2011 is being pegged as the year of the 'cloud' by experts and analysts alike.
Independent analysts at Gartner predict that Britain is on the cusp of a widespread adoption of the cloud. Increased economical pressure on business owners to cut costs means that cloud computing is expected to become mainstream in around 2-5 years time.
The main benefit of the private cloud is that it provides all the advantages of owning an in-house server without the hassle or expense of maintaining one; allowing companies to change their IT payment model from capital expenditure (capex ) to operational expenditure (opex).
The mass adoption of cloud computing by small and medium-sized businesses is being driven by the flexibility that it offers, according to Gartner.
The private cloud fits in seamlessly with the core operations of a business and offers companies the flexibility of having a hybrid solution. It gives businesses the choice of what applications best suit their company - a one size fits all solution is no longer the case and flexibility is key.
Businesses can choose between IT and communications solutions that are cloud-based, 'on-premise' deployments or a hybrid of the two.