In a few years will managed infrastructure services be of interest to anyone but a small group of providers with massive data centres? That might be an extreme view to take and I'm sure that those vendors who have invested many marketing dollars in convincing the market of the need for infrastructure-as-a-service believe companies will still be spending time, effort and money on the underlying IT infrastructure for many years to come.
But it is hard to escape the conclusion that advances in virtualisation, cloud computing and truly multi-tenanted software that mean applications can be rented are reducing the need for companies to maintain and manage complex IT infrastructures. If you add in the effect of IT consumerisation, particularly in the use of employee-owned equipment, we can start to see a dramatic reduction in the need for traditional infrastructure services in many organisations.
Given the complexities of migrating legacy applications to the cloud, the challenges of data management and the perceived security risks, medium and larger organisations are not likely to go for wholesale adoption of public cloud solutions in the short term. Virtualisation and private and hybrid cloud solutions will predominate for the foreseeable future in these organisations.
But before the IMS vendors relax, a warning… well two actually; increasingly, companies will expect vendors to be able to demonstrate a road map to full scale cloud adoption, and be able to frame that in simple, understandable terminology that shows clear business benefit. Failure to do so will clear the field for Amazon, Google, Salesforce and other similar vendors who absolutely understand about driving adoption coming in from the application delivery angle.
In the shorter term consumerisation, mobile adoption and the convergence of IT and communications could see the IMS vendors market further squeezed by the telcos if they could ever really understand how to break out from being bit-pipe providers; but that's another story!