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The Pace of Public Cloud Computing Change

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Private Versus Public Cloud Computing

A plethora of applications are being considered for the cloud, but it may take at least another year before cloud computing goes mainstream in the enterprise.

Given all the noise about cloud computing, the average IT person might be forgiven if they were operating under the delusion that everything related to enterprise IT is about to shift to the cloud tomorrow, especially when it comes to public cloud computing services.


The folks at Gartner today were kind enough to bring a little perspective to the cloud computing conversation as part of a general update on worldwide IT spending. Spending on public cloud computing services is definitely one of the fastest-growing segments of IT, but as a percentage of the overall IT market, the whole category is still in its comparative infancy.


According to Gartner, the public cloud computing services market is now expected to grow from about $70 billion in 2010 to $180 billion in 2015. While that represents a pretty healthy growth rate, Richard Gordon, a Gartner research vice president, notes in a webinar that can be found here that the total spend in public cloud computing services will still represent a fraction of what will be spent worldwide on IT in 2011 alone - never mind what that number might actually be in 2015.


In fact, even accounting for a sharp decline in pricing, other forecasts suggest that, at most, cloud computing in one form or another is only going to touch about 20 percent of the data in the enterprise by 2015.


Gordon says the reality of the situation is that many cloud computing enthusiasts are overestimating the rate of change that large enterprises can realistically embrace. Once they understand that issue, Gordon says vendor projections for public cloud computing growth should become more tempered.


As for the worldwide IT market, Gartner says that growth remains steady even despite events such as the earthquake and tsunami that racked Japan. Unfortunately, the 7.1 percent growth forecast put forward by Gartner for 2011 is less rosy than it sounds once you take into consideration the falling value of the U.S. dollar. Nevertheless, the good news is that the Gartner forecasts suggest that the IT market continues to recover at a relatively steady, if modest, rate.

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