It’s been 20 years since a professor coined the term “cloud computing,” using those two words to define what he considered a new “computing paradigm where the boundaries of computing will be determined by economic rationale rather than technical limits alone.”
Fast forward to 2017: Gartner is now predicting that the public cloud computing industry will climb to $236 billion by 2020, up from its current share of $146 billion. That demand will be driven in part by the increasing number of enterprises that are embracing cloud computing as a data center solution.
In 1999, about two years after, Ramnath Chellapa of Emory University termed cloud computing, Salesforce was among the enterprise companies that first corralled the power of cloud computing — with it projected to reach its goal of $10 billion in revenue by the end of 2018.
With experts predicting that 2017 will go down in history for one of the most aggressive migrations to hybrid cloud solutions, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s been shaping the industry — as well as the factors that have made it an attractive solution for companies and institutions.
Cloud computing trends of 2017
Many companies favor a hybrid cloud solution, according to RightScale’s sixth annual State of the Cloud Survey, which was released in January 2017.
Out of approximately 1,000 IT professionals who responded to the survey, 85 percent of enterprises reported having a multi-cloud strategy. That’s up from 82 percent in 2016. At the same time, private cloud adoption slid to 72 percent — down from 77 percent.
Also, the RightScale report that companies are leaning toward putting the majority of their workloads between in the public cloud, with 41 percent of the workload being operated in the public cloud. For enterprise companies, the public cloud represented about 32 percent of the workload.
The report also revealed that some of the previous barriers to cloud adoption are diminishing, with only 25 percent of companies saying that “lack of resources/expertise” declined was a challenge. That compares to 32 percent in 2016. Companies also said that security was less of a concern — cited by 25 percent of respondents compared to 29 percent in 2016.
Factors fueling cloud computing demand
The top factors that have been driving the adoption of cloud computing solutions varies but many companies cite common reasons for shifting their workload to the cloud. Here are five that have emerged as the top benefits of cloud computing.
Data analysis. Understanding big data comes with significant benefits as companies like Salesforce have already discovered. For many years, companies have been challenged to find ways to use the massive amounts of data that they have been gathering. With the use of hybrid cloud solutions, companies have been able to house and process data to better tailor experiences to their customers.
Google has been leading with this as a key attribute of its cloud services. During its recent 2017 Google Cloud Next conference, it cited machine learning and data analytics as the future of the cloud. “Google Cloud is a natural extension of our mission to make information accessible and useful,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
As part of the conference, Google discussed partnerships with companies like SAP and HSBC. Some of the functions cited included automated payment processing and sales discounting.
Internet of Things. Another major driver of cloud migration is the Internet of Things (IoT). which also heavily relies on the ability to gather data to operate connected devices. The ability to analyze and process information will become increasingly critical as IoT demand grows.
According to a recent report reported in Business Insider, 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. That’s up from 10 billion in 2015. The report also indicated that $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions within the next five years.
IoT technology makes tasks automated through smart devices that rely on data delivered through the cloud.
Increased work efficiency. Companies concerned about security risks posed by employees who are leading the charge for BYOD (bring your own device) have no choice but to accommodate this trend, whether small or large.
One report revealed that the number of personal devices (tablets and smartphones) that will be used by employees at work is projected to hit 1 billion by 2018. As TechRepublic puts it, there’s no longer a need to fight it. You just need to prepare for it. Gartner revealed trends that employees have been leading this change by simply using cloud-based tools for work-related tasks.
“The single biggest mistake any IT organization can make is to do nothing,” according to Gartner in recommending that companies set up policies to accommodate BYOD or CYOD (choose your own device) practices.
Also, with innovations that include improved security, the industry is discovering the efficiencies that can be gained with employees working in the cloud.
Moving to cloud-based solutions
Other advantages that underlie the migration to the cloud include the ability to scale quickly and the cost-effectiveness compared to building out a facility.
Companies also find that they are able to devote their internal resources to innovation and other functions, without having the need to provide staffing in IT or security for an internal data center.
Cloud-based solutions opens the door to the possibilities that come with being more flexible and agile.