The cloud computing industry has been among the most rapidly growing in the world over the past several years, as organizations in the public and private sectors, along with consumers in virtually every nation, continue to demand greater access to these services. Certain experts from research firms including Forrester and IDC have forecast cloud services to become utilities that are present in almost every household and business within the next two decades. 

Although public models of the technology were among the most successful during the earlier stages of of its inception, enterprise-class cloud solutions are beginning to take up a larger market share. Because businesses need to keep their data and systems as secure as possible, as well as the growing preference for customized IT environments, there is a lot of activity in the private cloud industry. 

Hopeful forecast
MarketsandMarkets recently released its latest Public/Private Cloud Storage Market Worldwide Forecast and Analysis 2012-2018 study, which projects the private cloud market to expand significantly in the coming years. For one, the firm estimated that the private cloud market on the global scale will increase to $5.6 billion this year, which would be a nearly $10 billion increase from revenues recorded in 2012. 

What's more, the source stated that the industry will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 40.2 percent between this year and 2018, with North America taking the strongest share in this arena of 60 percent. There are myriad factors driving the popularity of cloud computing, including enterprise mobility, big data, telecommuting, lean management of IT and several others. 

According to the study, big data will represent one of the biggest catalysts for more significant expansion in the cloud market. Because organizations need to prepare their systems for the advent of much higher data storage demands and bandwidth requirements, the cloud will be leveraged to increase the elasticity of systems. 

Cloud computing has been hailed as a competitive differentiator because it helps businesses of all sizes foster more flexible IT capabilities, as the technology is far more scalable than traditional infrastructure investments. MarketsandMarkets added that the cloud storage market, for both private and public models combined, will expand to $21.8 in global annual revenues by 2018. 

Notably, the private cloud market is expected to outpace the public one in the coming years, after years of domination by the latter. 

Factors to track
Brandon Butler, writing for Network World, recently reported that certain larger providers of cloud computing services that had a bigger share of the overall market are beginning to experience a decline in demand. Citing the results of a Forrester Wave Report for Private Cloud Solution study that was released this month, he noted that these providers are expecting to see more substantial revenue growth amid the transforming preferences of the average business leader. 

For example, whereas many organizations would adopt one cloud service at a time in the past, more companies are now beginning to demand comprehensive solutions that cover the entirety of IT.