The Cloud: 10 Years Strong & Counting

Brittany Wilson Brittany Wilson - Copywriter October 25, 2016

To say that the cloud has revolutionized the tech industry would be a serious understatement. It’s right up there with microprocessors, the internet and mobile devices as one of the most important technological developments of the past few decades.

In 10 short years, the cloud has become a major disruptive force, forming the backbone of nearly every critical business process today. It has in many ways leveled the playing field between large enterprises and startups by enabling smaller companies to dramatically improve efficiency, speed of innovation and time to market. Now, with 93 percent of companies leveraging at least one cloud service, this technology is one of the most important aspects of a business’s infrastructure.

Virtualization: Where It All Began

Before the cloud became “the cloud,” server virtualization was the order of the day. In the early to mid-2000s, businesses began clamoring for virtualization strategies, which promised improved utilization of available computing resources.


By the late 2000s, virtualization had permeated nearly every business sector, and a range of new providers emerged offering IT organizations the ability to spin up environments faster than ever before. On the heels of virtualization, cloud computing evolved and really came to the forefront near the end of this decade – blazing a trail for the cloud-based technologies businesses rely on today.

A Rapidly Evolving Market Breeds Confusion

As more businesses looked to jump on the cloud bandwagon, countless service providers emerged, each offering its own version of cloud service. With limited established and formalized definition of the cloud, along with the blistering pace of cloud innovation, the cloud services market was flooded with offerings and customers were confused. Service providers looking to grab a piece of the pie simply slapped cloud-related buzzwords onto every offering possible. In this environment, businesses were unsure what actually constituted a true cloud – and if the services they were paying for could truly be considered part of the cloud.

Thankfully, Gartner changed all of this in 2010 with the reveal of the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant, which helped establish concrete definitions for the different types of clouds we know and understand today. This also helped to breed new types of services, including Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Industry Leaders Emerge

Just four years ago, the cloud industry was valued at nearly $6 billion. It was around this time that a number of industry-leading hyperscale cloud service providers began to cement their place in the sector, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Although Amazon took an early lead in the marketplace, Microsoft’s Azure platform has made up a lot of ground in recent years, and may overtake AWS at some point in the future.

The cloud has made transformative leaps and bounds in the last decade, and this is only the beginning for this critical technology. While the major players in the hyperscale cloud space have firmly established themselves, the rest of the cloud industry is evolving to wrap their critical managed services around these core platforms. 

To find out more about the cloud’s journey over the last ten years, as well as what the future holds, download our white paper, A Decade of Cloud >>>

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