2015 was a busy year on the cloud front with all leading players making big announcements. It was particularly a great year for Microsoft. With the company’s breadth of cloud-based services and declared commitment to cloud as a driver of future growth, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he expects Microsoft’s annual cloud revenues to reach $20 billion by 2018; more than double the current number. By all accounts, it seems like Microsoft is well placed to achieve this.

 
Here are some of the mega-trends that we see driving the growth of cloud.
 
Hyperscale
In general, hyperscale refers to the ability of architecture to scale seamlessly when demand increases. According to Synergy Research Group, hyperscale data center operators are pouring billions of dollars into expanding their global footprints to meet the increased demand for cloud infrastructure services, which are growing at a rate of 50 percent per year. So, this is definitely a trend to watch out for.
 
Machine Learning
The concept of machine learning may not be new, but it emerged as a hot topic in 2015 simply because of explosion of data resulting from greater digitization, IoT etc. is very conducive to the use of machine language tools. Basically, machine learning is the process of computer programs with the ability to ‘learn’ and improve automatically by studying using large amounts of data. Obviously, more the data available, more the scope for learning. And cloud seems to have emerged as the machine learning platform of choice. Microsoft, which has been doing some great research in this space, officially launched its Azure Machine Learning Platform in February this year.
 
IoT and Cloud-based analytics
The Internet of Things trend has a huge impact on several aspects of technology including analytics, devices and of course, cloud. For IoT to be impactful, it needs to not only generate useful data that needs to be analyzed to deliver useful insights. Cloud is a great platform for analytics because it enables businesses to achieve faster time to market and reduced complexity with almost zero maintenance and the provision for on-demand scale. This makes it convenient even for even smaller companies or individuals to use advanced analytics on the cloud with little or no upfront cost. The cloud analytics market is expected to grow from $7.5 Billion in 2015 to $23.1 Billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 25.1%.
 
Hybrid cloud
While a large number of enterprises have moved peripheral data to the cloud, there’s still keeping core applications and data in-house. Therefore, hybrid cloud is becoming more popular, with companies looking for a truly hybrid architecture, with workloads being fully portable between private and public clouds. For example, Microsoft announced that its Windows Server and System Center 2016, together with Azure Stack, will deliver a local environment very similar to that of the Azure public cloud.