The enterprise cloud market appears set for strong growth through the middle of this decade. IaaS implementations will constitute the majority of IT cloud investments as companies search for secure and highly controllable clouds that can be scaled according to their needs. However,to maximize the advantages that hosted infrastructure has over a data center, managers must emphasize operational continuity and application compatibility and find the proper cloud model for their businesses.

By the end of 2016, total revenue from cloud solutions could reach $20 billion, according to a report from 451 Research. Examining 309 cloud providers, the study's coordinators estimated that cloud revenue would see a 30 percent compound annual growth rate until then, and that increases in IaaS revenue would outpace that of the market as a whole. IaaS is projected to expand at a 37 percent CAGR, beaten only by the 41 percent clip of PaaS, although the latter currently constitutes a much smaller share of the cloud landscape.

Writing for ZDNet, cloud expert Joe McKendrick spoke to Floodgate Fund managing partner Mike Maples, who argued that well-managed clouds were shifting the focus of IT departments' focus away from hardware procurement for its own sake and toward crafting environments that address business cases.

"Clouds will continue to proliferate into corporate departments as software eats the world," Maples told McKendrick. "[PCs are] going to fade into the background in terms of mobile devices and an Internet of things."

Security, virtualization and private cloud resources
451 Research study coordinator Yulitza Peraza, quoted by FierceMarkets' David Weldon, stated that cloud adoption rates indeed appeared strong, but pointed out that cloud providers can bring more customers into the fold by clearly communicating their security stances and providing infrastructure that is ready to take on heavy workloads right away.

Migrating a complex data center to an IaaS cloud can be tricky, requiring careful attention to how company applications, networks and compliance policies will exist in the new hosted environment. In a piece for Data Center Knowledge, virtualization architect Bill Kleyman highlighted the importance of virtualizing applications in order to facilitate better compatibility with cloud computing. Additionally, virtualization may help with data migration, since virtualized architectures are becoming increasingly adept at moving files from one storage repository to another.

Although virtualization and cloud investment may lower the importance of hardware upgrades, organizations that operate private clouds will still need to ensure that their on-premises resources are adequate. With the right infrastructure, private clouds have numerous advantages over public counterparts, including better management of Wide Area Networks and bandwidth due to these resources not being shared.