A survey of 1,106 business and technology executives published this week by the IBM Institute for Business Value finds 85 percent of companies are already operating in multi-cloud environments, with 98 percent forecasting they will be using multiple hybrid clouds within three years. But the survey finds that only 39 percent of the respondents have implemented some level of DevOps processes to help streamline the management of multiple cloud computing platforms.
Blaine Dolph, vice president of Global Business Services for IBM, said it’s clear that DevOps will play a critical role in enabling IT organizations to centralize the management of multiple clouds. But the IBM survey suggests that the management of multiple clouds within organizations is not nearly as efficient as it should be.
Only 41 percent of survey respondents said they currently have a multi-cloud management strategy in place, and just 38 percent have the procedures and tools in place to operate a multi-cloud environment. Only 30 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud orchestrator or other multi-cloud management platform to choreograph workloads, while fewer than 40 percent of organizations have cloud configuration management tools that provide information about resource configuration and relationships between resources, the survey found.
All told, the IBM survey is only able to identify 20 percent of respondents as “multi-cloud maestros” capable of employing multiple clouds to smoothly and routinely deliver one or more business functions. The survey found almost two-thirds of multi- cloud maestros report they employ cloud management platforms.
The survey also found that multi-cloud maestros are advanced in terms of adoption of microservices and containers. A full 61 percent of multi-cloud maestros predicted that within three years at least 80 percent of new applications will be developed using containers. Currently, 50 percent of multi-cloud maestros are using Docker containers and 63 percent are using containers as a service (CaaS). By 2021, 65 percent expect to use container orchestration. More than half (56 percent) of the multi-cloud maestros are already microservices and 59 percent plan to use serverless cloud services in their cloud environments, according to the survey results.
Dolph said IT organizations in general would be well-advised to focus on more than just “lifting and shifting” applications into the cloud. They may need to leverage Docker containers to move an application into the cloud. But once there, an effort should be made to modernize that application by turning large swaths of it into a set of microservices that ultimately are easier to maintain and consume by developers building complementary applications, he said.
The IBM survey makes it apparent that multiple clouds are the new IT normal. Almost half of respondents said they are establishing a multi-cloud architecture to develop new and enhanced products and services. A total of 62 percent of respondents require multiple clouds to create innovative business models, while 52 percent said they need them to produce new revenue streams. Sixty-six percent need them to enhance margin and 46 percent said they need a multi-cloud environment to support agile business processes.
From a DevOps perspective, more than half (51 percent) of respondents use multiple clouds to cultivate a flexible, modular infrastructure that quickly absorbs and leverages technological advances.
Obviously, one of the great paradoxes of multi-cloud computing is that in the pursuit of becoming more agile, many organizations are making their IT environments more complex by employing multiple platforms. The challenge they will face next is maturing their DevOps processes to the point where some order is finally brought to that multi-cloud computing chaos.