Cloud ComputingThe number of businesses moving to public cloud environments will more than triple over the next five years, new research has found.

Usage of the public cloud by organisations is currently around 16%. However, that figure is set to shoot up to more than 41% by 2021 with CIOs identifying the platform as a key growth driver.

The survey, conducted by JP Morgan, quizzed chief information officers from more than 200 organisations with a turnover of more than $600m.

The public cloud allows organisations to build, operate and store software and data in external, third-party data centres. Private cloud platforms are dedicated to a single enterprise hosted either on-site or at a service provider data centre.

Traditionally, organisations have favoured a private cloud infrastructure that provides greater levels of control and security. But lower associated costs with public alternatives and the ability to scale the number of users up and down as business demands now seems to have swayed opinion.

As part of the survey, respondents were quizzed which of the leading IT vendors were the most important to their organisation. With legacy products such as Office and new cloud-based applications including Azure and Office 365, Microsoft was selected to be the most critical to future growth.

Amazon (AWS), Cisco, Oracle and SAP were ranked as runners up with IBM, EMC, Apple and Hewlett Packard expected to lose market share over the next few years.

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