After virtualization and cloud, what’s left on premises?

Extreme virtualization leaves just switches, access points, secure routers

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How much of an organization’s IT capabilities – including processors, storage and network – can be virtualized and moved into the cloud?

Quite a bit, according to Craig Mathias, principal at advisory firm Farpoint Group. The enterprise network of the future will consist of access points, switches to provide interconnect and power, and routers that combine security functions, traffic optimization and related capabilities. That’s it. Everything else will be provisioned as services in the cloud. (See also: What is virtualization?)

So-called “extreme virtualization” will enable continuous access to appropriate computing and information, even as requirements evolve over time, Mathias says. Economics will drive the transition, as enterprises look to better manage IT costs and curb spending on traditional capital investments and ongoing maintenance.

The transition will occur over the next decade, Mathias says. It’s already underway, with significant adoption of cloud services for compute, storage and network functions. Some network management and operations platforms have also shifted to the cloud.

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