Cloud computing is without a doubt one of the trendiest terms in the ICT industry today. However, for those in the know, the term really represents an evolution of sorts; the next mature step in providing a flexible infrastructure that can be scaled up and down with relative ease, writes Roelof Louw, cloud computing expert at T-Systems in South Africa. 
So let’s substantiate this argument. For the last seven years or so, the world has been dictated by shorter market cycles and constantly changing technologies. To meet this need, technology providers have had to come up with new ways to adapt quickly, enabling organisations to move with times competitively.
Enter dynamic services that effectively represented an operating model that included flexible IT services, reduced operation costs and short-term preparation of relevant applications.
Competitive service, dynamically
In the first half of 2000, companies such as T-Systems started offering the above service models that really enabled their customers to run an agile, flexible environment that gave them peace of mind as opposed to sleepless nights.

At its essence, these services represented an established and comprehensive operating and service model, which supported the primary processes of companies, structured according to exacting needs.

In order to make this work these services were automated and standardised and encompassed organisational functions such as traditional telecommunication resources, network and data transfer capacity as well as IT resources, like storage capacity and processor performance, and even the complete end-to-end provisioning of application solutions.

Effectively, the operating models contained all of the activities necessary for stable and secure services, freeing the company from the burden to provision and manage it.

And here’s the kicker: these services steered company’s ICT responsibilities away from the creation, and back to the management of the required ICT services.

More importantly, since companies could adapt and base their IT resources on need, an allowance of unused (reserve) capacity was no longer necessary.
This eliminated the investment in idle capacity and the routine costs for upkeep.
Enter the cloud

Now, if users fast forward, it becomes blatantly obvious why the companies that have been offering the above are the ones that have become of the major players in the cloud computing space, particularly the hosted private segment.

Companies such as T-Systems have been offering the fundamentals of the private cloud computing for seven odd years: flexible infrastructure, capacity when and where needed, pay-as-you-use and the utilisation of standardised technology infrastructure in a virtualised environment.

It is also the users of these dynamic services that will migrate to the next stage; therefore, the cloud with relative ease. These organisations already experience the benefits that come with running a mature outsourced environment and the private cloud is just the next, natural step.

Moreover, cloud providers that have been offering dynamic services already have major technology infrastructure, R&D investment and the ability to offer it immediately.
They are really the pioneers; in fact, some organisations such as T-Systems now offers 80 standardised interfaces which means it can operate everything that can be virtualised as a cloud computing service.
Cloud computing is the next evolutionary phase in the dynamic services operating model, taking standardisation and cost savings to the next level.

In this light, T-Systems have been a major player in moving the dynamic service model to the cloud. The international analyst firm IDC considers T-Systems to hold a leading market position for private cloud services in Europe, after gaining a head start on competitors by moving early into this market. Simply put, IDC defines private clouds as clouds that are shared only among employees of a single enterprise.

It is good to know that as technology, service-delivery and methodology mature so does the benefits – cloud is case in point.