What is cloud computing? Everything you need to know about the cloud explained

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Image: Gartner

That’s a shift that only gained momentum in 2020 and 2021 as businesses accelerated their digital transformation plans during the pandemic. The lockdowns throughout the pandemic showed companies how important it was to be able to access their computing infrastructure, applications and data from wherever their staff were working – and not just from an office.

Gartner said that demand for integration capabilities, agile work processes and composable architecture will drive the continued shift to the cloud.

The scale of cloud spending continues to rise. For the full year 2021, tech analyst IDC expects cloud infrastructure spending to have grown 8.3% compared to 2020 to $71.8 billion, while non-cloud infrastructure is expected to grow just 1.9% to $58.4 billion. Long term, the analyst expects spending on compute and storage cloud infrastructure to see a compound annual growth rate of 12.4% over the 2020-2025 period, reaching $118.8 billion in 2025, and it will account for 67.0% of total compute and storage infrastructure spend. Spending on non-cloud infrastructure will be relatively flat in comparison and reach $58.6 billion in 2025.

All predictions around cloud-computing spending are pointing in the same direction, even if the details are slightly different. The momentum they are describing is the same: tech analyst Canalys reports that worldwide cloud infrastructure services expenditure topped $50 billion in a quarter for the first time in Q4 2021. For the full year, it has cloud infrastructure services spending growing 35% to $191.7 billion

Image: Canalys

Canalys argues that there is already a new growth opportunity for cloud on the horizon, in the form of augmented and virtual reality and the metaverse. “This will be a significant driver for both cloud services spend and infrastructure deployment over the next decade. In many ways, the metaverse will resemble the internet today, with enhanced capabilities and an amplified compute consumption rate,” the analyst said.

Image: IDC
Image: IDC
Image: Synergy Research

Cloud-computing case studies

There are plenty of examples of organisations deciding to go down the cloud-computing route: here are a few examples of recent announcements.

  • What’s the best way to make the most of the cloud?
  • US Air Force plots IT overhaul, aims for cloud
  • DuluxGroup paints a future of procurement in the cloud
  • Marketo to migrate to Google Cloud as part of multi-year deal
  • AWS infrastructure is now behind three main streaming media providers
  • American Airlines to move consumer-facing apps to IBM Cloud, says Cloud Foundry key

Previous coverage

The Art of the Hybrid Cloud

Cloud computing is gobbling up more of the services that power businesses. But, some have privacy, security, and regulatory demands that preclude the public cloud. Here’s how to find the right mix.

Public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud: What’s the difference?

Trying to understand and articulate the differences between public, private, and hybrid cloud? Here’s a quick breakdown.

Read more on cloud computing

  • Three smart cloud services that can help keep your business more secure
  • Public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud: What’s the difference?
  • What does ‘hybrid cloud’ mean? It depends on whom you ask
  • Infographic: Companies are turning to hybrid cloud to save money
  • Businesses will spend $128 billion on public cloud this year, says IDC
  • Cloud computing security: This is where you’ll be spending the money

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