SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

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2014 Cloud by the Numbers: Stats on Adoption Prove the Computing Trend is Really a Technological Revolution

Blank cloud shaped speech bubbles Last year, statistics rolled in from numerous sources that all revealed the same basic fact: cloud computing has changed the technological landscape. The technological method, partially because of its catchy title, is viewed by many as a trend. However, its growth has become so explosive that the field is now beyond the bounds of trendiness. It’s really become a computing revolution. Ellen Messmer of Network World remarked that trust was still an issue for some companies that were concerned about privacy and security, but that companies from all economic sectors were “starting to give it a try.” How the cloud is used by businesses According to Gartner, use of the environment by businesses in 2013 was across a broad spectrum. Almost half of it – 48% – fell into the general category of advertising platforms. The other top-three most common uses in the business world were for BPaaS (business process as a service, a form of business process outsourcing) – 28% – and SaaS (software as a service) – 15%. Less popular forms of the technology included IaaS (infrastructure as a service) – 5%; automation, security, or management – 3%; and PaaS (platform as a service) or application development – 1%. The solution is typically discussed in terms of software, platforms, and infrastructure. Obviously each of those are listed above. However, it is used extensively for marketing purposes that lie outside the structure of the IT department. Once that aspect is set aside and the approach is examined specifically within an IT framework, BPaaS stands out. The infrastructural environment’s use for both business processes and software indicate, says David Linthicum of InfoWorld, that its success is expressed more in terms of “tangible activities for business users” than by the more overarching, systemic offerings provided by infrastructural or platform services. Growth of the cloud In 2013, GigaOM Research and North Bridge Venture Partners conducted a study in collaboration with almost 5 dozen businesses. Their survey gathered information from hosting providers and business executives to determine the technology’s growth rate and the factors promoting and preventing its adoption. The survey found that between 2012 and 2013, the percentage of businesses using the method in some form rose 8%, reaching a total of 75% adoption. These figures align with projections established by GigaOM that show the solution’s global market expanding to $159 billion this year, the result of 127% growth from its 2011 level. Major factors leading businesses to the approach include scalability and reliability. However, the most popular factor for adoption of the environment is expense: 7 out of 10 GigaOM/North Bridge survey respondents, including the pools of IT and general business executives, believe that a transition to the IT system would provide an equivalent or improved total cost of ownership (TCO). Government benefiting from cloud just as business world is Just as industry is benefiting from the model, so is the public sector, according to a couple of case studies reported in StateTech Magazine:
  1. Somerset County in Maine increased energy efficiency with the new strategy, cutting its IT costs by 40%.
  2. The Southeast Library System, which provides computing services to over 7 dozen libraries in Minnesota, reduced its expenses over $20,000 by transitioning to an email platform based on the approach.
StateTech’s Jimmy Daly notes that the solution has been on the rise in government because it has experienced such massive success among consumers: personal acceptance by employees has led to organizational acceptance by governmental entities. Daly also indicates that the adjustments in attitude are backed up by hard facts about how dominant it has become as an emergent technology:
  • InformationWeek predicts that the total services provided through the method  will represent a worldwide market of $180B by 2016;
  • Business Insider revealed in 2012 that even at that point, 4 out of 5 state and local governmental CIOs were using some form of services reliant on the technology for their organizations;
Also per Business Insider, 3 out of 5 CIOs of state and local governmental systems listed the transition to the new IT system as their #1 priority in 2012. It would appear, based on the strong growth of the strategy in both the public and private spheres in 2013, that prioritization became action the following year. International reach of the cloud model The adoption of the method is an IT phenomenon that extends around the globe. Its impact is not surprising in the Information Age, indicating how – in many ways – the Web has democratized technology, spreading similar standards and practices across the planet. For instance, by 2016, the system will represent the majority of new IT expenditures in India, says a Gartner study on the subject. The report indicates that 2016 will be the true game-changer year for the solution – diverging from Linthicum’s assessment that 2013 represented the peak of the approach, at least regarding the Indian market – because hybrid versions will start to become commonplace within enterprises that year. The study suggests that by 2018, almost half of India’s companies will have a hybrid environment in place. Indian Businesses, much like those in other countries, have had security-related concerns regarding the strategy due to its virtual, non-physical structure. Although companies have generally been concerned about the inability to physically locate virtual machines, making protection methods necessarily more sophisticated, Gartner notes that another major challenge for adoption of the model has been confusion. According to the research company, the concept of the new method has been defined in numerous ways, some of which have conflicted. Gartner research VP Chris Howard stated in October 2013 that people and businesses have misunderstood the technology as a single system, when it is actually “a spectrum of things complementing one another and building on a foundation of sharing.” Howard further elaborated that the diversity of elements that comprise the approach’s techniques, in combination with some companies’ desires to isolate services, have generated three distinct types of hosting that makes use of the strategy: public (the standard model), private (a standalone structure for one business), and hybrid (a mixture). It’s clear from the above statistics that this form of computing has generated an IT revolution. The strategy is being adopted quickly. Its rise to prominence is evident in both the private and public sectors, in the United States and across the globe. Its widespread acceptance has created markets for three distinct categories of the system: public, private, and hybrid.

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