Over the past few years, the cloud has become an increasingly pervasive resource in the business world. These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find an employee that doesn't use the cloud in one manner or another – whether they're checking email, chatting with colleagues on a messaging platform or accessing an online application, they're engaging in cloud computing.
According to the 2013 Future of Cloud Computing Survey, cloud use is continually on the rise. The survey found that 75 percent of respondents noted that they utilized a cloud platform in some fashion, according to North Bridge. This is a considerable increase from the 67 percent of cloud users in 2012. In fact, this growth is forecasted to continue overall, as Gigaom Research estimated that the global cloud computing market will reach $158.8 billion in revenues this year alone.
The survey also found that the business sector is the industry currently driving adoption of cloud systems. Within the current environment, organizations account for more than half – 52 percent – of all cloud applications aimed at advancing enterprise priorities. Furthermore, a quarter of the 16 cloud applications tracked for the study were used by more than half of all businesses. As this trend moves forward, the survey suggested that companies will utilize more cloud IT apps, including those connected with big data, mobile, systems management, disaster recovery, help desk and security processes.
The study also found that while still a main concern for those who have yet to adopt the cloud, security is starting to "lose its label as the primary inhibitor" to deploying Web-based systems. In 2012, 55 percent of respondents noted that their security worries prevented them from adopting the cloud. Last year, that figure decreased to 46 percent.
"Cloud services are being adopted and used in a 'boundary-less' way where users are seamlessly integrating them at home and work across all their devices," noted David Card, Gigaom research vice president. "In fact, businesses themselves are adopting the boundary-less approach as they look to disintermediate and squeeze money from their value chains, focus on their core competencies and 'out-service' (outsource non-core services) via the cloud. With all this in mind, they are looking to gain competitive advantage from a core benefit of the cloud, namely continuous innovation by passing it along to their customers in the form of faster time to market and responsiveness to market needs."
Companies leave security fears behind to adopt public clouds
Recently, ReadWrite noted that – due to the rise in adoption of the public cloud – an inherent belief running rampant in the cloud sector was clearly flawed. The source noted that, in the past, many held firmly to the assumption that enterprises would never use a public cloud architecture for anything beyond development and test workloads.
"The good stuff was still running behind the firewall, and always would," wrote ReadWrite's Matt Asay. "Today, it's clear that such reasoning is flawed and completely out-of-whack with actual enterprise computing trends, which heavily favor public cloud computing."
But what it is about public cloud systems – like those from Amazon Web Services – that is spurring the shift toward such an infrastructure? The source noted that the convenience offered through a public cloud arrangement is one of the top elements attracting businesses to utilize it. Since information is more accessible in a public cloud, business employees are free to leverage these resources in a simplified and streamlined manner.
Hybrid: The best of both worlds
However, Asay also pointed out that there are many in the cloud computing space that are arguing for the validity of a hybrid cloud arrangement, noting that it is possibly the "most convenient of all."
The main value prop of a hybrid cloud is that it provides the best of both public and private cloud systems. Not only is the security of a private cloud arrangement possible, but the accessibility of a public cloud is, as well – not to mention all the scalability and cost saving benefits available through any type of cloud. In this way, as an increasing number of companies opt for hybrid cloud infrastructures, the distinction between other types of cloud systems is slowly fading away, Asay stated.
Sys-Con Media's Lori MacVittie underscores Asay's opinion, noting that although many wish for a world without data centers, these facilities are not likely to be eliminated at any time in the near future. Thus, she argues that public and private arrangements both offer their share of individuals benefits, and that hybrid clouds should become the new standard to ensure that systems are better integrated.
"We need to consider that if the future is hybrid and composable, that we ought to be able to manage such a[n] environment more seamlessly and with greater attention to architectures that not only accept that premise, but exploit it to the advantage of IT and the business," MacVittie wrote.