Businesses are truly coming around to all that cloud computing has to offer. While the cloud has been around for years, only recently has it reached levels of popularity where it isn’t hyperbole to refer to it as a global phenomenon. This has lead to many companies taking advantage of the public cloud’s many benefits, which itself has lead to increased growth and expansion in the public cloud market. Recent statistics bear this claim out. According to reports from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the amount of money spent on worldwide cloud IT infrastructure was expected to increase by 26 percent by the end of 2015. This increased spending is largely attributable to the expansion of public cloud data centers all over the world. The IDC has also reported that the total worth of the public cloud market will reach $70 billion in 2015. It’s clear that the public cloud is getting bigger with each passing year, leading to intense competition among cloud providers of all shapes and sizes.
A Market in Flux
Perhaps it should come as no surprise how much the public cloud market has grown in such a short amount of time. The cloud landscape by its very nature is constantly in flux, with new innovations, developments and advances happening at a fairly regular pace. The cloud has become a lucrative option for businesses in part because of this growth. Since the market remains in an evolutionary state, parameters and limits have yet to be set. With that comes opportunity and ever eager companies ready to provide that opportunity to willing customers.
For many years, the public cloud market was difficult to define. Cloud services will relatively straightforward, but many providers had their focus all over the place. Many providers would offer whatever they had available, and when customers came looking, pretty much everything was on the table. IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and more were on the menu, and providers did their best to give it all to customers, even if they had limited capabilities at the time. The idea was to get customers first and worry about the features later. This strategy has certainly paid off for some providers, but the changing face of the market is requiring a different type of focus now.
Development of Niche Markets
Cloud providers are now looking at not necessarily attracting the largest number of customers possible, but rather establishing their own niche within the growing market. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has played mostly to developers, giving them the tools and services they wouldn’t find with other providers. IBM has invested more into open source solutions while also focusing on helping Fortune 500 companies manage the complexities of new technologies. Google has placed more of a focus on using its capabilities for niche applications like big data analytics. And Microsoft Azure is trying to leverage a hybrid model for enterprises, playing to some of their already existing strengths. By taking their own niche and improving it by degrees, providers can excel in their own way, increasing the effectiveness of their benefits.
By creating a niche to specialize in, cloud providers have basically contributed to the growth of the cloud market. A consequence of this approach is the trend among organizations to now employ multiple different cloud services instead of just relying on one provider for all their needs. Perhaps a large company is persuaded to use IBM’s services but also needs the analytics processing of Google. Now, that company doesn’t have to pick one provider and stick with it; instead they can choose to use both services to maximize the benefits involved. Increasing these benefits has spurred the growth of the public cloud, as specific industries like retail, manufacturing, and banking have been drawn to services tailored to their needs.
Many other factors have also played a role in the expansion of the cloud market. The move into international regions is one to keep an eye on as providers try to establish data centers in parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The market is also waiting to see how telecommunications companies respond since they have vast resources they can pour into their own cloud services if they so choose. What’s clear is that the growth seen in the public cloud market looks set to continue, with more defined roles and niches still to come. Changes are expected, with businesses overall benefitting with greater capabilities and improved operations.