Cloud computing will go from strength to strength over the next few years, according to figures from analyst firm Gartner, which predicts that the market will reach a value of $150bn (£104.8bn) by 2013.
Current worldwide cloud services revenues are on track to pass $56.3bn (£39.3bn) this year, an increase of over 20 per cent on 2008 revenues of $46.4bn (£32.4bn).
Cloud-based business processes - including advertising, e-commerce, human resources and payments processing - is the biggest segment, comprising 83 per cent of the total market last year, said the firm.
This segment is set to grow by around 20 per cent in 2009 to $46.6bn (£32.5bn), up from $38.9bn (£27.2bn) in 2008.
"Cloud computing is a broad and diverse phenomenon," said Ben Pring, research vice president at Gartner. "Much of the growth represents a transfer of traditional IT services to the new cloud model, but there is also scope for the creation of substantial new businesses and revenue streams."
Systems infrastructure services delivered through the cloud accounted for just 5.5 per cent of the overall market in 2008, rising to six per cent this year, but will see strong growth through to 2013, according to Pring.
"While growth for many of these cloud services will be relatively modest through the next two years, we expect it to accelerate as these approaches prove themselves and benefit from increased spending levels as macroeconomic conditions improve," he said.
The stats were welcomed by hosted IT provider ThinkGrid. "Customers are coming to us because they are simply fed up with the cost and pain of purchasing and managing PCs," said the firm's chief executive, Rob Lovell.
"They want more choice and flexibility around IT. As this trend continues, there will no doubt be a massive shift in the way vendors deliver IT."
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