Trends & Forecasts from the IDG Cloud Survey

Cloud Computer

As one author explains, cloud is not only technologically but philosophically disruptive: it has changed the way we understand digital interaction. Let’s look at that broad view and then zero in on highlights from a 2015 cloud survey.

  • Cloud as a Tech Model
  • Highlights from New Cloud Survey
  • Use of Cloud to Meet Business Goals
  • Forecast for Adoption of Cloud Infrastructure & Apps
  • Use of APIs in 2016
  • Budgets
  • Decision-Makers
  • Effect on IT
  • Cloud as it Should Be

Cloud as a Tech Model

In the just-published book A Pre-History of the Cloud, author and former network engineer Tung-Hui Hu explores how the cloud changed our perception of the Internet. He does so by tracing the development of the use of cloud as a model within communications and technology.

One of the first appearances of something that resembled the cloud was in a 1922 diagram that suggested a system of telegraph connections to enable mathematicians to rapidly interact for better weather forecasting. Another project fashioned in a similarly nebulous, interconnected manner came in 1951, when AT&T announced its new electronic skyway, which was a US-based network of microwave relay stations.

In the 70s, the notion of cloud had been embraced as a good way to understand Internet, telephone, or other communication networks in which the movement of data could not be explained through a simple linear progression.

Essentially, all these uses of a cloud-like structure were an attempt to bring order to disorder. They each represented “a desire to collect something scattered and far-flung into a legible whole,” notes The New Yorker. “[T]he idea of wholeness was important, since it contained the possibility that an entire network could continue functioning even if one node along the way went offline.”

Highlights from the New Cloud Survey

Every year, researchers at International Data Group conduct a review of the cloud computing field by polling over 900 IT executives through the firm’s website or email list. The IT leaders surveyed are designated in terms of business size (enterprise or midsized).

Here are highlights from the report:

Use of Cloud to Meet Business Goals

Nearly half of enterprises (48%) said that they were transitioning to cloud as an alternative to on-site, dedicated systems. Just behind that reason were the way that it expedites deployment (46%) and reduction of total cost of ownership (TCO).

Business continuity is the top concern of midsized companies, though, at 50% – followed by TCO at 44% and enhancing customer service at 38%.

Forecast for Adoption of Cloud Infrastructure & Apps

The survey sought to establish the proportion of businesses that “have at least one application or a portion of [their] computing infrastructure in the cloud (for example, CRM, application development and testing, and disaster recovery).”

Nearly three-quarters of enterprises (72%) meet that description, up from 57% just three years ago. Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for cloud apps has been 6.0% between 2011 and 2015.

Use of APIs in 2016

An incredible nine out of ten enterprises will use APIs for cloud adoption over the next 12 months. The two most typical reason APIs are being used in those large organizations are “[i]ntegrating with databases, messaging systems, portals or storage components” (58%) and “[c]onnection of the application-layer with the cloud and underlying infrastructure” (48%), notes Louis Columbus in Forbes.

Those are also the top two reasons that APIs are used by midsized companies, at slightly lower rates (52% and 38%, respectively).


There is of course a lot of money being designated for cloud systems, with average enterprise projections at $2.87 million for 2016. Meanwhile, midmarket companies plan to spend $578,000 on average.


Who is making the decisions about this technology? People with significant control over purchasing are:

  • Chief information officers – 73%
  • Chief technical officers – 55%
  • Chief security officers – 48%
  • Chief executive officers – 41%
  • Line of business managers – 13%

Note that the most interesting finding there is that line of business management seems to be declining in its influence over cloud purchasing decisions.

Effect on IT

Just over half of enterprises (53%) say that cloud means they will have to provide additional training, while a similar number (52%) say that it will necessitate greater interdepartmental collaboration. The third biggest impact of cloud will be the hiring of specialized IT staff (47%).

“These findings suggest the need for more collaboration and tighter synchronization between IT and business units is making training, internal development, and recruitment of cloud expertise a high priority,” Columbus explains.

Cloud as it Should Be

As you can see above, businesses are continuing to move to the cloud, demonstrating a huge amount of confidence in the technology. However, not all clouds are created the same.

At Superb Internet, we use distributed rather than centralized storage so that there is no single point of failure as well as no bottlenecks because of the preferable design. Plus, our clients benefit from the improved performance of InfiniBand over 10 Gb Ethernet, which provides latency that’s dozens of times lower than the 10 GigE theoretical minimum. Review our never-oversold cloud plans.

Image via Flickr user George Thomas

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