In the shadow of government sequestration and shrinking private IT budgets, adoption of enterprise-class cloud computing has picked up steam, leveraged as a means of potentially trimming costs while also maintaining or even improving organizational agility. U.S. government agencies continue to favor private clouds for critical tasks, and there may be additional growth opportunities in software development shops exploring PaaS.

Enterprise movement toward the enterprise cloud is driven strongly by cost considerations. A Global Industry Analysts study predicted that the cloud computing services market will reach $286 billion by 2018. Although some IT departments are under pressure to reduce spending across the board, smart procurement of a cloud stack that can replace on-site functionality may be the superior way to proceed in cost-conscious contexts. Specifically, scalable clouds that are tailored for usage patterns can solve multiple issues at once, lowering expenditures and promoting efficiency.

"The several benefits of cloud computing which will drive strong incremental growth include easy access to infinite computation resources, scalability of network resources, metering of computational resources and payment only for used computing power, reduced total cost of ownership, faster deployment and implementation and increased savings on virtually all counts of process execution," wrote GIA's coordinators.

Cloud stacks in government and charity
In the public sector, the U.S. government has opted for private clouds for their high level of control and security, and IaaS procurement should continue despite the temporary setback of sequestration, according to an IDC study summarized by Formtek's Dick Weisinger.

"[Public sector] growth potential looks bright," wrote IDC research director Shawn McCarthy. "Investments should reach a critical mass around 2015 and beyond. A new emphasis on cloud solutions is expected to return within the next 18 months, and private cloud investments should approach $7.7 billion by FY2017."

Meanwhile, there is a chance for IaaS providers to cater to relatively under-served charity organizations, which have so far been hesitant to invest in the cloud although they appear to recognize its potential monetary and operational advantages over on-site equipment. Cloud expert James Bourne pointed out the opportunity in an article for Cloud Tech News, citing a survey that found that only 30 percent of charities were using IaaS.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents believed that cloud infrastructure could lower total cost of ownership. Half thought that it could promote agility, and 35 percent were excited about its potential impact on their mobile initiatives.