Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Unstoppable Enterprise IT Trend – Cloud Computing

The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion (Larry Ellison, chairman, Oracle). One of the most growing IT trends is Cloud Computing.

Really? A new Cloud server is added for every 600 smartphones or 120 tablets in use. AMD reported that 70% of business are either currently using a Cloud Computing solution, or they are investigating one, meaning that they are at least interested in the Cloud if not future advocates of it. 90% of Microsoft’s 2011 R&D budget was spent on Cloud Computing strategy and products.

Is it not enough? U.S. federal agencies adopted a ‘cloud-first’ policy and since then 48% of U.S. government agencies moved a workflow to the Cloud. Cloud providers have increased personnel from zero in 2007 to over 550,000 in 2010. It is a creation of a huge amount of job positions, which means there are a lot of people working on making Cloud Services secure and reliable.

However, when it comes to the perception of the Cloud, we have quite interesting data about what people believe Cloud Computing is. A recent study revealed that: 
  • 95% have used Cloud but don´t know it,
  • 54% claim they have never used the Cloud,
  • 51% believe stormy weather has an effect on Cloud Computing,
  • 29% think the Cloud has something to do with weather,
  • 16% correctly think the Cloud is a place to store, access and share data.

So what Cloud Computing is? “There was a time when every household, town, farm or village had its own water well. Today, shared public utilities give us access to clean water by simply turning on the tap; cloud computing works in a similar fashion. Just like water from the tap in your kitchen, cloud computing services can be turned on or off quickly as needed. Like at the water company, there is a team of dedicated professionals making sure the service provided is safe, secure and available on a 24/7 basis. When the tap isn't on, not only are you saving water, but you aren't paying for resources you don't currently need (2010, Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO, United States Government).”

One of the Cloud computing models, SaaS (Software as a Service), is the layer directly consumed by customers. SaaS gives opportunity to small and midsized businesses to afford a great software solution without investments on the infrastructure, development platform or skilled manpower. SaaS should be used if owners of businesses want to focus on their businesses rather than wasting time in replacing broken pieces of hardware or managing IT infrastructure. There is just one requirement – a computer with a browser. It is a big plus that no software installation is needed.

Cloud Computing gives a lot of advantages. There are some examples of that. The U.S. Federal Government saved about $5.5 billion per year by shifting to Cloud Services. A recent survey of more than 3500 IT decision makers from different parts of the world showed that more than 90% of all companies saw at least one area of improvement in their IT department since they moved to the Cloud and 64% of companies have reduced waste and have lowered energy consumption levels after shifting to Cloud Computing.

We are facing a huge potential of this technology:
  • 425 million people worldwide use Gmail and all email users send over 204 million messages every minute.
  • 150 million people use Apple´s iCloud. Moreover, Apple receives about 47,000 app downloads each minute.
  • 50 million people use Dropbox to save more than 1 million files every 3 minutes.

To add more, 30% of small and mid-size businesses used Cloud software in 2011. Forrester predicts a 6.2% growth in business and government purchases of information technologies in 2014 and even further growth in 2015, up to 8.1%. That growth is consistent with forecasts from GigaOM Research, which expects the total worldwide addressable market for Cloud Computing to reach $158.8 billion by 2014, an increase of 126.5% from 2011. The Cloud Computing market is expected to reach $241 billion by 2020. 

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