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According to analyst firm IDC, a study titled, “Worldwide SaaS and Cloud Software 2015–2019 Forecast and 2014 Vendor Shares,” expects the cloud software market will grow to surpass $112.8 billion by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3%. The report stated that, “SaaS delivery will significantly outpace traditional software product delivery, growing nearly five times faster than the traditional software market and becoming a significant growth driver to all functional software markets.”

As for industry predictions for the cloud, IDC analyst Frank Gens said in an IDC FutureScape that, “We’ll see massive upshifts in commitment to DX initiatives, 3rd Platform IT, the cloud, coders, data pipelines, the Internet of Things, cognitive services, industry cloud platforms, and customer numbers and connections. Looked at holistically, the guidance we’ve shared provides a clear blueprint for enterprises looking to thrive and lead in the DX economy.”

It’s safe to say the cloud market is expected to continue growing, but what other innovations or industry changes can we expect to see? We polled several cloud experts who shared their predictions on the hosted industry for the coming year. Here’s what they had to say…

Jeff McNaught, Executive Director of Marketing and Chief Strategy Officer Cloud Client-Computing at Dell:

Jeff McNaught - Cloud Expert from DellAs more organizations migrate to the cloud to support a mobile workforce and increased employee productivity, concerns around security, reliability, costs and complexity also surge. Desktop virtualization will become a crucial aspect of any organization’s mobility and BYOD strategy, enabling employees to safely access data on a range of devices while maintaining data integrity. However, many organizations have met higher than expected costs and complexities in their investigations, and have put off or delayed plans to make the shift to virtual desktops. In order to address this and the evolving security needs of a wide range of businesses, Dell has introduced the easiest and most comprehensive set of desktop virtualization solutions that meet the needs of our customers today and in the future. Datacenter appliances, a choice of brokers, and the world’s most secure thin clients make Dell the easiest company to work with to plan, deploy, and run real VDI. Our goal is to make virtual desktops accessible, affordable, and substantially easier to deploy than ever before.

Mark Nunnikhoven, VP of cloud research,Trend Micro

Mark Nunnikhoven - Cloud Expert from Trend MicroIn 2016, we’re going to continue to see a push into managed services and other services higher up the stack (virtual desktops, application platforms, etc.). This is going to be especially advantageous for lower mid-market companies. The cloud can amplify the effectiveness of teams, allowing more flexible and innovative teams to leverage high end platforms at minimal cost and effort.

Thankfully, 2015 finally retired the “if we move to the cloud” question and the majority of organizations are now focusing on the realities of multiple providers delivering critical applications and infrastructure. The top question I’m seeing is what a modern security and compliance program looks like in a cloud-centric ecosystem.

Leaders in cloud adoption have already figured out that they need a combination of products that integrate with multiple cloud providers, flexible processes and playbooks for the business, and highly skilled people. It’s this balance between products, process, and people that is the key to success.

Eric Ludwig, cloud team leader, CDW Aggregation Infrastructure and Managed Services

Eric Ludwig - Cloud Expert from CDWIn 2016, we expect to see rapid growth and adoption in the mid-market. What started mostly as a collaboration play (mostly in the form of hosted Exchange/mail) has now moved rapidly into a full cloud play. Clients are looking all across the stack from DR to ERP to Client Computing. Smaller firms don’t have the excess capital nor do they have the expertise on staff, so cloud is a great model for them.

Future mid-market concerns will be the usual – things like confidentiality, security, and service guarantees. Depending on the vertical market, there are now products available for broader consumption which account for and mitigate compliance. For example, if a firm is concerned about security , there are a number of offerings where cloud companies will assume liability. The mindset has indeed shifted as customers in this range are more likely to use capital to expand or grow their business versus invest in technology.

In 2016, we can also expect to see more vendors pitching in to help. Some companies offer software tools to provide scripted migrations; others include professional services to help enable a client to onboard; while others partner with companies like CDW to help with professional services and/or management on top of their cloud offerings.

Looking ahead, CDW will continue to assist our customers based on needs and consumption preferences. We sit in a unique position, providing hardware/software solutions for clients who want to own and operate, as well as cloud for clients who don’t. We continue to add services to help with cloud planning, readiness, and management, along with core partners to ensure customers can leverage existing investments. Of course, we will continue to seek out best in breed solutions, as we have for many years, to ensure our clients have a comprehensive partner as they further deploy cloud technologies in their environment.

