They note that established companies are moving fairly slowly to cloud offerings from the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, but that startups (so prevalent in Silicon Valley) take to the model as essentially a standard practice.
Over at gigaom, Joe Weinman delves further into the potential market transformation of providing information technology as a "utility" service, riffing off of Nick Carr's seminal book from last year, "The Big Switch". (I recommend the book, and his blog.)The consensus of the two articles is that the move to the cloud won't be a "big bang" event, but more of an orderly transition led by small, nimble companies first, followed to some extent by established companies and organizations.
I personally wonder what impact this shift will have on utilities and the broader issue of energy use by IT. Clearly, the cloud players are building what I call "utility scale" data centers, with leading edge energy efficiency. But they're also siting them where utility costs are low, which often means the power is generated from coal (like in the Carolinas).
That speaks to a potentially positive contribution to the environment if everybody plays their cards right (and the cloud providers tend to the power supply side of the equation), but I wonder if we're simply deluding ourselves if we think we can lower the slope of the IT energy use curve.
My prediction is that the focus on IT energy use as a negative impact on the environment is going to intensify (even Greenpeace is on the case now). The IT industry will have to double their efforts to avoid this criticism, and utilities are in the enviable position of standing next to the people getting shot at.
The best shield for utilities? Aggressively pursuing energy efficiency programs for data centers and IT.