The explosive growth in cloud adoption raises a question: Can this exponential expansion continue? Quite succinctly, the answer is, yes, it can-and yes, it will. Beyond the traditional OPEX vs. CAPEX motivation for moving to the cloud, the following are three drivers that will enable cloud proliferation over the next five years.


Enterprise Adoption of Cloud for Mission-Critical Apps

Large Fortune 500 companies are only beginning to explore migration of existing applications to the cloud. Just 10 years ago, these companies were moving applications to virtualized servers. With widespread adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and enterprise developers building new applications exclusively in the cloud, it is only a matter of time before enterprises consolidate from capital-intensive data centers to take advantage of cloud-based environments. According to the 2015 IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study, 25 percent of total IT budget will be allocated to cloud computing. This percentage will only increase as enterprises takes advantage of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) architectures to modernize and streamline their development cycles.


Internet of Things (IoT)
According to tech research firm Gartner, 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day. Research conducted by the Evans Data Corporation published in Internet of Things Study 2015 states that 55 percent of IoT developers primarily connect devices through the cloud. Taken together, the cloud is the platform for IoT, and cloud as the underlying architecture will undergo rapid expansion as IoT explodes.


Business Intelligence (BI), Big Data and Predictive Analytics
Taking advantage of massive amounts of data provides key competitive advantages for organizations. A recent IDC forecast predicts that the Big Data technology and services market will grow at 26.4 percent CAGR through 2018, or about six times the growth rate of the overall information technology market. As increasing amounts of data are stored in the cloud, companies seeking to take advantage of this information will naturally look to the cloud for computation and analysis.


While cloud adoption will continue to experience explosive growth, cloud expansion without a forward vision for how to control and manage your data will create an equally explosive burden. The big question for your organization will be, how will you manage an IT ecosystem that appears to have no ceiling for its expansion?


Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott is NetApp’s Cloud Evangelist and thought leader focusing on data center evolution with particular emphasis on private and hybrid clouds. Michael started his career as a mainframe programmer for General Electric and held the role of adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Akron. Michael has a mathematics degree from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University.