As IDC sees it, tech's 'Third Platform' disrupts everyone

Bernard Golden

This means that legacy IT is going forward largely unchanged and will experience little additional investment. IT investment is skewed toward third-platform initiatives, even to the extent that some of the investment toward third platform is being funded by ripping out existing legacy environments - presumably by on-premises legacy systems being replaced by software as a service.

If you're a legacy vendor, your financial prospects are bleak. Look at this week's announcement from Oracle that its quarterly results fell short. (At least this time the company blamed currency issues and not, as it did a couple of quarters ago, on an incompetent sales staff.)

If you're an IT user, your strategic issue is how quickly you can reorient your spend. I've spoken recently about how legacy systems are the biggest issue enterprise IT faces, since they're such a budget sinkhole. If 80 percent of your IT budget is spoken for before the year starts, how can you aggressively pursue third platform initiatives?

This also implies that third-platform providers (more on this below) will be on fire as enterprise IT wakes to its critical need to identify, select, learn and implement new platforms. Finally, it means that IT organizations must reskill rapidly - and those IT employees who fail to embrace the new way must be weeded out. Look for lots of employee churn in legacy vendors and users as they adjust to this new infrastructure reality.

Public Cloud Strong, Will Only Get Stronger

In addition, IDC essentially (though not overtly) declares the private vs. public cloud computing war over, with a decisive victory in favor of public cloud computing. In terms of total spending, IDC predicts that 2014 will see $100 billion invested in cloud use, with fully 75 percent spent with public CSPs.

On the face of it, this flies in the face of what private cloud advocates often state - that much of total IT spend occurs in private data centers and, therefore, private cloud computing will eventually emerge as the most common application deployment location.

It seems likely that IDC's assertion of an imbalance between public and private spend has occurred due to rapid public growth - that public cloud adoption is growing so rapidly that it's outstripping what's being spent on internal private environments. If that's the case, the imbalance will be even larger in 2015 and later years. In other words, the skew toward public cloud investment by IT will become even more pronounced in the future, making public cloud environments the de facto winner in the private vs. public debate.

Elsewhere in the report, IDC describes the dramatic change public cloud computing is having on the server market: "In 2014, an astounding 25-30 percent of server shipments (including shipments from ODMs) will go to cloud service providers' datacenters. This will grow to 43 percent by 2017."

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