Remember when your business housed all of its server infrastructure on site? The days when the server room was hallowed ground, trod upon only by those deemed responsible enough not to trip over the miles of cables snaking from the cabinets that housed the servers or guests deemed important enough to get a peek behind the curtain? For many companies those days are rapidly coming to an end. Cloud Services are growing in acceptance.

When I started in IT, it wasn't unheard of for servers to live on bread racks and to draw their power from standard outlets. Power and network cables formed a tangled mess across the standard flooring that was no different from the rest of the building. Over time, flooring was raised, power was attached to UPS and the bread racks were replaced with server cabinets that had dedicated cabling and ventilation.

All of this raised the investment of the organization. They paid to renovate their server rooms. They paid to re-work their power systems. They paid for new fire suppression systems and additional cooling to keep the equipment operating at an optimal temperature. All of this on top of the premium they paid to the staff required to understand and operate these systems at peak efficiency. The costs rose and resources became scarce. A lot of companies began searching for a better way.

Virtual systems started to appear on the scene. Instead of needing a new physical box for each new server it was now possible to create a virtual server that carved off a portion of a larger device's resources. The need to scale up the physical footprint of an organization's IT infrastructure was no longer directly tied to the number of servers it operated.

However, other challenges remained. There might not be so many boxes in a an organization's server room but there were still some and now they had new requirements. Virtual servers required a new skill set to operate which represented a jump in salaries paid to employees that possessed the needed skills.

Today the new answer is Cloud Services. Cloud services completely out source the server infrastructure for the organization. Gone are the power, facility and operational costs associated with on site data centers. The staffing requirements needed to simply keep the lights on are removed. Organizations can focus on their business and leave IT operations up to organizations in the business of IT operations.

Microsoft and Amazon have both joined the Cloud Services game. They have offerings for customers from the very small, even solo, operation to the large global enterprise, NetFlix and the like. These days anyone can operate out of the cloud.

These two are in a fierce competition for customer business. They are battling each other with lower and lower prices. This makes their offerings more accessible to businesses of all sizes. As more customers come on board more and more problems with Cloud Services are solved.

Cloud Services are growing into the norm for IT infrastructure. They are becoming more affordable as service providers like Microsoft and Amazon begin to compete. Problems such as security, scale, and accessibility are going away. The smart organization will be fully versed in Cloud Services in the very near future.

Question: What Cloud Services options are you pursuing or have you already implemented?