By 2017, Web-scale IT — a pattern of computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting — will be an architectural approach found operating in 50 percent of global enterprises, according to Gartner Inc. That estimate is a significant increase from less than 10 percent in 2013.

"Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are reinventing the way in which IT services can be delivered," Cameron Haight, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Their capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility. If enterprises want to keep pace, then they need to emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers."

Web-scale IT looks to change the IT value chain in a systemic way, Haight said. Data centers are designed with an “industrial engineering perspective” that looks for every opportunity to reduce cost and waste, he said.

“This goes beyond redesigning facilities to be more energy efficient to also include in-house design of key hardware components such as servers, storage and networks,” Haight said. “Web-oriented architectures allow developers to build very flexible and resilient systems that recover from failure more quickly."

IT organizations have historically had a limited number of vendors from which to source their hardware, whether the need was for servers, storage devices or network equipment, Haight said. But this began to change when large, cloud services providers started designing and assembling infrastructure components.