With the mad rush of enterprises moving toward the cloud, the technology landscape is changing by the hour. The ubiquitous availability of technology and growing complexity of data have changed the way businesses are done. Cloud has become our strategic differentiator, with customers investing more and more in transforming their applications to be hosted in the cloud.

Cloud hosting usually comes in forms of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), where you can install applications on a virtualized hardware, or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which provides a software environment, like operating system and a database, where you can develop their web applications. There are other services like Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), which have gained in popularity too.

Moving from traditional systems with on-premise servers, organizations are now adopting the more scalable and cost-effective cloud solutions, where the infrastructure, the applications or both are hosted in some remote data center. Cloud platforms are usually charged on per-user basis, where the cost of licenses is all that you have to bear. A much awaited relief from the cost of server and network maintenance, isn’t it?

Given the complexity of enterprise systems, customersoften adopt a hybrid cloud hosting model, which is a balanced mix of on-premise and cloud hosting, which allows the strength in terms of bandwidth of on-premise servers coupled with the convenience of cloud platforms. If your business is small, with a limited suite of applications, you can use a public cloudinstead, to your systems in entirety.

Research results show that firms are spending close to a third of their IT infrastructure to move to the cloud. The cloud infrastructure has grown by 25.1% y-o-y to $6.3 billion USD in the first quarter of 2015, as per IDC statistics. The public cloud has seen more acceleration, having a 25.5% growth rate, with the private cloud not lagging far behind at 24.4%. Hybrid cloud is on the uphill too, and Gartner predicts that half of the world’s enterprises will adopt it by 2017.

Cloud hosting security being a major concern for CIOs and other stakeholders, providers are increasingly focusing on building a robust network. However, in my opinion,cloud infrastructure is only as secure as you make it. Security automation features and security protocols like SSL will help protect confidential data even when hosted on a remote server.

OpenStack based cloud hosting services is an avenue that I strongly believe will find more acceptability among customers. The interoperability the OpenStack offers, along with the absence of vendor dependency makes the OpenStack private cloud a hot-cake for enterprises wishing to host their data in the cloud. Customers always have a trade-off between the performance obtained from dedicated servers and the flexibility of public cloud.

I feel this approach will invariably lead to adoption of bare-metal infrastructure to execute large datasets. As such, customers must learn that virtualization is not a mandate for implementing cloud and the performance issues can be addressed by weighing the advantages of bare-metal infrastructure.

To me, the future of cloud computing will be determined by its ability to house the comprehensive yet flexible business processes under one roof.