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Study: Cloud will create 14 million jobs by 2014

Implementation of cloud services will create 14 million jobs internationally by 2014, with the greatest increases occurring in emerging markets, which are not constrained in deploying cloud systems by legacy infrastructure, according to a new study from Microsoft and IDC.

China and India alone could create up to 6.8 million new jobs related to the cloud, the study found. Because many of the businesses in these emerging markets are young, they aren't bound by the "Legacy lag" -- as the study calls it -- that could be holding back cloud adoption at larger enterprises around the world.

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The study estimates that 75% of current IT spending is based on spending related to maintenance of legacy systems.

Businesses in emerging markets are also expected to be more likely to implement private cloud systems compared to public ones, according to the study.

"In emerging geographies where adoption of public IT cloud services is not that far along and where the demands of legacy systems are less, private cloud services may offer greater economic benefit in the short term than public cloud services," the study found.

Meanwhile, the United States and Canada are expected to create 1.2 million new jobs related to the cloud. Many of those jobs will be from IT pros being freed up from managing the day-to-day service of their IT infrastructure, which will allow them to focus on more "mission critical" business endeavors. Cloud services could help generate $1.1 trillion in new business revenue worldwide, the study suggests.

"The basic rationale for job growth is that IT innovation allows for business innovation, which leads to business revenue, which leads to job creation," the study reads.

Small and midsize businesses are expected to drive adoption of cloud services, with industries such as professional services and retail being some of the most inclined to implement cloud solutions.

Security issues could hold back the adoption of public cloud services by large enterprises in certain vertical industries, such as banking, where security is a strong concern, the study found.

"The study results seem to indicate one of the beauties of cloud computing -- it frees enterprises from the constraints of the client/server model, where up-front investments in infrastructure are required to pursue technological solutions to business problems," authors of the study wrote. "Emerging markets, small cities, and small businesses have as much access to the benefits of cloud computing as large enterprises or developed nations. The availability of private IT cloud services as an option where public cloud IT services are not fully available or where there are infrastructure challenges is a nice hedge for emerging markets."

Despite the fact that the strongest growth in the future is expected to be in emerging markets, the U.S. has already been one of the earliest adopters of cloud systems. The study found that 62% of all worldwide public cloud service spending occurred in America in 2011.

Investments in cloud also still only make up a small percentage of total IT investments. IDC estimated that last year, of the $1.7 trillion that was spent on IT services, only $28 billion was in the cloud.

The study was funded by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. To view a map showing where cloud computing growth could be the hottest, click here, and to view the entire study, click here.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.


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