Gartner Says Four Trends Are Shaping the Future of Public Cloud (2023)

Global End-User Spending on Public Cloud Services Expected to Exceed $480 Billion Next Year

View the Most Current Cloud Forecast Here

Four new trends in cloud computing are continuing to expand the breadth of cloud offerings and capabilities, accelerating growth across all segments in the public cloud services market, according to Gartner, Inc. The four trends are: cloud ubiquity, regional cloud ecosystems, sustainability and carbon-intelligent cloud, and cloud infrastructure and platform service (CIPS) providers’ automated programmable infrastructure.

“The economic, organizational and societal impact of the pandemic will continue to serve as a catalyst for digital innovation and adoption of cloud services,” said Henrique Cecci, senior research director at Gartner. “This is especially true for use cases such as collaboration, remote work and new digital services to support a hybrid workforce.”

Cloud Ubiquity

Today, the cloud underpins most new technological disruptions, including composable business, and has proven itself during times of uncertainty with its resiliency, scalability, flexibility and speed. Hybrid, multicloud and edge environments are growing and setting the stage for new distributed cloud models. In addition, new wireless communications advances, such as 5G R16 and R17, will push cloud adoption to a new level of broader, deeper and ubiquitous usage. Use cases such as enhanced mobile banking experiences and healthcare transformation will also emerge.

As a result, global cloud adoption will continue to expand rapidly. Gartner forecasts end-user spending on public cloud services to reach $396 billion in 2021 and grow 21.7% to reach $482 billion in 2022 (see Table 1). Additionally, by 2026, Gartner predicts public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending, up from less than 17% in 2021.

Table 1. Worldwide Public Cloud Services End-User Spending Forecast (Millions of U.S. Dollars)




Cloud Business Process Services (BPaaS)




Cloud Application Infrastructure Services (PaaS)




Cloud Application Services (SaaS)




Cloud Management and Security Services




Cloud System Infrastructure Services (IaaS)




Desktop as a Service (DaaS)




Total Market




BPaaS = business process as a service; IaaS = infrastructure as a service; PaaS = platform as a service; SaaS = software as a service
Note: Totals may not add up due to rounding.

Source: Gartner (August 2021)

“Organizations are advancing their timelines on digital business initiatives and moving rapidly to the cloud in an effort to modernize environments, improve system reliability, support hybrid work models and address other new realities compelled by the pandemic,” said Brandon Medford, senior principal analyst at Gartner.

Regional Cloud Ecosystems

Growing geopolitical regulatory fragmentation, protectionism and industry compliance are driving the creation of new regional and vertical cloud ecosystems and data services. Companies in the financial and public sectors are looking to reduce critical lock-in and single points of failure with their cloud providers outside of their country.

Regions not able to create or sustain their own platform ecosystems will have no choice but to leverage the platforms created in other regions and resort to legislation and regulation to maintain some level of control and sovereignty. Concerns among politicians, academia and tech providers in these regions are increasing, leading to initiatives such as GAIA-X in European countries.

Sustainability and “Carbon-Intelligent” Cloud

Nearly half of the respondents in the 2021 Gartner CEO Survey believe climate change mitigation will have a significant impact on their business. Cloud providers are responding to this growing focus on sustainability by instituting more aggressive carbon-neutral corporate goals, which creates new challenges for infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders.

“New sustainability requirements will be mandated over the next few years and the choice of cloud services providers may hinge on the provider’s ‘green’ initiatives,” said Cecci.

CIPS Providers’ Automated Programmable Infrastructure

Gartner expects the broad adoption of fully managed and artificial intelligence (AI)-/machine-learning (ML)-enabled cloud services from hyperscale CIPS providers. This will rapidly eliminate the operational burden of traditional I&O roles in the public cloud.

“Infrastructure is becoming programmable, and its operation is subsequently becoming automated,” said Cecci. “Modern IT infrastructure, whether deployed in the data center or consumed in the public cloud, requires less manual intervention and routine administration than its legacy equivalents.”

Gartner clients can read more in the reports “Top Four Trends Are Shaping the Future of Public Cloud” and “Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2019-2025, 2Q21 Update.”

Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conferences

Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis on cloud strategies and infrastructure and operations trends at the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conferences taking place virtually November 22-23 in EMEA., December 1-2 in Japan, and December 6-8 in the Americas. Follow news and updates from these conferences on Twitter using #GartnerIO.

About the Gartner Information Technology Practice

The Gartner IT practice provides CIOs and IT leaders with the insights and tools to drive the organization through digital transformation to lead business growth. Additional information is available at Follow news and updates from the Gartner IT practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerIT.


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