Instead of a slow-moving fluffy white cloud image, the cloud computing industry should use a tornado – that might be a better way to visualize how fast cloud computing is growing today. Amazon is dominating, but is followed by the usual suspects: IBM, Apple, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Rackspace, to name a few.
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“The cloud” is frequently in the news, but there is also a fair amount of confusion, outside of technology teams. What is cloud computing and why do businesses need to care? IBM published this handy infographic: 5 Reasons Businesses Use The Cloud. Among the reasons: Collaboration, better access to analytics, increasing productivity, reducing costs, and speeding up development cycles.
- By 2015, end-user spending on cloud services could be more than $180 billion.
It is predicted that the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by 2018
- If given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud, 25% of respondents would choose storage
- By 2014, businesses in the United States will spend more than $13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services.
According to Jack Woods at Silicon Angle, there’s some serious growth forecasted and he lists 20 recent cloud computing statistics you can use to make your case for why you need the cloud or to understand why you should consider it for your business. The above bullet points come from his post.
At the simplest level, cloud computing lets you share files and resources via the web. If you run a small business, you read about cloud storage as a way to backup and protect your data. Companies, such as, Google Docs (now Drive), DropBox, Carbonite, Cubby, and a slew of others. If you need to choose an online backup provider, take a look at Tim Fisher’s post: 40 Online Backup Services Reviewed.
Looking beyond online backup, to understanding where the cloud is going, I look to Louis Columbus who writes extensively about the cloud here on Forbes and elsewhere. After reading Louis’ Big Data post a couple of weeks ago, 2014: The Year Big Data Adoption Goes Mainstream In The Enterprise, (linked in left column) it made it clear that big data takes big crunching power and is part of why many midsized and large enterprises are not leveraging in-house servers – there is no leverage. You want to leverage a cloud provider like those listed above that can scale up and down with your computing needs.
Well known tech guru, Om Malik, can help you wrap your head around cloud computing and its enormous, rapid growth in his interview with Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. Vogels spells out how the big impact of the cloud will take place overseas, outside the USA, especially for small and midsized businesses. You can read additional 2014 from GigaOm here.
Forbes contributor, Joe McKendrick, penned a useful post as I was writing this today: 9 ‘Worst Practices’ To Avoid With Cloud Computing. It includes some great ideas to help you evaluate whether the cloud can help your business or not (listed to the left).
From improved collaboration to productivity increases, the cloud has the potential to change your business. The cloud is rapidly growing, moving quickly – if you’ve been on the fence around investing in new infrastructure, you should look to the cloud. This post from Network Computing lists out a bunch of recent stats around big data and the cloud.
Final note: The Myth Of Online Backup by Tony Bradley here on Forbes is excellent and highlights how you need to read the fine print for any cloud service you use. He explains a not-so-extreme example of a photographer using Carbonite to back up her 2.5 Terabytes of important, wouldn’t-want-to-lose customer data. Worthy read.
Disclosures: I’ve been covering and using the cloud for quite some time. I wrote a Small Business Guide to Cloud Computing for Small Business Trends (where I am the product review editor) in late 2010 and I think that many of the 16 questions one should ask are still useful. I am also on the paid blogger team for IBM Midsize Insider, which covers technology pertinent to midsize companies, including the cloud, among other topics.