Cloud Growth and Other 2020 Trends


The rise of COVID-19 defined 2020 for nearly every industry. Cloud computing is no exception, though growth in the sector continued this year. Gartner estimates that $257.9 billion will be spent on public cloud services in 2020, up 6.3% from 2019. IDC reports that almost half of IT spending is cloud-based, “reaching 60% of all IT infrastructure and 60% to 70% of all software, services and technology spending in 2020.” These projections came in mid-2020, which proves that cloud adoption and spending were not greatly impacted by the pandemic.

You can make the argument that cloud computing itself is the trend of 2020. Blockchain, quantum computing, machine learning and AI all deservedly earn a lot of headlines in the tech press. But at a more basic level, cloud computing is changing the way we do business. Whether it is the way they store their data, improvements to agility and go-to-market for faster release of new products and services, or how they develop and operate services remotely in today’s “locked-down world,” cloud computing is benefitting all businesses in every sector.

In short, cloud computing had a strong year in 2020 despite COVID-19 and appears to have a very bright future. Several key trends, perhaps overshadowed by the pandemic, helped define a dynamic year for the sector. These include the following:

Continued Dominance of ‘The Big Four’ – All of the big four cloud providers—AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud—reported strong growth and collectively grew 40% in Q320. Together they still account for 63% of the entire cloud sector.
Rise of Managed Services – The global cloud managed services market, in particular, is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $116 billion by 2025, growing from $62.4 billion in 2020, according to a study conducted by Markets and Markets.
Serverless and Containers – There used to be some talk about serverless and containers replacing the use of traditional virtual machines (VM). But I mostly see customers realizing that VM infrastructure is not going to disappear anytime soon, though container use certainly rose over the last 12 months.
Automation – The push toward greater automation continued in 2020. I noticed users accepting greater automation in their infrastructure environments, and there was simply more demand for it across the board. This is great news as one of the major advantages of a DevOps approach is automating away the manual tasks that bog down critical projects.
Growth in home use – This may seem an obvious one, but with the COVID-19 pandemic leading companies across the globe to new “work from home” policies, virtual desk infrastructure (VDI) usage exploded.
Security – Especially with a remote workforce, cloud security faced new challenges this year. One example of this playing out is in Snowflake’s massive IPO.
Other trends of note this year included the continued growth of hybrid and multi-cloud and desktop as a service (DaaS). So, while COVID-19 truly defined 2020 for most people, the cloud sector was busy with the trends discussed above. It will certainly be interesting to see how these trends play out in the year ahead. Whatever new trends arise, it seems likely that cloud computing will continue to transform the way we all do business.


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