Pax8's Robert Belgrave

Clearly cloud

Robert Belgrave, CEO at Pax8 UK explains why during times of uncertainty, the Cloud came out as king

Cloud computing has been crucial for so many over the past 12 months as the world has adapted to considerably greater levels of operating from home. While Cloud prominence and growth has, of course, been on the rise for several years now, few would have anticipated its unprecedented growth and importance through 2020 and into 2021.

Cloud has proved to be the spine of data-driven, app-based tech that has been vital in helping us manage our everyday lives. Home delivery services and remote working and, amongst others, have been made possible remotely by substantial advancements in cloud services.

The growth in cloud usage and the market value of Cloud-based software, go some distance to underlining just how exponential this growth has been and how much of a role Cloud has played in helping us carry on with our daily lives through these most extraordinary times. According to Forrester Research, the global public Cloud infrastructure market is expected to grow 35% to $120 billion in 2021. The overall Cloud Computing Industry is also projected to grow substantially in the next few years, from $371.4 Billion in 2020 to $832.1 Billion by 2025.

The pandemic seems set to have an insurmountable impact on the rate of Cloud software’s growth; according to Gartner, the surge in spending on public Cloud will run until 2024. This article further states that 70% of Cloud-using organisations plan to increase their adoption of the technology in direct response to the pandemic.

The pandemic has brought a multitude of factors to the forefront of the IT industry’s mind, that have helped facilitate the growth of the Cloud, these include flexible computing power, disaster recovery, lower cost for backup and disaster recovery, resilient core for business process and business continuity. According to Flexera’s 2020 State Of The Cloud Report, 27% of leaders found an increase in cloud spend due to covid-19.

The growth in Cloud can be most clearly seen through the eyes of big tech; Microsoft in the past year has seen huge revenue growth from Azure, it’s Cloud computing service, benefitting from the shift to home working and e-learning. The change to working from home has accelerated the switch to Cloud-based computing, with Microsoft and rivals such as Amazon benefitting through their respective Cloud software. Microsoft’s revenue drawn from its “Intelligent Cloud” portfolio rose 23 per cent in 2020 to $14.6bn, with 50 per cent of this growth down to Azure.

Amazon’s Cloud business added $1bn in profits compared with the previous year, even as earnings from its core online retail business soared. Alphabet was also helped by fast growth in Cloud services, providing access to data centres, an area of the IT sector that has of course experienced a surge in demand following stay-at-home advice.

Retailers that have adapted and incorporated Cloud-based software will likely be better positioned to adapt in the short term and thrive in the long term as we shift to far greater levels of online retail. The e-commerce industry has been one of the main areas that have seen rapid growth during the pandemic, and this is partly due to the growth in Cloud. As more stores shift online, this will be a crucial factor to consider for business owners.

As we place a greater emphasis on sustainable solutions, Cloud has certainly been no exception in this regard. Many companies have placed Cloud systems at the forefront of efforts to be more sustainable. The UK Government’s department DEFRA is set to lead Cloud-focused IT sustainability standards across all government departments. In addition, IT companies have transitioned to more renewable IT solutions, placing Cloud at the epicentre of these efforts. WManyith companies that were previously sceptical about Cloud, are now spearheading this transition.

Several factors have facilitated the exponential growth of Cloud computing over the past 12-18 months. Among these is the continued presence of the pandemic with a drastic shift towards home working, schooling and shopping. The growth in Cloud hasn’t been limited to these areas however with growth in Cloud-based gaming and with the Cloud playing a part in the shift towards more sustainable IT solutions.

Might we see Cloud grow into areas like edge computing, hybrid software and areas like automation and AI? While the areas addressed undoubtedly have shown the substantive growth of the Cloud, we should certainly not isolate its growth to these areas and it will be interesting to see how widespread and fast-paced the development is going forward.

As we begin to embrace more glimpses of a return to normality, it is clear that the growth of Cloud is not going to slow down in a hurry and is a theme we will be discussing more frequently in the months and years ahead.

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