Cloud computing will become a “mega trend” within three years, according to Citrix chief executive Mark Templeton.
Cloud computing is an emerging field that describes the delivery of standardised IT applications and services across the internet – for example, web-hosted wordprocessing and spreadsheet tools.
Speaking to Computing at the Citrix iForum 2008 in Edinburgh, Templeton said the industry is preparing for the growth of such technology on a large scale and that businesses will benefit.
"We're two to three years away from a mega trend," he said.
"We are two to three years away from the intersection of the platforms that are being built by companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon, plus intersection with the customer needs.”
Templeton said that cloud computing is best applied to common or commoditised applications – but the challenge lies in convincing users about the different way of accessing systems.
"Customers need the time to get comfortable with it and all that's different from the proprietary model, and the industry needs time to make it consumable," he said.
"The cloud increasingly absorbs the commodity pieces of computing, which are different for different companies. For example, some would say that customer relationship management is a commodity."
"Companies can leverage the resources of the cloud, which provides the ability to 'pay by the drink'," said Templeton.
"Right now everyone is paying attention to Microsoft and Google because there're a lot of drama in it, but there's a whole lot being built by other companies, including Amazon, and they will compete.
"In terms of the green agenda, it probably won't help in any direct way, but in order to use the cloud you must componentise, turning on and off on demand and so using power and network more efficiently."