Analysts at Gartner are predicting that the global marketplace for cloud services will boom this year, and could reach as high as $68.3bn (£46bn).
Gartner said in a new report that increased demand for cloud services would take revenues from $58.6bn (£40bn) last year to as much as $148.8bn (£101bn) by 2014.
"We are seeing an acceleration of adoption of cloud computing and cloud services among organisations, and an explosion of supply-side activity as technology providers manoeuvre to exploit the growing commercial opportunity," said Ben Pring, a research vice president at Gartner.
Pring explained that multi-thousand seat cloud deals are becoming increasingly common, and that IT managers now see the strategic benefits of such arrangements.
This was highly unusual a year ago, the analyst said, but the "financial turbulence" of the past 18 months had led managers to scrutinise all expenditure.
"An IT solution that can deliver functionality less expensively and with more agility (remembering that time is money) is hard to ignore against this backdrop," Pring said.
The cloud also has matured sufficiently to remove the challenges of managing technology in house, according to Gartner.
"The benefits of cloud computing in addressing these challenges have become more appropriate and attractive to all types of organisations," said Pring.
Gartner said that financial and manufacturing firms are the early adopters of cloud services, but that others, including the public sector, are "clearly interested" in its benefits.
North American and western European firms are the largest consumers of cloud services, according to Gartner, representing over three quarters of the market. The UK is expected to account for almost a third of all cloud-using businesses by 2014.
However, some concerns may still limit take-up as many firms express fears about security, service availability and vendor viability.
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