Cloud computing has experienced substantial growth over the past few years as more demands are placed on the shoulders of IT. While the expectations of IT professionals will continue to increase as technology evolves, the appetite for cloud-based solutions is in no danger of waning.

According to Gartner, cloud computing will account for the majority of IT expenditures by 2016. That year is expected to be a defining moment for the industry as the private cloud begins to yield to more hybrid models, which nearly half of enterprises are projected to deploy by the end of 2017.

The scalability and service capabilities that IT can provide through cloud deployments have contributed to this trend. In addition, businesses have more say regarding decisions on how they'll acquire or deliver IT services without the hurdles associated with software and hardware licensing models, noted Chris Howard, research vice president at Gartner, according to TelecomTiger.

"Services delivered through the cloud will foster an economy based on delivery and consumption of everything from storage to computation to video to finance deduction management," said Howard.

While an InfoWorld article by David Linthicum noted that some of the predicted growth will come from companies that rebrand their traditional IT offerings as the cloud - also known as "cloud-washing" - a sharp increase in the migration of business applications to cloud platforms could make Gartner's predictions a reality.

Linthicum also disagrees with the notion that by 2017, businesses will have focused on a hybrid approach. If anything, Linthicum stated, the IT environment of enterprises will be more of a "multicloud reality," with a mix of both private and hybrid models.

"Already, enterprises are finding the cloud deployments that meet their requirements are more complex than private, public, or hybrid," Linthicum wrote.

The push to pursue cloud deployments will largely come from businesses, rather than IT. By 2016, CIOs and other professionals in IT are not expected to refrain from such deployments as much as they did in 2008 because of the cloud's inescapable influence. However, the decision of which platform to use will likely begin to come from business units as they look for more economical ways to deliver IT services with increased agility.

Building cloud computing strategies
As enterprises move forward with their cloud computing strategies, they should be broken down into two IT-centric work streams, according to TelecomTiger.

Enterprise as a consumer of cloud services focuses on IT-related capabilities as it's delivered as a service. The goal here is to determine when, where, why and how cloud services should be deployed, while hardware and software aspects are handled by the service provider. With regard to the other work steam, enterprise as a provider of cloud services shifts the focus to how hardware, software and processes are used to implement cloud services.