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Looking ahead to the cloud on the horizon

The cloud should be an even larger part of IT infrastructure in the future.

By now, cloud computing has been recognized as the next foundational shift in enterprise IT, leaving those in the industry to wonder - what's next?

The cloud has already come to the rescue of those concerned about data storage and software licensing, while opening new opportunities in collaboration and flexibility. The overall structure and daily operations of many of today's startups are based on cloud-based capabilities that, five years ago, few could even imagine.

Moving forward, the IT industry should expect the technological advancements to exceed those of the past few years. With growing amounts of money being funneled into cloud service providers, the cloud vendors of tomorrow will have additional resources from which to craft their new services. In its latest report, market research firm Gartner predicts SaaS revenue alone to reach $12.1 billion by the end of 2011, marking 20.7 percent growth since last year. The SaaS market is showing no signs of slowing down, as Gartner forecasts this figure to reach $21.3 billion by 2015.

In addition to the newfound financial resources - considering the cloud came to fruition when most organizations were struggling through a recession - cloud and SaaS vendors will benefit from a market of enterprise customers more comfortable with the technology.

While a detailed prediction for the cloud's future may be difficult as the technology is still relatively young, all signs point to an even more capable cloud environment.

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