According to research firm Forrester, cloud computing is definitely not the future of IT, but the trend of commoditization is. According to its latest "Make the Cloud Enterprise-Ready" report, commoditization and modernization of IT services will cause IT portfolios to evolve over time and this will result in many IT applications becoming suitable for running in the cloud.
"But not everything will move to the cloud as there are many business processes, data sets and workflows that require specific hardware or proprietary solutions that can't take advantage of cloud economics," said James Staten, an analyst at Forrester. "For this reason we'll likely still have mainframes 20 years from now."
As Forrester states in its report, long term, enterprises will have a hybrid portfolio of both cloud and non-cloud workloads, each of which will use different models to optimize resource and agility requirements.
The report further adds that in this future state the majority of system workloads will be cloud-resident while the most mission-critical and absolute core systems will evolve to the cloud at a slower but deliberate pace.
What is most clear is that the model for almost all enterprises will be this concept of a "hybrid cloud". This combination gives businesses the most practical way forward for leveraging the flexibility, scale and cost savings of the public cloud but retain key systems in-house that still require physical location within the organization for reliability, competitiveness and regulatory needs.
When a question like "Is the cloud the future of IT?" arises, there is confusion over what people understand to be the cloud. It is assumed that "cloud" refers to the services that reside in the public cloud. In this model the service you receive is based on shared resources and in general is limited in customization and leveraged through the public internet. But if you mean "private cloud", then the answer is quite different.