A new set of predictions by Gartner reports that by 2012, 20 per cent of businesses will not own any IT assets, neither end user nor data centre.
As organizations increasingly dabble in client virtualisation, some are realizing that they don't even need to own PCs if it doesn't really matter on which machine users are working, said Leslie Fiering, vice president with Gartner. "In fact, for some small to mid-sized business, having your own PC is a requirement to show up for work," said Fiering.
Now that client virtualisation takes care of security issues like how corporate data is isolated and protected, Fiering said there is now a growing desire to get help with the "non-strategic burdens of PC ownership."
"We're not completely there, but we're certainly getting there," said Fiering.
There's also a big move among infrastructure service providers to build server farms that offer the security and manageability that customers demand, allowing large organisations to move their IT infrastructures offsite or even off their books, said Fiering.
The role of the value added reseller (VAR) will change, said Fiering, as they offer infrastructure services initially to smaller companies out of their own data centres or those of cloud providers. These VARs, she said, may even own and offer PCs as part of the infrastructure service.
"And then, over time, we will see more and more large organisations following suit," said Fiering.
The report goes on to say that while the need for computing hardware will not disappear, the shift to hosted infrastructure will lead to smaller IT budgets and hardware specialists will be laid off or need to retrain in some other area.
Gartner also predicts that by 2012, India-centric IT service vendors will make up 20 per cent of the leading cloud aggregators in the market because they will use transparency to woo western customers. The research and development efforts of these Indian vendors will also speed up progress in cloud offerings by creating competition in the market, and eventually higher-quality offerings, the report said.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, carbon remediation costs will form part of most IT business cases as a means of measuring savings in the face of increasing threat of penalties for excess carbon emissions. "These penalties could easily range between $10 and $50 per ton of CO2 emitted," the report said.
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