space in house? That is truly the question to ask.

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Steve Beaver (158 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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