Cloud market to hit $83 billion by 2016: will it still be measurable by then?

The cloud market is set to boom -- but will cloud services be as common as CDs?

Visiongain just issued a report that projects that the cloud services market will be worth some $82.9 billion by the year 2016.

That's a big number.  Plus, the consultancy says that more than 30% of enterprises worldwide are already deploying at least one cloud solution, which suggests that adoption is already widespread. There are a number of variables shaping the market:

"SaaS services, which represent the largest share of the cloud services market, at 69% of all services in 2011. The popularity of SaaS services is also driving increased interest in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) services as businesses become more comfortable with the cloud. Awareness of data protection legislation, terms and conditions of SLA (Service Level Agreements) and a better understanding of the nature of cloud services is shaping the cloud ecosystem and paving the way for market consolidation."

The problem in trying to size such a market is deciding where traditional software ends and cloud begins. Or, where traditional outsourcing ends and cloud begins. It's likely that cloud will simply be another inter and intra-enterprise service delivery channel in the years to come, especially from third-party software vendors. More telling numbers will be the savings -- or additional costs -- enterprises will be incurring by moving to on-demand services offered by someone else.

Private cloud complicates any measurements even further -- how many enterprise back office applications will be virtualized and delivered as services?