Cloud computing has become one of the most revolutionary technologies in the world, as more companies continue to flood into the space and adopt the solutions for a variety of purposes. Whereas the most commonly cited reasons for using the cloud once tied back to Software-as-a-Service for packaged applications, email, file sharing and more, the new push seems to be completely data-center centric, as companies work to modernize their IT arrangement.

Email encryption and other software-related services are still by and large the most commonly used cloud computing solutions in the private and public sectors, and there is no sign that this status quo will be upended any time soon. However, between novel security, compliance and accessibility needs that virtually every company is having to manage today, the prevalence of infrastructure-related investments is certainly moving on an upward track.

This is especially true for those industries that are in the greatest need of substantial upgrades and must maintain compliance with stringent regulations and standards such as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. Now, a new study has found that the convergence of three major technologies and trends has led to a rapid increase in cloud-based infrastructure investments overseas, while this will likely be consistent back home before long.

Major milestone to be reached
International Data Corporation recently released its latest report on cloud computing spending in Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA), which revealed that infrastructure purchases are moving steadily upward. According to the analysts, the percentage of hardware-related investment in cloud computing expanded from 8 percent in 2011 to 15 percent this year, while the group estimates that rate will increase to 22 percent by 2018.

Although Infrastructure-as-a-Service is still gaining traction in global cloud deployments, it has already begun to outpace other aspects of the technology in terms of revenue growth. IDC explained that the total revenues associated with hardware cloud purchases in EMEA are set to exceed $4 billion this year, increasing at a torrid 19 percent year-over-year and showing solid signs for continued increases.

"Along with big data, social and mobility, cloud represents one of the four pillars of IDC's 3rd Platform vision - the new paradigm of IT usage that is revolutionizing the way technology is adopted in commercial and consumer environments," Giorgio Nebuloni, IDC research manager for the EMEA Enterprise Server Group, affirmed. "The rise of cloud has triggered a revolution in the hardware market. While white-box and few large OEMs fight to absorb the surge in demand for public cloud, most incumbent hardware players invest heavily in offerings enabling on-premises and hosted private cloud environments, such as integrated systems, high-end networks and high-performance storage."

Notably, the study found that overall expenditures on hardware were flat between 2012 and 2013, while this might have been the result of the lower upfront costs associated with cloud-based infrastructure.

Preparing at home
Technology trends, as well as general economic gains and losses, have become extremely consistent around the globe, as modern markets are more connected internationally than ever before. As such, these same types of spending behaviors are already beginning to show similar patterns in the United States, and organizations that have not yet started to ponder what cloud-based data center services can do for their bottom line should do so soon.

Diversification has led to a wider range of options and more specialization of services in this area, meaning companies can more affordably get exactly what they need without much of a headache. Health care providers that need secure and compliant data center services should look for those vendors that have a proven track record of excellence.