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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.

Making the Right Choices in the Cloud

shutterstock_328634297While it may be true that cloud services are not the perfect solution for all business computing needs, almost every business has at least some applications for which cloud is, indeed, the best solution. Premises-based solutions will continue to become less prevalent as time goes on. The focus of cloud services on scalability, efficiency, and flexibility is the primary driver of the move away from premises-based computing.

The biggest problem with traditional solutions is that in order to maintain capacity for peak loads, it’s necessary to maintain a great deal more computing resources than are needed the rest of the time. Overspending becomes a necessity. There is also the onerous process required to upgrade server capacity or other infrastructure.

Cloud solves these problems admirably by placing the onus for hardware purchasing and maintenance on someone else’s shoulders. There are three ways in which cloud services can be deployed, each serving a slightly different set of needs.

SaaS

Software as a Service (SaaS) involves the hosting of individual business applications in the cloud, to be accessed remotely by end users. The business has no control over the environment in which the application ‘lives’ under this model.

PaaS

Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides all the infrastructure, management, development, and deployment tools a business needs to create and maintain their own software applications.

IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) consists of hardware and other components (networking, storage, servers, and software) and gives businesses more control over the system than SaaS.

One of the most difficult aspects of moving to the cloud is not deciding what type of service a business needs, but rather what parts of the business can best utilize the cloud in the first place.

What Not to Move

Business critical applications should certainly not be among the first to transition to a new environment. Nor should any applications where performance is touchy, or that require intensive number crunching. Any system with a high level of complexity and tight integration with multiple apps should also probably wait until the organization has more cloud experience.

What Should be Moved

Non-critical systems are a good first step, including departmental applications where a smaller number of people will be affected by growing pains. Email servers and other well-established and easy to maintain apps are also likely candidates.

Other Considerations

Before making the jump into the cloud, it’s important to consider a few other details:

  • What are the company’s requirements for a service level agreement (SLA)?
  • Is a service provider able to provide the required level of security with the type of cloud model that fits the business’s other needs?
  • Do any of the apps that will be hosted in the cloud have special requirements?

The cloud isn’t more difficult to understand than on-site resources; it’s the same, only different. The differences can, however, complicate individual situations and turn wrong decisions into costly mistakes. Contact us for help simplifying the complicated.

 

PaaS: It’s All About Applications

shutterstock_86924866When the subject is Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), everyone from industry experts to enterprise customers has their own take – what PaaS is, what it should be. In spite of the terms and definitions bestowed, it all boils down to what PaaS does and does well – applications.

Enabling applications is at the heart and soul of PaaS, it’s also what enterprises value most from the technology. For enterprises, PaaS is the key to accelerating application development, bringing related products and services to market faster.

A Better Way to Enable Applications

For those in search of a better way to develop applications, PaaS offers an avenue of opportunity. However, PaaS is but a fundamental part of a larger process designed to make companies more agile and better prepared to tackle challenges. The “third platform,” as it is called, combines the cloud, mobile, social, and “Big Data” to help companies achieve technical innovation and flexibility.

Third platform initiatives are likely to be the major focus of the next wave of IT innovation. A growing number of start-ups are now relying on the third platform to disrupt established players and gain an edge in the market. Adopting key aspects of PaaS in terms of application development can help enterprises remain ahead of changing needs and preferences in the market.

It’s not just a matter of being flexible when it comes to application development. Being open is another crucial element of the process. Open Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for easier third-party integration should also be a key goal.

Constant Innovation is the Key

A company that stands still may as well be dead in the water as far as customers and the competition are concerned. Constant technical innovation is the key to staying profitable and relevant, enabling an organizational environment that allows for quick thinking and even quicker action is critical. The application development process itself should be innovative and adaptable to a wide variety of ever-changing trends and situations as well.

It’s crucial that developers have access to the tools they need to quickly build, experiment with, and deploy applications without delay. For instance, automated provisioning allows developers to deploy applications without waiting for IT assistance, saving valuable time and freeing up essential resources.

It’s also crucial that companies have the ability to roll back changes made during rapid prototyping without negatively impacting the user experience. The ability to quickly rectify mistakes and make improvements ensures developers can maintain a high standard of application development.

Any Infrastructure, Anywhere

Being locked into a particular technology infrastructure can be a tremendous drawback, especially in business conditions that necessitate a high level of mobility. The ability to migrate applications from private to public cloud as workloads dictate is a valuable asset to have. The most valuable infrastructure is one that is open, and available for critical projects.

The amount of time and effort figuring out what the term PaaS really means is better spent understanding PaaS’ benefits. Swift application development through improved agility, broadened technical resources, and a language-agnostic platform that allows developers to deploy to a broad array of environments with minimal effort.