More and more companies will see value in allowing companies that are better suited to handle their infrastructure, while they just plug and play their data into that infrastructure backbone. If you haven’t guessed, it is the birth of cloud computing.

Unless you’ve been sleeping this past year, you’ve heard about cloud computing. It seems as if many companies are looking at this heavily for the future. Companies such as VMware seem to be staking their future on it.

Here is my understanding on how cloud computing will change how IT works today. (If you disagree, feel free to comment in the discussion.) The economy today is not in the best shape it has ever been, and companies want to spend less and less money on IT servers and infrastructure. With this in mind, companies are looking to outsource IT and take advantage of the SAAS model to handle any third-party applications that require constant babysitting and upgrades.

So the bean counters do the math and want to outsource the infrastructure to outside companies dedicated to handling the IT backbone. They don’t want to deal with the cooling power costs and the upgrading and maintaining the infrastructure. They want to outsource all of that and just own the data and simply plug it in to an existing cloud infrastructure like we plug a light into a socket. And when we are done, we can either turn off the light or, better yet, pull the plug and find a better socket or vendor. So basically, we can move to any vendor who handles the infrastructure, but we always own the most vital part: the data.

We are slowly becoming dependant on cloud computing from a consumer side and don’t even realize it. For years, I managed my own e-mail; I had to back it up and be the owner of that information. Then, one day a cute little company sent me a very special invite to a service call Gmail; I signed up, and Gmail became my e-mail provider. They store my information and keep it readily available. They back up my data and are responsible for it. It is my information, but the information is stored in the cloud. The amount of data I can store on Gmail increases yearly.

While cloud computing will not happen overnight, I do see it emerging heavily over the next five years. You will begin to see many startups take the spotlight, and more and more companies will tap into the idea of letting someone else manage the infrastructure, while they just plug in the information. What do you think about cloud computing and its potential impact on IT?