Cloud computing is growing at an unprecedented rate, and shows no signs of slowing down in 2014. Gartner predicts that 70 to 80 percent of cloud adoption in 2014 will come in the form of hybrid or public clouds.
But beyond this general prediction, what are some of the major themes we can expect to see in cloud computing in the coming year?
- Concerns over cloud security will diminish as cloud providers step up their education efforts. While the inherent benefits of the cloud are understood, it’s the cloud’s perceived shortcomings – namely security – that have held back further growth. Businesses of all sizes express concerns over how secure their critical applications and data are in a cloud-based environment. Many organizations have overcome this educational hurdle, but for others, a lack of knowledge has stymied their interest in the cloud. Providers will significantly ramp up their educational efforts in 2014 to try to enhance their bottom-line results.
- Big Data is creating tremendous growth potential for the cloud in the financial and healthcare sectors, and we’ll see significant growth from these verticals in 2014. In healthcare, electronic health records (EHR) generate a volume of data and storage requirements that makes a cloud-based environment ideal, because further investment in infrastructure is cost-prohibitive. Likewise, in the financial segment, IRS and SEC regulations regarding the maintenance of records are necessitating a move to the cloud.
- More SMBs will use virtualization technologies, but education will remain the biggest stumbling block. Word of the reduced capital expenditures offered by virtualization is spreading among SMBs, and those that are upgrading their infrastructure in 2014 will consider adopting virtualization technologies. However, lack of IT savvy about virtualization – especially from companies with small or one-man IT shops – and the flood of new companies saturating the market with cloud and virtualization messages could hold back wider scale adoption. With so many companies popping up offering cloud-based services – and defining cloud in so many different ways – the concept gets muddled in the mind of the average corporate decision-maker, who must figure out which solution fixes his or her unique problem. The confusion factor cannot be overlooked as a potential hindrance to adoption.
- Microsoft’s new OS – Windows Server 2012 R2 – Windows Server 2012 R2 closes the gap significantly between Microsoft and VMware, and we’ll see more and more Microsoft-based businesses moving into the virtualization space. With the volume of SMBs running Windows, this robust virtualization offering should make a real difference in terms of cloud adoption.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will continue its upward trajectory. While multiple analyst projections place cloud growth over the next five years at approximately 25 percent, much of that increase is in SaaS applications, and not in infrastructure virtualization. SaaS packages address the individual needs of many companies, and their simplicity will drive adoption.
Underlying all of these trends is the customer experience. If companies can make the transition to the cloud more easily, and become more educated about the cloud, they become more likely to adopt additional cloud-based services.