The cloud wave is the "biggest and most disruptive change" the IT industry has ever seen, EMC president and CEO Joe Tucci said in his EMC World keynote speech in Las Vegas yesterday.
Tucci told an audience of 6,000 that in his 40 years of working in the IT industry he has never seen the infrastructure layer, application layer and end-user layer all transform simultaneously.
"Enterprises are transforming their traditional IT infrastructures in x86-based private clouds, and at the same time there is a big move to the public cloud," said Tucci.
"There is also a move to transform applications, whether existing or new, into ones that run in virtual containers and in virtual machines," he added.
"Finally, you have got the end-user platform layer. We are coming from a PC-only world, to a world where you have iPads, smartphones and a tremendous amount of choice. Companies are now looking to provision these in a singular way, and how they are being managed is going through a significant change."
Tucci argued that with all three levels of application simultaneously changing at a rapid rate in the cloud, the IT industry is going to be presented with huge challenges.
"I have seen infrastructure go through changes, I have seen applications go through changes, and of course I have seen end-user devices transform," said Tucci.
"But I have never seem all go through a transformation at exactly the same point in time. This is a massive disruption," he added.
"However, this will also present enterprises with massive opportunities. The hybrid cloud will become the de-facto model, and with this brings an incredible amount of control and agility."
Tucci also said that IT departments are being deluged in data, and staff will continue to be challenged by this over the next decade.
"An IDC study has identified that there are 1.2 zetabytes of information in the digital universe at the moment. This is a massive amount to manage and get value from," said Tucci.
"By the end of 2020 there will be 35 zetabytes of data. In 2011 there will be 300 quadrillion files. This is a daunting task for companies," he added.
"This is good news and bad news. Between now and 2020 there will be massive opportunities for IT staff," he said.
"IT staff are going to become extremely valuable, but they are going to have to hugely increase productivity."