IT can hardly be eliminated soon because desktop support and LAN support are still needed.
Cloud services are still limited to a couple popular application such as email, CRM, etc. I can see there will be more coming in the near future. The ultimate question that service providers need to ask themselves is what makes sense to move to the cloud and what is better off to stay local.
With the evolution of Java by Sun Micro systems way back in early nighties it was expected that JAVA would be truly a platform independent way of developing the applications and the desktop PCs would be just thin machines requiring only browsers. All applications would be downloaded as Applets in a platform independent language ( byte codes) and the complementary servlets on the server would work with data sent by the applets .
Cloud computing has taken this paradigm to completion . It has completely eliminated the requirement of an IT infrastructure with the businesses and allowed them to concentrate more than their core business leaving the IT to a third party service provider. With high bandwidth networks and high capacity 24x7 data centers this has become a more economical option for smal and medium businesses.
The cloud doesn't remove IT from the equation. Rather it just centralizes it and turns it into a subscription model service. Everything that is required of local IT is still required at a cloud vendor, such as Amazon. It's just built into the subscription costs.
There are some differences between what we now call cloud computing and what was used back in the early days of computing. Back then, many organizations that needed computing capability but couldn't afford it would rent time on someone else's mainframe. All application data was stored on remote computers. as were the applications and were accessible from anywhere you had a phone line and a terminal.
Today, data and applications are accessed via HTML or directly with TCP/IP. Back then, data and applications were accessed by an arcane set of JCL (job control language) instructions passed to the computer from a truly dumb terminal or a punch card reader.
Really, the differences are smaller than the similarities. I'm just waiting for a newly named incarnation of "batch processing" to come along.
Oh, I dunno. I don't buy most of the hype about "the cloud."
The progression is actually very simple, IMO. The PC was a machine that gave users all the power. Then the Internet tied together PCs, mainframes, and whatever else. The World Wide Web is the virtualized abstraction of services that could be reached over the Internet, and those in need of a new trend to talk about have now coined the term "the cloud."
Note that so-called "cloud services" have existed on the Web, essentially from the start. Web-based mail, for example, or filling out your taxes online, or doing your banking and investing online. These are all made possible by html, they all worked across multiple PC OSs, and the functionality has been exploited for years and years. At best, this "cloud" is nothing more than a matter of degree. "More of the same," might be the best way to characterize it.
As to IT, I would say that it was local networks, e.g. local corporate networks, and then the Internet, that began to restore power to IT. Simply because users were now dealing with servers, and servers were not under the control of other users. Guess what? That has NOT CHANGED. So-called "cloud servers," virtual or not, are still in the hands of IT. Maybe or maybe not the same IT of your enterprise network, but IT nonetheless.
The Cloud is neither about a battle between the users and IT, nor is it a battle between companies and operating systems.
The Cloud represents an evolution of services from localized to centralized hosting. It is very similar to the 1960's IBM business model, where the technical burden of operating a complex computer and data network was contracted to a third party.
To be successful, the Cloud must provide 100% data integrity and security. Until then it will be too risky for a company to risk its IP and data anywhere other than a 100% controlled internal environment.
Evan then, this transfer will not happen over night. Trust must be earned. Current Cloud providers have yet to earn that trust.