Cloud Computing is the next ‘Hot Growth’ in tech

For the last couple of months, cloud computing is taking centerstage in almost all press conference that I attended. Almost all technology companies are announcing their cloud computing strategy and offering which led me to think – will the ‘cloud’ be the next big thing in the techworld?

“Cloud computing” has dramatically changed how business applications are built and run. At its core, cloud computing eliminates the costs and complexity of evaluating, buying, configuring, and managing all the hardware and software needed for enterprise applications. Instead, these applications are delivered as a service over the Internet.

Cloud computing has evolved to include platforms for building and running custom applications, a concept known as “platform as a service” (or PaaS). PaaS applications are also referred to as on-demand, Web-based, or software as a service (or SaaS) solutions. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is another offering brought about by the cloud.

Cloud Computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand.

Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. The client typically pays on a per-use basis.

Software as a service (SaaS, typically pronounced [sæs]), sometimes referred to as “software on demand,” is software that is deployed over the internet and/or is deployed to run behind a firewall on a local area network or personal computer. With SaaS, a provider licenses an application to customers as a service on demand, through a subscription or a “pay-as-you-go” model.

‘Platform as a service’ (PaaS) the delivery of a computing platform and solution stack as a service. PaaS offerings may include facilities for application design, application development, testing, deployment and hosting as well as application services such as team collaboration, web service integration and marshalling, database integration, security, scalability, storage, persistence, state management, application versioning, application instrumentation and developer community facilitation. These services may be provisioned as an integrated solution over the web.

IDC recently reported that IaaS and PaaS will account for a greater share of the cloud market by 2015.

So just how big cloud computing would be? Vanson Bourne, an international research firm, surveyed more than 600 IT and business decision makers across the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore, revealing an underlying pressure to do more with less budget (the biggest issue facing organizations, cited by 54 percent of respondents) and demand for lower cost, more flexible IT provisioning.

The study reveals that IT decision makers are confident in cloud computing’s ability to deliver budget savings. Commercial and public sector respondents predict cloud use will decrease IT budgets by an average of 15 percent, with some respondents expecting savings of more than 40 percent. A lack of access to IT capacity is clearly identified as a barrier to business progress, with 76 percent of business decision makers reporting they have been prevented from developing or piloting projects due to the cost or constraints within IT. For 55 percent of respondents, this remains an issue.

Global research highlights indicate that:

– Confidence in cloud continues to grow – 96 percent of IT decision makers are as confident or more confident in cloud computing being enterprise ready now than they were in 2009.

– 70 percent of IT decision makers are using or plan to be using enterprise-class cloud within two years.

– Singapore is leading the shift to cloud, with 76 percent of responding organizations using cloud computing. The U.S. follows with 66 percent, with the U.K. at 57 percent.

– The ability to scale resources up and down in order to manage fluctuating business demand was the most cited benefit influencing cloud adoption in the U.S. (30%) and Singapore (42%). The top factor driving U.K. adoption is lower cost of total ownership (41%).

– Security concerns remain a key barrier to cloud adoption, with 52 percent of respondents who do not use cloud citing security of sensitive data as a concern. Yet 73 percent of all respondents want cloud providers to fully manage security or to fully manage security while allowing configuration change requests from the client.

– Seventy-nine percent of IT decision makers see cloud as a straightforward way to integrate with corporate system

No doubt cloud computing would be big only if providers can address these two issues – acquisition and security. Cloud computing advocates should prove that cloud is indeed more economical, more efficient and effective and the most important thing of all – is secure. If companies will fail to solve these two issues, then the cloud won’t be providing anything but rain.

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