By the end of 2016, the global public cloud market is expected to grow more than 17% over last year to reach $208.6 billion, according to new projections from Gartner. For IT departments, the potential savings from implementing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (IaaS) is helping fuel the growth of these different offerings.
In 2015, the public cloud market totaled $178 billion, and this year's total will reach 17.2% more than that amount, according to Gartner. Although not mentioned in the report, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is assumed by many to dominate the public IaaS market, with Microsoft, Google, and other vendors seen as distant runners-up.
The growth of the public cloud market is being driven by IT departments' desire to save money and offload more and more workloads to these third-party providers. In the Sept. 15 report, Gartner research director Sid Nag notes that many IT shops are saving as much as 14% of their budget by moving applications to the cloud.
However, Nag adds that, while some companies have realized the benefits of public cloud services, many other organization are still hesitant and only testing the waters:
However, the aspiration for using cloud services outpaces actual adoption. There's no question there is great appetite within organizations to use cloud services, but there are still challenges for organizations as they make the move to the cloud. Even with the high rate of predicted growth, a large number of organizations still have no current plans to use cloud services.
For those IT shops that are pushing apps out to the cloud, it's the desire to modernize the company's technology to prepare for the digital future that is driving this decision. Cost savings, agility, and innovations are also cited as other motivators to explore the benefits of public cloud.
Gartner's outlook on the public cloud reflects other recent research about this market.
On Sept. 1, 451 Research released its latest "Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation" survey, which found that four out of ten enterprise workloads are running on either a public cloud or on a private cloud. In the next 18 months, that's expected to increase to about 60%, with SaaS applications proving the most popular, according to the research firm.
When it comes to marketshare, a recent report by Synergy Research Group showed that Microsoft and Salesforce are the two leading providers of SaaS, with Redmond, interestingly, starting to gain an edge over Salesforce in recent months.
The 451 report, which is based on the results of 1,200 interviews with IT pros between May and June of this year, also found that IaaS is expected to grow the fastest over the next two years, with about 12% of application workloads moving to the public IaaS market.
One of the main stumbling blocks to even greater public cloud adoption is security, although the Gartner reports stresses that leading public IaaS and SaaS offerings are fairly secure already. It's how these services are used that's a greater concern.
"Gartner's position on cloud security has been clear -- public cloud services offered by the leading cloud providers are secure. The real security challenge is using public cloud services in a secure manner," Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner and another author of the study, wrote in a press release.
In addition to the growth of public cloud, private cloud infrastructure is expected to grow through the end of 2017, with many different businesses adopting a hybrid approach that can provide an even greater layer of flexibility.
However, the Gartner reports there are several problems with the hybrid approach, including finding a common set of APIs between vendors, management tools, vendor support, and a lack of application compatibility.