Forget about tight budgets and economic woes impacting upon the IT business, there's a post-recession return to pre-recession spending happening and networking is likely to benefit the most.

According to IDC, "transformation will impact every corner of the industry in 2010" but the most important transformational force of all is going to be the "continuing build-out and maturing of the cloud services and consumption model".

In the Predictions 2010: Recovery and Transformation report, IDC suggests that an emergence of enterprise-grade cloud computing services will be a strong and unifying theme which could see a strategic battle for cloud application real estate emerge that will last for two decades.

"Significant opportunities will also unfold for public IT cloud services, private clouds, cloud appliances, and hybrid cloud management tools, while cloud APIs will emerge as the new determinant of the cloud partner/solution ecosystem" IDC insists.

Another important driver for network infrastructure growth and increased spending will be the mobile device effect. Increasingly these smart devices are competing with desktop PCs as the primary client platform for both developers and end users. IDC predicts that some billion or more mobile devices will be accessing the Internet by the year end, and the arrival of the much talked about Apple iPad tablet can only help increase the demand.

With mobile applications exploding in number, IDC reckons the number of iPhone apps alone will triple to 300,000 in 2010, and cloud services getting serious, there will inevitably be a greater demand on public networks to deliver the goods as it were. Let's hope they do a better job than some network providers managed in 2009. Anyone remember when the O2 network all but melted in the UK thanks to the data demands of iPhone users?

IDC fully expects industry players will "accelerate their migration toward converged IP platforms, expand their managed services footprints, and transform their service delivery platforms and business models to support the growing wholesale, connected devices, and machine-to-machine (M2M) opportunities" it says.

So there you have it, the secret of network growth is the ongoing obsession with cloud computing and mobile applications!