Cloud Computing Projections from Gartner

A recent article posted on Forbes.com analyzed a report from Gartner on cloud computing which revealed some very promising figures. The future really is in the cloud – whether you’re on board with cloud computing model or not, the report shows a signifcant amount of growth projected from now through 2016. It’s no secret that cloud services are gaining traction, but my crystal ball had yet to show any solid figures. The insights provided in the report reveal some interesting figures that I would like to point out for various models.

Currently, the overall cloud computing market is slated to bring in about $131 billion this year and $210 billion by 2016. Although the overall growth rate is slowly leveling off, spending on cloud services will average a compounded growth rate of 17.7% from 2011 to 2016. Each cloud model is expected to play a role in this projection, with growth continuing at astronomical rates for the next few years.

Realistically, there are only three fundamental models of cloud computing which every flavor of a cloud service falls under. The main three models are IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, though other services have adopted definitions based on the specific functionality of the product. Services such as DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) or BaaS (Backup as a Service) are prime examples, although ultimately these are simply more specific SaaS applications.

In the Gartner report, one such model analyzed is called BPaaS (Business Process as a Service), which is essentially a specific kind of SaaS. This model of cloud computing composes the largest chunk of spending in the cloud market, aside from cloud advertising, which is another model that ultimately falls under the SaaS category. Specifically, BPaaS has become one of the most utilized cloud platforms because every organization needs something to handle business functions, regardless of industry.

The BPaaS is specifically geared towards hosting functions such as ERP and CRM. Previously, having access to powerful systems with these functions was only available to large enterprises that would build a custom solution on an in-house system. Today, businesses that couldn’t exist in the past because a management system was necessary but not available (or affordable) can operate today because of cloud computing.

Of the three main cloud computing models, SaaS holds the largest portion of the market. Though VoIP wasn’t specifically mentioned, this is where hosted VoIP services would be categorized. Hosted VoIP services for both enterprises and SMBs will be major contributors in the growth of cloud computing. Hosted VoIP gives business an opportunity to enjoy features of a robust phone system without having to configure calling policies on an IP PBX or further, reroute network traffic on a the network infrastructure. I speculate that once a VoIP provider decides to reach out to smaller businesses on a national level with an attractive price point and set of features, this will cause VoIP adoption rates to skyrocket and likely expand the already dominant SaaS portion of the market.

A comment mentioning the healthcare industry was made on the Forbes article, and was singled out by the author. Healthcare is one specific area where cloud computing could provide a major benefit because of the challenges currently facing the industry as a whole. For those organizations that choose to adopt a public cloud solution, hosted VoIP should go hand-in-hand, and could result in vastly improved productivity in these facilities.

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