Cloud needs stronger definition, experts say

The latest hype cycle report by Gartner suggested that cloud computing is currently in the "trough of disillusionment." This caused the Cloud Industry Forum to come forward and encourage a number of providers to enhance their service delivery by adopting best practices and increasing transparency. In doing so, the cloud may migrate away from the trough of disillusionment toward the "slope of enlightenment."

"A degree of public scepticism surrounding cloud services is inevitable after such high expectations were set and therefore it's natural that, as the market matures, there will be some rebalancing of that expectation and understanding," said Andy Burton, chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum. "The initial hype that we have seen in recent years has somewhat subsided into more pragmatic approaches to testing and adopting services."

Despite global large-scale adoption rates, overuse of the term "cloud" may impact future market growth, Burton said. A lack of clarity of the true technology and weakened confidence may also hinder the industry's expansion in the coming years.

"The good news is that cloud services are now largely proven as offering viable IT deployment models regardless of organizational size, vertical or application area and as such will continue to improve in both capability and adoption and I have no doubt that wider mainstream adoption will follow," Burton continued.

Cloud industry by the numbers

The CIF noted that approximately 62 percent of U.K. organizations are using some form of public or private cloud computing, which is expected to increase within the next 12 months as roughly one out of every non-cloud users expect to implement the hosted services soon.

A separate report by Forrester Research revealed that the cloud computing market is forecast to generate roughly $121 billion in revenue by 2020, up from slightly more than $40 billion in 2011.

Burton said that cloud vendors need to demonstrate higher levels of transparency around their offerings to encourage individuals to leverage the technology without concern.

"A primary challenge that we constantly face is one of definition. The liberal application of the term 'cloud' only serves to dilute its meaning and confuse the market which in turn can inhibit the performance of legitimate and credible cloud service providers," Burton said.

By having better defining the cloud and its applications, vendors may be able to shed some of its haziness.

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