Cloud’s Inevitability Looms As Cloud Expo Nears

I apparently like hitting myself on the head with a hammer, as I’m once again reviewing estimates of global cloud-computing spending and growth.

It’s difficult enough to get insightful estimates of IT spending in general – the most valid number seems to be about $3.6 trillion (coming from IDC), but which includes telco. Where do we draw the line with telco today, with smartphones and tablets and literally zettabytes of information flying around each year?

Anyway, rather than parrot or compare cloud estimates, which are all out there in a tube somewhere on the Internet, I’ll focus on the key aspect of cloud: it’s growing faster than IT overall.

This may seem to an insight from The Book of Duh, but it relates to cloud’s inevitability. Sooner or later, cloud computing will mean the same thing as computing. It may take 50 years or it may take 100. It won’t take 5 or 10. But it is inevitable because the promise of cloud computing is an evergreen: efficiency and elasticity.

The numbers I’ve seen show cloud rising as percentage of overall IT from 2% today to 11% by 2020, to 6% today growing to 22% by 2020. Again, given the mixing of computers and telco into many IT estimates, I don’t see how we can measure this accurately.

But we can simply accept that it’s growing, and it will have specific benefits for everyone.

Counter-arguments are being made today that cloud is not actually less expensive on a cashflow basis, even if it shifts expenses from investment to operations. Counter-counter-arguments are being made that nobody has promised cloud would always be cheaper.

But there is some place in every large organization for cloud, and my own direct experience has been that cloud is the go-to idea for smaller companies that are trying something new. One project I’m on doesn’t have budget for big iron or even much little iron. It does have budget for whatever cloud instances we’ll need for the next year.

So I’ve found the pain stops when I put the hammer back in the toolbox. I’ll be at Cloud Expo West in Santa Clara in a few weeks to see what’s going on, to ignore any information about growth, focus on any information about usability, and enjoy the inevitability of what’s going on.

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