The Rise of a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

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Cloud computing continues to be on the rise, and for good reason. It’s transformed our digital experience in numerous ways, from how we store data to the way we share information online with others.

Growth in cloud services is showing no signs of slowing down, particularly in the data storage realm—by 2025, almost half of the world’s stored data will reside in public cloud environments. Yet, despite its increasing popularity among consumers and businesses alike, do people really understand what the cloud fully entails? Or better yet, what the cloud even is?

Today’s infographic from Raconteur provides an overview of the fast-changing cloud computing landscape, showcasing the industry’s growth and its evolution in scale. It also touches on what’s next for the cloud.

What is Cloud Computing?

Put simply, cloud computing is a network of remote servers that provides customers with a number of offerings, including data storage, processing power, and apps. It’s usually delivered on a pay-per-use basis.

Cloud computing can be broken down into three categories:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Virtual computing services that businesses can utilize over the internet. IaaS allows businesses to scale up resources when needed, and pay for what they use. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are both IaaS examples.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Like IaaS, PaaS utilizes remote infrastructure, but it includes an extra layer by offering tools that developers use to build apps. Examples of PaaS in action include the Google App Engine or OpenShift.
  • Software-as-a-Service (Saas): The delivery of apps through remote servers. This is the type of cloud computing most users are familiar with. Examples include Dropbox and Google Apps.

Cloud computing has its obstacles, such as security and privacy risks. Yet, the cloud continues to entice consumers by offering a new level of accessibility to their online experience.

This accessibility has also drastically changed the working world. The cloud allows users to access company servers from anywhere globally, and to share documents and information with colleagues quickly. Because of this, it’s become a key part of remote work.

IaaS: The Backbone of the Cloud

Cloud services are seeing significant growth, and the big tech companies are its backbone.

In fact, four major players combine to dominate almost 60% of the cloud’s infrastructure. Here’s a look at the cloud market breakdown in 2019, and annual growth compared to 2018:

Service Provider 2019 Market Share Annual Growth
Amazon Web Services 32.3% +36.0%
Microsoft Azure 16.9% +63.9%
Google Cloud 5.8% +87.8%
Alibaba Cloud 4.9% +63.8%
Others 40.1% +23.3%

It’s no surprise that U.S. companies dominate the cloud service market since the country currently has the largest share of global cloud storage worldwide. Yet, the concentration of cloud storage is predicted to even out in the next few years—by 2025, the U.S. portion of public cloud storage will drop from 51% to 31%, while China’s will increase from just 6% to 13%.

What’s Next for the Cloud?

The cloud has changed the way we use the internet. It has influenced the way we share information, our ability to work remotely, and how we store our data.

And these services are much needed, as our use of data and the internet continues to scale up. By 2025, an average internet user will have around 4,909 data interactions per day, an increase from 1,426 in the year 2020.

At the same time, the scale of global datasphere is expected to be five times bigger in 2025 than it was in 2018, growing from 33 zettabytes to 175 zettabytes. Each zettabyte, by the way, is equal to 1 trillion gigabytes.

With data taking an ever more important role in our lives, the cloud is becoming an indispensable part of business, technology, and society as a whole.

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