While spending on the public cloud is up, main uses remain rooted firmly in non-critical areas.
Public cloud computing may be on the rise but it will still be several years before large-scale enterprise adoption is the norm instead of the exception.
Even though spending on the public cloud is expected to hit $19.5bn by 2016, according to a study by 451 Research's Market Monitor, the analyst reckons its adoption continues to be dogged by a number of concerns.
Along with persistent questions about security, transparency and trust, a number of internal, non-IT related organisational issues are beginning to emerge, adding to the impediments facing wider cloud adoption, the report's authors said.
Consequently, despite strong compound growth of 36 percent over the next 30 months, the technology continues to be used for "lower-level workloads such as test and development and other non mission-critical applications".
IaaS largest sector
Infrastructure as a service is the largest segment of the market as measured by the researchers, claiming most of the spending on the public cloud in 2012 with a 51 percent share. Market Monitor is predicting compound annual growth of 37 percent for IaaS through to the end of 2016.
However, standalone platform as a service is the fastest-growing area with compound annual growth over the same period of 57 percent but with only a five percent share in 2012 remains tiny by comparison.
PaaS overall made up 24 percent of 2012's total public cloud spending in 2012, while infrastructure software as a service - which does not include enterprise software as a service - accounted for 25 percent. Projected compound annual growth for PaaS and infrastructure software as a service until 2016 stands at 41 percent and 29 percent respectively.
Two-thirds of all the spending on the public cloud went to 12 vendors, which each earned more than $75m, with Amazon leading the IaaS field. Market Monitor reckons Amazon Web Services's share is 1.3 times the aggregate total of the other 148 IaaS vendors.
Most public cloud providers have revenues below than $5m and the midmarket - receiving between $5m and $50m in revenues - accounts for 25 percent of the 2012 total. Some 83 percent of all service providers each generated revenue of $15m or less in 2012.