Some analysts argue that 'Cloud Computing' is only for small businesses, ISVs and web startups where there is a need to start low (and cheap) and scale later. The underlying assumption behind the argument is that, in enterprises (read as large businesses), demand is quite predictable and doesn't change so often.
Well, that is not quite true. While number of Employees in the organization may not change so often, their usage patterns are much like any web application startup.
For instance, take an enterprise with 10,000 employees. The enterprise IT department has developed an intranet web application for Performance Reviews. The web application will be accessed by Employees and Managers at the beginning of the year to set Goals. And will be accessed in December to appraise performance with respect to the set goals. The application will also be accessed sparingly by employees and managers through out the year to make necessary status updates, follow ups on action plans etc.
Typically, IT department will design the system such that it can handle the load during the worst peak hours. In most Enterprises, the most productive day to get any thing done is the Last day. So, the system shall be designed to handle the load of all 10000 employees accessing the system in a single day. Assume that need 5 servers to handle the load. So what happens to those 5 servers for the rest of the year?
If the enterprise uses a cloud service (could be an in-house, partner or a public cloud service), the firm can run the least possible configuration throughout the year and scale up to 5 servers during the last few days of the year or whenever they need (like a mid-year reviews in June/July).
There are many Enterprise applications that are normally run with a fixed infrastructure designed to take care of peak loads. For instance Expense reporting applications (normally accessed only at end of month), Payroll applications(normally accessed only at the beginning of the month or once in a fortnight) and even Email servers(normally accessed only during office hours). Most Enterprise applications are not accessed all-the-time. Cloud service is a perfect target for all those applications and could save an enterprise a huge chunk of their budgets.
So, Cloud Computing will benefit businesses large and small alike. In many cases, larger the enterprise, larger will be the savings if Cloud computing is used.