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6 trends shaping IT cloud strategies today

Cloud computing has helped many enterprises transform their IT practices over the past five years, but experts agree that the market is entering a second wave for public, private and hybrid cloud services.

According to a Forrester Research survey, 38% of enterprise decision-makers said they are building private clouds, with 32% procuring public cloud services and the remainder planning to implement some form of cloud technology this year. The hybrid cloud is also heating up, with 59% of respondents saying they are adopting the model. Fueling this accelerating adoption is the need for enterprises to scale their compute resources to better serve customers, Forrester Research Dave Bartoletti tells CIO.com.

Amazon Web Services kickstarted the first cloud computing wave when it launched basic compute and storage services in 2006. As of February this year AWS is now operating at a greater than $14 billion run rate, with companies such as Capital One, LiveNation, Ancestry going all in on the company’s cloud infrastructure.

“We recognized that we were spending a lot of time, energy, effort and management bandwidth to create infrastructure that already exists out there in a much better state and is evolving at a furious pace,” said Capital One CIO Rob Alexander.

But the options don’t stop at AWS. Microsoft, Google and IBM are also opening new data centers at a rapid clip, luring big companies to their clouds. Many specialty clouds have also cropped up in the years since Amazon first opened shop. Here we take a look at four trends currently shaping the second wave of cloud adoption.

Co-location services are on the rise

With most CIOs looking to cease running their own data centers but uncertain about which cloud horse to bet on, many are turning to co-location services from Equinix, Digital Realty and others, Forrester’s Bartoletti said. Co-los allow CIOs to move their systems to managed data centers, where they benefit from convenient connectivity to various public cloud and SaaS services.

“The beautiful thing about a co-lo is you’re one hop away from a direct high-speed connection to any public cloud provider,” Bartoletti said. “It makes it easier to have multi-cloud strategy.”

This also makes it easier for CIOs to test services from AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud without fully committing until they’re ready to migrate.