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Unlocking the potential of multicloud: new survey reveals five trends for hybrid cloud success

April 28, 2023
Shubhika Taneja

Multicloud Editor

Whether it’s a strategic initiative or the foundation for a new AI project, hundreds of IT leaders reveal why their organizations are adopting multicloud today.

For many organizations, digital transformation is like skydiving. You know you need to jump, but launching yourself out of an airplane at 10,000 feet is, well, a bit terrifying. Watching others successfully leap can help you plan your own launch (and you can learn from their mistakes). Once you make the leap, though, you get to experience the world in a whole new way. 

It’s the same with making application deployment and delivery decisions – there’s a lot of strategic business value to gain, and failing to launch isn’t a great option. 

A multicloud strategy may be one of the best options to take the leap into digital transformation. Multicloud allows cloud environments to be private, public, or a combination of both. The primary goal of a multicloud strategy is to give you flexibility to operate with the best computing environment for each workload.

Are you ready to take the leap to multicloud? Or are you standing at the edge? Recent research may help you decide. 

In a new study from Google and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), organizations who have launched their multicloud strategy reveal the processes and considerations that go into making multicloud application deployment and migration decisions. The survey queried 350 IT professionals responsible for evaluating, purchasing, and managing IT applications for large midmarket and enterprise firms across multiple industries.

What are industry experts talking about when deploying a multicloud strategy? Below are five key discoveries from the survey that can help organizations decide on the best approach. 

For a more detailed review of the results, you can also tune into a recent episode of the Multicloud Mindset podcast

1. Multicloud is strategic and distributed 

The majority of survey respondents indicated that they deploy applications across two or more IaaS providers. It’s common for organizations — particularly digital firms defined as organizations that spend more than 15% of their revenue on research and development of digital products/services – to switch public cloud providers. Eighty-eight percent of respondents indicated that leveraging multiple public cloud providers delivers strategic benefits. 

Leveraging multiple public cloud providers makes perfect sense when you look at multicloud as a journey rather than a destination. As needs change and new tools and technologies become available, organizations have adopted a best-of-breed approach, selecting certain providers for the tasks at which their technology excels.

2. Multicloud can introduce complexity

Despite multicloud's benefits, there’s a chance of getting tangled up in the lines. Eighty-one percent of survey respondents said they face challenges with application and data portability across locations, including their data center, public cloud, and edge. Survey respondents also struggle to right-size their workloads, and can be hindered by a lack of visibility into their cloud spending. 

While there’s no right way to multicloud, there are several ways to mitigate the complexity many organizations are up against. A selective approach allows you to choose a small number of services from a secondary cloud, but keep growing your footprint in your primary cloud. You can also isolate for regional and compliance needs. That way you can add and grow a secondary cloud in specific locations to satisfy the needs of that region.

While there’s no right way to multicloud, there are several ways to mitigate the complexity many organizations are up against.

3. Cloud selection is app-driven

The initial cloud that an organization chose five to ten years ago may have been the right choice at the time. But, as their needs changed and new technology became available, they’ve  begun to revisit those decisions. 

Most organizations let the apps they need drive their cloud selection decisions, but the overall approach is often influenced by the trends and requirements of their industry. Nearly 40%of survey respondents identified artificial intelligence/machine learning and AppDev capabilities as the top reasons to leverage an alternative cloud provider, with AI/ML  ranking significantly higher as a factor among those in the financial services industry. 

4. And the budget goes to…

Which application deployment location is poised to see the largest spending increase in the next two years? For nearly a third of respondents, the answer is IaaS (29%), followed by SaaS, and on-premises data centers. 

The reason for this harkens back to multicloud delivering strategic benefits, along with application environments becoming increasingly distributed. 

Investment in IaaS is often in line with the overall trend of companies transitioning away from on-premises infrastructure. Some organizations will increase spending because of mergers and acquisitions, or regional  compliance requirements.  Others will add clouds to satisfy business demands related to risk concentration, data sovereignty, or latency concerns.  

5. AI / ML is driving multicloud adoption

The requirements of AI/ML is a top reason  organizations adopt a multicloud approach. Today’s tech leaders need cloud infrastructure that can support these data-intensive workloads, and they’re more likely to use other cloud providers beyond their primary cloud provider to get what they need. 

Thirty-nine percent of respondents cited AI/ML workloads as a top reason for using alternative cloud providers besides their primary cloud provider. Respondents also indicated application development and testing (39%), database clustering (33%), and global service delivery (31%).

When it comes to multicloud adoption, AI and machine learning are key drivers, leading two in five organizations to adopt additional cloud providers.

Dive in to multicloud

Is your organization’s approach to application deployment and delivery in line with these current industry trends? Are you getting the most out of each platform and product? Read the complete report from ESG to get an even better sense of where your organization lies on its multicloud journey. 

Organizations diving into their digital transformation are embracing multicloud for its strategic benefits. But there are many flight paths you can take. There’s lots of multicloud do’s and don’ts to help you confidently launch your strategic integrations, or smooth out any turbulence if you’ve already made the jump.

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