Spurred in large part by enterprise interest in the hybrid cloud, the overall cloud market is likely to see great growth in the coming year.
Industry analyst firm IDC predicts that the global cloud market, including private, public and hybrid clouds, will hit $118 billion in 2015 and crest at $200 billion by 2018. If the market shows that much growth next year, it will mean a 23.2% rise over the $95.8 billion market it reached in 2014.
IDC noted that 2014 showed a 25.9% increase over 2013, when the market was worth $76.1 billion.
The cloud, thanks to users gaining confidence in its security and reliability, is working on some strong momentum.
"Security remains the number one brake on cloud adoption, but we see more CIOs recognizing that cloud providers offer some of the most secure IT on the planet," Frank Gens, an analyst with IDC, said. "We're also starting to see the cloud used to create new and better security services, like Amazon's new encryption-as-a-service and a growing number of cloud-based threat intelligence services."
It's not that CIOs and CEOs are less concerned about security, especially when it comes to the cloud. It's just that cloud vendors are coming up with better security answers, according to Allan Krans, an analyst with Technology Business Research.
"I don't think the security fears go away," he said. "I think there's more consideration and availability of services that provide enhanced security and performance. It's bridging the gap between low-security public cloud service and high-security private clouds."
What's helping to bridge that gap is the hybrid cloud -- a combination of using a private cloud and a public cloud, giving the user the security of a private offering and the low cost of public.
While the cloud market is still immature, enterprises are starting to get their feet wet with the hybrid cloud. While they may not make a huge shift to put critical workloads or even production workloads into the hybrid cloud this year, companies are looking to experiment with it and try it out with basic apps and information.
"Hybrid is at the early stages of the maturity cycle," said Krans. "Hybrid is growing, but it will take a lot of experience to really grow it for more critical applications."
Enterprises should begin getting that experience in the coming year.
According to Technology Business Research, the private cloud market is expected to grow 35% in 2015 and the public cloud is expected to grow 25%. Those are good numbers, but they're nothing like the expectations for the hybrid cloud.
Krans noted that Technology Business Research is predicting a 50% growth rate for the hybrid cloud in 2015 compared to this year.
"They're a smaller base, so there's more room for growth," he added. "There are a lot of enterprises and customers investing in their first pilot for hybrid deployments. You have a lot of customers who will be going form zero to something, so there's a much bigger growth curve."
Gens agrees that what he called the "hybrid movement" will certainly be a high-growth area for the coming year, boosting the entire market.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.