Monday, June 25, 2012

Cloud computing: Five reasons why it matters

Computer users will start storing at least one-third of their content on cloud services by 2016, research firm Gartner has said.

Only 7 per cent content was stored in the cloud in 2011, the company said in a report, adding that this number was likely to grow to 36 per cent by 2016.

Cloud computing, which is Internet-based, facilitates sharing of technological resources, software and digital information. This emerging field functions on a pay-per-use model, helping technology companies to bring down cost.

Market research and analysis firm IDC has estimated that IT cloud services helped businesses around the world generate more than $600 billion in revenue and 1.5 million new jobs in 2011. According to its study, more than 50 per cent of the 14 million jobs would be generated in the small and medium businesses.

Earlier this year, Microsoft had said that with an increasing number of companies adopting cloud computing, over two million jobs were expected to be created in India by 2015.

Here are five facts from the Gartner report:

1. Gartner predicts that worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. This includes digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS) and cloud repositories. (1 exabyte is 10^18 bytes; 1 zettabyte is 10^21 bytes.)

2. Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016, Gartner says, adding that the adoption of camera-equipped tablets and smartphones will drive consumer storage needs.

3. A majority of this growth will come from North America and Western Europe. In the Asia/Pacific region, Japan and South Korea will witness the highest growth in cloud storage, Gartner says.

4. The bulk of the cloud storage needs of consumers in the near term will be met by social media sites such as Facebook, which offer free storage space for uploading photos and videos for social sharing, says Gartner.

5. On-premises storage will remain the main repository of consumer digital content, although Gartner predicts that its share will progressively drop from 93 per cent in 2011 to 64 per cent in 2016 as the direct-to-cloud model becomes more mainstream.