Enterprises are stepping on the gas in moving services to the cloud as they innovate to stay competitive and agile against a backdrop of rapidly changing technologies, customer preferences, and a weak global economy. Although CIOs in general have preferred private cloud, the move to public cloud services is accelerating as vendors allay fears of lock-ins by optimizing data centers and by offering elastic platforms that support smooth migration and interoperability.
This trend is in line with the latest Gartner forecast that IT spend on enterprise public cloud services is expected to hit $109 billion in 2012, up from $91 billion in 2011, and reach $207 billion in 2016. In fact, spends on public cloud have been cited as a key factor driving global IT growth.
Business process as a service (BPaaS) is most in demand but as enterprises grow more familiar with the cloud, they are likely to move other parts of their data center resources to the cloud. Industry forecasts point to bright growth prospects for software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Although customers have been reluctant to move mission-critical applications to the cloud, core CRM and ERP are already being hosted outside on-premise infrastructure. Companies are also finding that, along with compute, storage and backup services, services such as clustering, load-balancing, and database or middleware management meets most of the workload requirements of enterprises.
Enterprises have been cautious in switching to the public cloud because of their high comfort level with on-premise IT infrastructure, and in some cases, due to regulatory compliance issues. But the ability to get the best in terms of connectivity, latency and availability is inducing a greater number of enterprises to embrace cloud technologies. Besides, by adopting cloud services, CIOs can improve IT users' experience and foster conditions for innovation.
Along with enterprises shifting to cloud-based services, the voracious appetite for digital data from consumers is also driving the demand for public cloud. The popularity of camera-equipped mobile devices and better broadband connectivity will mean that average storage for individuals will grow by leaps and bounds. This could, in turn, make cloud service providers offer more free storage space for consumers and drive demand for public cloud.
All this means only one thing: public cloud is going to drive IT sector growth in the years to come.