2014 will be the year of the cloud - honest

After years of marketing hype from vendors, you’re probably fed up of being told that “the year of cloud” is upon us.

But this time, it looks like it’s true.

There were two apparently contrasting statistics that emerged recently that help to explain why this might be the case.

According to research by Computer Weekly publisher TechTarget, around 53% of organisations worldwide are now using some form of cloud service. However, research by analyst 451 Group shows that by the start of this year, only 3% of enterprise IT workloads were running in the public cloud.

That apparent dichotomy is unique among most new technologies we have seen. Typically, enterprise interest and enterprise adoption grow gradually side by side. One obvious reason for the gap demonstrated by those stats is the initial caution shown by IT leaders about cloud.

Most companies are playing with cloud, testing it, trying proofs of concept – hence that 53% figure. But IT managers have resisted jumping into the cloud to any scale without gaining the confidence that comes from those early forays.

What those two stats put together tell us is when that confidence is in place, the 3% figure is going to catch up the 53% very quickly.

New research last week from 451 confirms this. The research firm said that roadblocks to the cloud are now being overcome, and found that corporate cloud activity has doubled in just six months, with a third of companies surveyed now engaging in active cloud projects.

Evidence from early adopters shows that a rapid move to the cloud is entirely feasible. Seadrill, a $4bn offshore drilling firm, moved its entire datacentre infrastructure into the cloud in less than six months. News International, publisher of The Sun and The Times, is moving 75% of its 18,000-strong server estate into the cloud by 2015 and closing six datacentres as a result.

Cloud is going to rapidly disrupt the server market over the next couple of years. It’s also going to increasingly become the default delivery method for new IT projects, not to mention a platform for greater innovation.

All that vendor marketing was right – if a little premature: it looks like 2014 will be the year cloud really takes off.