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The Explosive Growth of the Cloud

Cloud GrowthThe IT landscape is shifting, and cloud services aren’t just center stage – they’re overwhelming the stage.

The Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide, a publication of market intelligence firm IDC, analyzed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) spending numbers across various global markets and a range of industries. The findings are clear: with a 2017 spending increase of 24.4% over 2016, cresting $120 million worldwide, cloud growth outstrips all other IT growth by a factor of seven. And the rate of growth is forecasted to remain high — above 20% per year through 2020.

SaaS Domination

Cloud computing is still dominated by SaaS applications, though there’s no guarantee that SaaS will remain the flagship offering of the cloud. SaaS represents about two-thirds of current cloud spending, but its growth is slower than IaaS and PaaS trajectories: through 2020, PaaS is expected to grow at a rate of 30.1% each year, while IaaS outstrips it at 32.2% annually.

Adoption by Industry

Not all industries are seeing equal cloud adoption. Manufacturing, professional services, and finance are forecasted to spend the most on cloud services, accounting for around a third of all cloud spending. The professional services industry also leads the pack in cloud growth, with a spending rate growing by almost 24% per year.

Cloud Spending

Despite the potential expense of moving large organizations (and entrenched infrastructure) to the cloud, companies with over 1,000 employees aren’t shy about migration: they account for over half of all cloud spending, and their spending rate is increasing faster than companies with fewer employees.

Global Cloud

Generating almost two-thirds of all global cloud revenue, the United States is the largest current public cloud market – though the Asia/Pacific region (Japan not included) and Latin America are each growing at faster rates: Asia/Pacific at 28%, and Latin America at 26.6% annually. In fact, globally, the US has one of the slowest cloud growth markets, increasing at a rate just shy of 20% per year.

As the market matures, it’s likely that previously untapped markets will come to regard the cloud as an essential piece of infrastructure. In particular, European markets have been more resistant to cloud adoption than those in the US, but they show healthy growth which is forecasted to continue through the end of the decade.

Domestically and worldwide, for large companies and small, the cloud is growing – and it’s not predicted to stop any time soon.

Finding the Silver Lining in the Cloud

shutterstock_92683114With cloud services continuing to blanket the market, analysis paralysis has truly set in for countless clients and agencies. Cloud computing and storage is the next big thing, and the overabundance of services has resulted in a quagmire of uncertainty and endless options. No truer is this than when it comes to finding the right vendors to meet a company’s needs. The only way for a business to tackle this challenge is to focus on one clear and simple cloud goal.

 

The Cloud Dilemma

Cloud-based services are now visible in several industries and applications. From digital cable to telecommunications, it is next to impossible to keep up with all of the changes and developments. From Cisco and Microsoft to NEC and Shoretel, there are now over 40 different ways to utilize and implement cloud services on-site or from remote locations. As such, it can be overwhelming for a business to effectively analyze and assess which services meet its goals. Additional complications include:

  • new cloud products, services, and changes happening at a moment’s notice,
  • cloud services evolving based on existing industry trends and changes,
  • shifts within the landscape that are affecting how cloud experts offer services to clients, and
  • clients possessing little to no knowledge of cloud benefits.

With seismic shifts happening in the cloud industry at rapid rates, only organizations that know precisely what they need are benefiting.

Cloud Cover

Sifting through the many cloud options available today can be an obstacle that limits productivity and performance. While it’s great for clients to carefully weigh their options and choices, selecting the right vendor has become a time-consuming and tedious process. In order to secure the best possible outcome, there are many factors to consider:

  • Company executives and staff must be on the same page to meet cloud initiatives and directives.
  • Effective and strategic planning is needed to find the right and most affordable cloud solutions for enterprises.
  • Businesses must take into account all potential opportunities, risks, expenses, and management challenges.

Only with these options and facets in mind can a sound and lasting decision be made about which cloud provider or service to attain.

Gray Clouds

Unfortunately, this level of strategic planning rarely takes place anymore. Many businesses simply do not have the time, and even having a solid management plan does not guarantee finding the right cloud solution. It can take several attempts along with trial and error to finally secure a cloud provider and achieve desired results.

By firmly establishing a single clear goal, clients can amend or modify solutions based on their particular needs and aspirations. Company objectives must be precise throughout the chain of command. Setting the simplest goal is the only way to truly find the silver lining in the cloud.

Weighing Your Cloud Computing Choices

shutterstock_107141402Cloud computing continues to gain attention and momentum as companies learn about and experience the benefits of Internet-based solutions. The use of cloud solutions is increasing exponentially while traditional data center computing models are declining for the first time.

Virtualization via cloud computing creates business efficiencies, adds flexibility, increases server capacity, and provides companies with the benefits of distributed data. The positives of the cloud are universal and the cloud computing market has evolved to support four primary models for cloud deployments. Each model has its own benefits and drawbacks that must be weighed when making a cloud choice.

Keep It In-House

The idea of “the cloud” gives rise to images of equipment housed and data stored in some vague place. In reality, the cloud can reside within the physical confines of a company’s premises or at a private data center.

Private cloud solutions allow companies to provide the benefits of the cloud to employees while maintaining tight control over the network equipment and applications available to them. Companies with the resources to deploy the necessary equipment and maintain it over the life of the network may gravitate toward this option, especially if in-house control of assets is a primary concern.

Third-Party Options

Some companies, particularly smaller organizations or companies that only need the cloud for a limited time, may not have the resources or time to deploy and maintain an in-house private cloud network. For these companies, the ability to flip a switch and activate cloud services without the startup cost and work is attractive.

Public cloud offerings hosted and maintained by a third-party provider might be an ideal choice for this segment. The provider services many end users with the same resources, thereby aggregating the costs among those users and allowing each to pay only for what they need, when they need it.

The Best of Both Worlds

Many companies want the simplicity, flexibility, and scalability offered by public cloud solutions, but they are hesitant to cede such a high level of control to a third party. Enter the hybrid solution, which gives companies the benefits of both models.

Using a hybrid approach, a company can still tap the resources and benefits built into the public cloud model while retaining some control within the company. This model allows a company to adjust the network to meet its changing needs. Companies can also use a hybrid approach to offload traffic during peak usage on the private network temporarily to the public cloud.

Community Cloud

A relatively new concept, the community cloud model allows equipment to be hosted either privately or publicly. Companies may use this model to test public-cloud products and features. Within this model, servers do not have to be dedicated to specific users, but can be logically segmented among several end users while maintaining the security of a dedicated environment.

Making the Choice

Choosing the right model will depend on each company’s business environment and needs as well as the type of data that will be hosted on the network. A careful evaluation of the company’s needs and how each cloud model might fulfill those needs is crucial when deciding how to deploy cloud services.