Cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions have already emerged as a popular option for businesses that are interested in reducing IT costs without sacrificing performance.

Yet the technology may be even more crucial to businesses in the coming holiday season, especially for retailers and consumer-based businesses, one expert noted.

Tom Foremski of ZDNet suggested that the busy holiday shopping season has the potential to overload computer servers, especially as many companies have been cutting back on computing resources by reducing IT costs, thanks to the recession.

As a result, the season will be an "excellent business opportunity" for cloud computing services firms, as an increasing amount of companies will look into off-loading some of their applications onto the cloud to handle the increased server demand.

This is actually a win-win for both cloud computing providers as well as businesses, "it frees up computing resources for peak loads while at the same time, it provides IT departments with experience with integrating cloud computing into their infrastructure," he wrote. "If it all works out, this will create confidence in bringing in more cloud computing into IT strategies and planning."

Foremski's theory is echoed in the results of an earlier study by Gartner, which found that North American retailers "severely pulled back their spending on IT" in 2009, creating a large opportunity for growth in SaaS adoption among " Tier 2 and Tier 3 retailers that are currently priced out of the supply chain application market," the report said.

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