Jeromy Siebenaler, VP Cloud,Insight

Jeromy Siebenaler - Cloud Expert from InsightIn the SMB market, Insight will be helping our customers journey to the cloud with a well-rounded “office in a box” portfolio and a set of management tools to help SMBs run their business smarter. In the corporate and enterprise space, we will introduce our ITaaSB solution that helps IT gain alignment and become a focal point in the buying and managing of cloud solutions with their lines of business. We will also focus on helping our service provider customers diversify their core portfolio with a complementary cloud portfolio that enhances their value to their client base. We will address these markets with a strong cloud portfolio of products, services, and a management platform that enhances their experience on their journey into the cloud.

Jason Bystrak, Executive Director, North America, Ingram Micro Cloud

Cloud computingJason Bystrak - Cloud Expert from Ingram Micro continues to take the IT business landscape by storm, and as 2016 rolls around, I see it playing a significant role in the way SMBs consume technology, as well as how they compete and operate in our evolving global market.

While SMBs are now “all-in” when it comes to moving their productivity suites, such as email, to the cloud, brace for the next wave of mid-market adopters who will leverage cloud computing for their collaboration needs, like file sharing and unified communications. Also, SMBs are spending much less on traditional on-premises infrastructure and are much more nimble in their move to the cloud. And with the benefits of the cloud more attractive than ever, many start-ups are electing to avoid investing capital in on-premises infrastructure altogether, triggering a spike in born-in-the-cloud businesses that will surely pick up speed in 2016.

Although there has been a steady growth of cloud technologies in the middle market, it goes without saying security concerns will remain one of the biggest barriers in SMB cloud adoption. Luckily, enterprise-class solutions can now be implemented within public cloud environments, alleviating the headaches in security management and increasing comfort levels for SMBs making the switch to cloud. I also see support as a big challenge SMBs face during their cloud transition since many don’t always understand the process to manage and fix their technology investments.

To maximize revenue and growth opportunities in the cloud, SMBs will need better guidance and support from their vendor partners and the channel. The channel needs to provide the technical support, as well as professional services, to manage processes like migration and support for cloud environments. There also needs to be continued cloud-based education and training to build greater awareness of the cloud’s benefits and business use cases.

Though the IT environment is in a constant state of change, Ingram Micro can help simplify success in the cloud by providing direct access to a fully-automated Cloud Marketplace that delivers streamlined purchasing, provisioning, service management, and invoicing of multi-vendor offerings through a single online portal. We also reduce costs and fill the gaps in service delivery by offering our channel partners the professional and managed services to help with solution design, migration, and post-sales support.

Ihab Tarazi, CTO, Equinix

Ihab Tarazi - Cloud Exper from EquinixMulti-cloud interconnection strategies are proving especially compelling when it comes to driving IT cost-efficiency, and in 2016, more enterprises will embrace these strategies. A recent Forrester study titled, “The Total Economic Impact of Equinix Interconnection Solutions,” showed enterprise adoption of certain multi-cloud interconnection strategies saved more than $1 million over three years. As more enterprises recognize the cost advantages on the table, we will see them shift away from housing critical applications on-premises and deploy and scale those applications with lower-cost cloud service providers.

dinCloud’s Predictions

Mike Chase – Cloud Expert – CTO at dinCloudMike Chase, CTO at dinCloud says that technology is always about progressions. In October 2015 on, he shared his thoughts on several existing key market trends and projected them forward. Some of these included:

Windows to Linux virtual desktops


Linux desktops are rising in popularity, particularly, providing an alternative to the “Microsoft tax”. Windows will likely continue dominating for some time, but it will be nice to have an alternative. At dinCloud, we currently use Linux virtual desktops in beta on our cloud – expect to see these in production sometime in 2016.

Increased use of virtual containers

Software as a Service (SaaS) has been growing in popularity for some time for those not wanting to invest in infrastructure, support, and maintenance while realizing instant-on scale up/down capabilities. But containers are an easier way to reliably package applications and make them portable across different operating systems.

Perimeter to endpoint security

The ongoing malicious attacks and data loss that occurred in 2015 will force a dramatic change, from a perimeter defense mentality to an intense need to defend every single device in the infrastructure with a significant layer of security using multiple products simultaneously. Enterprises will still lack the time, money, and personnel to implement these changes quickly, allowing the cloud to explode with a range of new security laced products that only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) will be able to offer.

Point-in-time backups to become continuous data protection

In 2015, we saw ransomware, like CryptoLocker, devastate the digital landscape making businesses and users wanting their data restored to the point in time just before disaster struck. Continuous Data Protection (CDP) – which are multiple snapshots over time, with the ability to restore a file or entire disk back to hundreds of markers in a 24 hour period – will dominate the future of data protection. Also expect to see permissions and functionality to merge, paving the way for self-service restores cutting the helpdesk out of the equation.

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