More proof the cloud is winning big

A new IDC forecast predicts spending on cloud infrastructure to top traditional IT approaches by 2020

More proof the cloud is winning big
Claudia Regina (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One way to track the growth of cloud computing is to follow the investments in the infrastructure and equipment that make it run. That’s why IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker is so revealing.

The cloud is growing faster

According to the IDC report, total spending on IT infrastructure products—including server, enterprise storage and Ethernet switches—for use in cloud environments will grow a healthy 18 percent this year to top $44 billion. Meanwhile, IDC said, investment in old-school non-cloud architecture equipment will actually decline by more than 3 percent in 2017.

The trends are clear: The cloud—public, private and hybrid—is growing even as traditional on-premise IT infrastructure is dwindling. IDC put it plainly: The “continued strong movement toward utilization of off-premises IT resources around the world” is driving double-digit growth in spending on cloud infrastructure.

To be fair, non-cloud spending will still comprise more than half (57 percent) of total infrastructure spending in 2017, and a slightly bigger majority (almost 58 percent) of infrastructure spending will go to on-premise data centers using private cloud and traditional IT architectures. Within those on-premise deployments, moreover, IDC forecasts “sustained movement toward private cloud deployments with the share of traditional, non-cloud, IT shrinking.”

idc worldwide cloud it infrastructure prediction IDC

Public cloud vs. private cloud

But that’s only part of the story. Just as important, public cloud infrastructure spending is totally dominating investment in off-premise private cloud architectures. Some 61 percent of cloud infrastructure spending is going into public cloud data centers, while off-premise private cloud environments will garner just under 15 percent of total cloud spending.

And although spending on these deployments is growing at almost 17 percent to support “increasing adoption of private and hybrid cloud strategies within corporate datacenters,” that still can’t match the public cloud’s accelerating growth. 

Long-term forecast? Even more cloudy

Looking farther ahead, IDC predicts spending on off-premise cloud infrastructure to grow more than 14 percent annually to $48 billion in 2020. And almost 81 percent of those dollars will go into public cloud data centers. Combine that with on-premise cloud infrastructure (which is growing at almost 13 percent per year), and overall cloud infrastructure is growing almost 14 percent annually, IDC said.

The non-cloud stuff? Declining almost 2 percent a year.

Scale is everything

According to a statement from IDC’s Natalya Yezhkova, research director, Storage, the key driver is growing investment in “new hyperscale data centers opening across the globe and increasing activity of tier-two and regional service providers.” The on-premise side, meanwhile, is getting a boost “as end users continue gaining knowledge and experience in setting up and managing cloud IT within their own data centers."

If you’ve been paying attention, none of this should be too surprising. The momentum toward the cloud has been obvious for a while now. While there’s still a place for traditional, non-cloud IT infrastructures in some enterprises, the number of use cases continue to erode as the cloud becomes less expensive, more ubiquitous, more manageable and more secure.

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What I find most interesting, though, is that the IDC forecast seems to support the notion that the same fate ultimately awaits hybrid and private cloud implementations, as the public cloud becomes the default choice for new workloads and updates of legacy systems. The cloud’s dominance over traditional IT may not yet be official, but the writing is on the wall—and in IDC reports.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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