Ensono has released new research into the wide array of challenges facing US and UK IT leaders’ multi-cloud strategy. The research found that security is the highest concern for IT professionals that are considering, or are already using, multi-cloud strategies – topping the list of worries amongst both US and UK respondents. After security, UK IT leaders’ top fears for their multi-cloud strategy were governance and cost optimization. By contrast, US respondents put cost optimization and being able to maintain a positive end user experience next on the list.
Managing these challenges can be a difficult process for many businesses. Forty-three percent of surveyed IT leaders have turned to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to overcome issues with their multi-cloud strategy. Of those working with MSPs, nearly half (46%) were attracted by the prospect of faster time to adoption, and 44% by the ability to tap into skills that were unavailable or lacking internally.
The issue of skills is a complex challenge for an organization looking to make the most of new and emerging technology. Ensono’s research highlighted that Amazon Web Services (55%) and Microsoft Azure (54%) were the most common areas of public cloud expertise to have internally in a business. There was a slight divergence in public cloud skills and capabilities amongst the respondents, with US businesses best placed internally to work with AWS, compared to UK firms where Microsoft Azure edges ahead.
COVID-19 added new urgency to the digital transformation agenda. Around two-thirds of IT leaders (67%) said that COVID-19 either did not disrupt, or had even accelerated, their plans to move to a multi-cloud environment. Yet economic uncertainty has made this a difficult road for some businesses. Nearly a fifth (19%) of respondents said that COVID-19 had slowed their adoption of multi-cloud as priorities changed and investment had to be redirected to other areas.
Brian Klingbeil, Chief Strategy Officer at Ensono, said: “With the surge in interest in cloud technology, firms need to deliver a cloud strategy that is right for them. Complex deployments like multi-cloud present a wide array of potential challenges. Before a migration, businesses need to undertake a thorough audit of their existing applications and put together a comprehensive roadmap to the cloud. This planning will ensure that fundamentals like security, user experience and cost optimization do not fall by the wayside in the journey to the cloud.”
“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for innovation in IT, and leveraging public cloud is a particularly effective way to achieve this goal. With cloud talent and skills at a premium, working with a Managed Service Provider is a great way to access this expertise and build a cloud strategy fit for the post-pandemic world.”
The future of cloud
Once these challenges are overcome, multi-cloud offers a host of possibilities. Of those businesses that have adopted multiple public clouds, over half (53%) said they did so to take advantage of different cloud providers’ specialties. Other respondents painted the decision as a premeditated choice based on cost controls (23%) or departmental differences (22%).
The multi-cloud environment provides an ideal platform for launching innovative new solutions for a business. Containers remain an important tool for businesses looking to deploy applications to multiple public clouds. Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said they have already adopted a container-based strategy, and a further 47% of IT leaders would like to do this in the future.
Equally, distributed cloud is viewed by some in the industry as the future of cloud. Nearly half (49%) of respondents believe that distributed cloud could be the solution to network related issues and outages, 42% believe that it could eliminate latency issues and 36% believe that it can lead to an increase in availability of locations where cloud services can be hosted or consumed from.
Klingbeil concludes: “Multi-cloud is an attractive option for businesses looking for a flexible, resilient cloud strategy. It offers firms a route to the best of both worlds: receiving all the benefits of different cloud providers and protecting the business against vendor lock-in. When set up in multi-cloud, containers are an ideal way to start innovating in the cloud – quickly porting and scaling up applications to deliver for the business. And for businesses seeking even more location flexibility for their public cloud infrastructure, distributed cloud may well be the future.”