5 Arguments That Prove “Cloud” Is Not Just a Buzzword

When was the last time you heard someone complain about the term “cloud” being nothing but a buzzword? It happened to me the other day, and I was momentarily stunned. Was I suddenly transported back to 2010? I just didn’t expect the person I was talking to – someone in the technology industry – to still be thinking that way about the cloud. Sure, that was common a few years ago, but don’t people today pretty much accept that cloud computing is a real thing?

Then you see tweets like this:

https://twitter.com/AntDeRosa/status/563858797526265856

Look, I think it’s clear that the cloud represents a significant change in the market for computing infrastructure, services, and applications. It’s not a buzzword – it’s a fundamental shift in business models, in supply and demand.

In fact, Gartner has stated that by 2016, 60 percent of businesses will not consider the cloud as a significant factor when investing, because they will consider it the expected norm. This was in the 2014 edition of their Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, where they basically said that we are only a couple years away from seeing both the cloud and big data as fully realized and productive technologies.

To reinforce this idea, here are 5 points that prove that this transformation is real and happening right now.

1. The Rapid Growth Of Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Launched less than 10 years ago, AWS has surpassed all expectations as a business, and it continues to perform well. Providing a variety of cloud-based computing services that seems to never stop expanding, AWS operates over 1.4 million geographically isolated servers across 28 availability zones. It’s huge.

Although Amazon as a corporation is notoriously tight lipped regarding the revenue that AWS brings to the group, analyst estimates place it at over $1.5 billion annually. The Edge has even suggested that in a spin-off scenario, AWS could sell for as much as $38 billion. That’s a pretty significant portion of Amazon proper’s total market cap of about $175 billion – and something that only a decade ago was virtually valueless.

2. The Level of Cloud-Related Merger & Acquisition Activity

Over the past few years, almost every major technology company has solidified its cloud-based business with a significant strategic acquisition. IBM acquired SoftLayer in a deal worth an estimated $2 billion back in July 2013 to help form the backbone of its current Cloud offerings. Oracle has also been acquiring many SaaS businesses, absorbing these companies under its own branded service, Oracle Cloud. Cisco acquired WebEx. SAP gobbled up Concur. EMC grabbed about three cloud companies in October 2014 alone.

And then of course, just a few weeks ago there was the public offering of file-sharing firm Box – and based on the performance of that new stock I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more IPO activity coming up. It’s clear that the cloud is fast becoming an expected part of computing infrastructure as it continues to be a high-tech, corporate purchase.

3. Broad Consumer Adoption Through Apple, Microsoft, DropBox

The Cloud has become an almost indispensable part of our daily personal lives as much as it has impacted our professional lives. Apple’s iCloud boasts over 450 million active users across a multitude of devices, merging your Mac, iPad, iPhone and even your TV experience. Microsoft’s strategy under the leadership of Satya Nadella is about putting mobility and cloud first on a unified platform across devices. Nadella helms the high-stakes transformation of Microsoft’s cash cow – its Office product line – to the cloud-based offering we know as Office365.

Other key players in cloud computing include Google, Facebook, Instagram, and countless other mobile and web-based services that consumers have started to take for granted. They allow us to store, share and access our media from any device, and have been doing so for years now.

4. Small And Medium Businesses Are All About The Cloud

If you had asked small or medium-sized business owner about the cloud two years ago, they probably wouldn’t have known what it was. Today it’s a much different story, because lots of today’s small business owners not only know what the cloud is, but they are be building their companies on the cloud instead of purchasing, managing, and operating their own IT infrastructure.

Check out some statistics from a recent infographic on cloud adoption trends published by Rackspace:

  • 87% of businesses are currently implementing Cloud technology in some capacity
  • 43% wish they had adopted the cloud sooner
  • 26% of SMB are heavily using cloud infrastructure, in comparison to just 18% of Enterprise

In today’s world the small to medium business is starting to realize that the cloud is a better, easier, and more reliable way of doing business.

5. Our Own Personal Experiences

Let’s face it – it’s hard to talk to anybody who isn’t using the cloud in some way, even if they don’t realize that they are. Whether you are backing up your iPhone, sharing photos and documents over DropBox, or streaming movies over Netflix, the cloud is all over our lives as consumers.

Here’s an interesting way of thinking about the impact that the cloud has had on our lives. Take Facebook and its 1.23 billion active users. Generally categorized as a social networking company, but did you know that people upload over 300 million pictures to Facebook on any given day? Facebook is the de facto cloud-based photo album application for an amazing portion of the world’s population. It’s the cloud, baby.

In The End, It’s Inevitable

I remember, not too long ago, when people were concerned about entering credit card details online. People talked about it at cocktail parties: “I don’t use Ebay. I’m not sure I trust it.” It didn’t matter that fraud was pretty rare, and furthermore banks and credit card companies made it very easy for consumers to recover from fraudulent activities. People didn’t use it… until they did. Today, people don’t give a second thought to online purchases. The fear and the resistance just melted away.

The same thing is happening with the cloud, right now. Nobody gives this a second thought about storing information in the cloud, as it has quickly become part of everyday life. And although this transformation didn’t happen overnight, it now kind of feels like it did.

In any case, the cloud is making our businesses and our lives easier, better organized, and more collaborative. It’s here to stay.