Public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings are quickly gaining acceptance among enterprises as a viable alternative to on-premises hardware for IT infrastructure, according to a recent survey of more than 6,000 IT organizations.

Nearly two thirds of the respondents are either already using or planning to use public cloud IaaS by the end of this year, according to the survey, conducted by International Data Corp. The consulting firm forecasts public cloud IaaS revenues will more than triple, from $12.6 billion in 2015 to $43.6 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent over the five years covered by the research.

"Public cloud services are increasingly being seen as an enabler of business agility and speed," said Deepak Mohan, research director, Public Cloud Storage and Infrastructure at IDC. "This is bringing about a shift in IT infrastructure spending.”

Growth of public cloud IaaS has also created new service opportunities around adoption and usage of public cloud resources, Mohan said. With changes at the infrastructure, architectural and operational layers, public cloud IaaS is slowly transforming enterprise IT, he added.

The public cloud IaaS market grew 51 percent in 2015, and IDC expects this high growth to continue through 2016 and 2017, with a CAGR of more than 41 percent. The growth rate is expected to slow after 2017 as enterprises shift from cloud exploration to cloud optimization.

In addition, alternatives such as managed private cloud will grow in maturity and availability, the firm predicts, providing IT organizations with more options as they plan their infrastructure transformation.

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