What Does 2011 Hold for Cloud Computing?

Cloud ComputingAs the world turns its eyes to the possiblities that 2011 hold, the tech community has been considering the changes ahead and various experts in the emergent field of cloud computing have been forecasting the effects of the technology on several areas.

Many in the IT industry have been predicting an increased dominance of the cloud over the general landscape, but weighty research firms such as Pike Research, Gartner, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research have this week nailed down some specific observations and predictions for what is fast becoming a prime mover and shaker in the tech sphere.

Cloud could boost top five European economies by €763 billion

The CEBR pointed its finger toward the cloud as a potential money saver for industries in the top five European economies – Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain – forecasting the cloud could drive €763 billion (£644 billion) into the countries over the next five years.

Cloud computing can help industries shift away from traditional server and software models where they must invest significant funding for up-front costs, but experts concluded that even though the financial benefits would appeal to businesses, potential users should be carefully guided through the conversion process.

In addition to savings on IT costs helping to inject the top five European economies with some €177 billion (£149 billion) each year, another benefit would be the creation of jobs. Each year, these countries would experience cloud-related job growth to the tune of some half-million positions, topping out at 2.4 million net jobs over the five-year period.

The UK itself would be the second-biggest reaper of the benefits, research showed, potentially saving some £25 billion each year if strides were made toward cloud initiatives.

“Cloud computing is one of the major means of maximising ‘bang for buck’ in modern IT investment. It could also be an important driver of European business investment that will, in turn, drive European economies forward,” said Oliver Hogan, managing economist at CEBR.

Companies can take to the cloud to clean up their act, Pike says

Pike Research also released a recent report detailing another benefit they’ve found in the cloud: Cutting energy use.

The firm forecasted the cloud would facilitate a drastic cut in data centre energy consumption, with the technology potentially chopping more than a full third off 2010 averages by 2020.

“The growth of cloud computing will have a very significant positive effect on data centre energy consumption,” Pike senior analyst Eric Woods commented. “Software as a service, infrastructure as a service, and platform as a service are all inherently more efficient models than conventional alternatives, and their adoption will be one of the largest contributing factors to the greening of enterprise IT.”

As for the numbers, the Cloud Computing Energy Efficiency report forecasted data centres will consume 139.8 terawatt hours of electricity by 2020, bringing down today’s totals 31 per cent from 201.8 TWh. The cloud could also offset the potential growth in data centre energy consumption by some 7 per cent, totalling a 38 per cent overall projected reduction.

Gartner said cloud expectations ‘inflated’, but importance continues to grow nonetheless


The expectations businesses and pundits have put on cloud computing, however, are “inflated” – at least according to leading tech research firm Gartner.

This doesn’t mean, though, that it will lose any prominence in coming years. On the contrary – Gartner asserted this week that while the cloud has reached a saturation point for client expectations, it will continue to deliver quality alternative IT solutions in the years to come.

In addition, the firm still included cloud computing on its top ten strategic technologies for 2011 report.

“Cloud computing services exist along a spectrum from open public to closed private,” the research giant’s analysis read. “The next three years will see the delivery of a range of cloud service approaches that fall between these two extremes.”

“Gartner expects large enterprises to have a dynamic sourcing team in place by 2012 that is responsible for ongoing cloudsourcing decisions and management.”  

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