Cloud Computing in 2020

Between 2012 and 2020, the patch of the digital universe that CIOs and their IT staffs need to manage will become not just bigger but also more complex. The skills, experience, and resources to manage all these bits of data will become scarcer and more specialized, requiring a new, flexible, and scalable IT infrastructure that extends beyond the enterprise: cloud computing.

To this end, the number of servers (virtual and physical) worldwide will grow by a factor of 10 and the amount of information managed directly by enterprise datacenters will grow by a factor of 14. Meanwhile, the number of IT professionals in the world will grow by less than a factor of 1.5.

In addition, while spending on public and private cloud computing accounts for less than 5% of total IT spending today, IDC estimates that by 2020, nearly 40% of the information in the digital universe will be “touched” by cloud computing — meaning that a byte will be stored or processed in a cloud somewhere in its journey from originator to disposal. Perhaps as much as 15% will be maintained in a cloud.

The Digital Universe and the Cloud (2020)

Of course, cloud services come in various flavors — public, private, and hybrid. For organizations to offer their own cloud services, they have to do more than just run virtual servers. They must also allow for virtualized storage and networking, self-provisioning, and self-service and provide information security and billing.

Part of the real genesis of this conversion to the cloud will be a migration to converged infrastructures, where servers, storage, and networks are integrated together, sold, and installed as a unit of IT infrastructure. Few enterprises are at this point yet, so the impact of private clouds in the digital universe today is small.

However, by 2020, it seems likely that private clouds and public clouds will be commonplace, exchanging data seamlessly. There won’t be one cloud; rather, there will be many clouds, bounded by geography, technology, different standards, industry, and perhaps even vendor. We may still call it cloud computing, but it will be an interconnected ether, easy to traverse but difficult to protect or manage.

Type of Information in the Cloud in 2020