A survey of 458 development professionals, managers and senior leaders conducted by Techstrong Research, a sister entity of DevOps.com, found 43% are considering adding additional cloud service providers in the next 12 months. In total, nearly two-thirds said they are at least considering, evaluating or are ready to buy from a trusted alternative cloud vendor, with 20% reporting they have already contracted one.
The survey, conducted on behalf of Linode, an arm of Akamai Technologies that provides cloud services, found a full 93% of survey respondents are already using either Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Compute Platform (GCP). Nearly two-thirds (65%) reported they already used more than one cloud service provider. More than a quarter (28%) said they are using alternative providers to augment services they consume from either AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM Rackspace or Alibaba. And 19% said they are using a hyperscaler and an alternative cloud service provider.
The biggest drivers respondents cited for using alternative providers are reducing reliance on a single provider (55%), improved price/performance (38%) and recent cloud outages (31%).
Respondents also said they are concerned that large providers might one day compete with them as they expand their reach into other industry segments (24%) or may engage in business practices that would create a moral conflict (19%). A quarter (25%) said they already viewed their cloud service provider as a competitor.
Dan Kirsch, principal analyst for Techstrong Research, said as cloud computing continues to mature, it is becoming apparent that more organizations are considering their options when it comes to consuming commodity compute, storage and networking services. Many organizations simply don’t need to access complex cloud services, he noted. A total of 42% of respondents said a cloud service provider offering core infrastructure primatives could handle 90% of their typical workloads. In many cases, alternative cloud service providers are being used to augment rather than replace a hyperscale cloud service provider, noted Kirsch.
Overall, nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) said they expect their infrastructure will be cloud-based by the end of this year. Nearly three-quarters of respondents buy cloud services directly from an infrastructure provider, with the rest employing a managed services provider or some other type of third-party cloud services reseller.
More than one-third of respondents also reported using a payment mechanism other than a contract or request for proposal (RFP), according to the study. Among customers of alternative cloud providers, more than two-thirds (67%) are using some other payment mechanism, with one-quarter using cryptocurrencies to pay. That option is becoming increasingly important because more organizations are looking for ways to reduce costs by employing alternative payments, said Kirsch.
In other cases, IT professionals are looking for an end-run around cumbersome purchasing processes or simply opt to use alternative payment methods as a matter of personal preference, he added. Alternative providers, as a general rule, are more open to processing these types of payments, noted Kirsch.
The shift to the cloud has clearly been accelerating since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the landscape continues to evolve, there are now more options than ever for IT organizations to consider as the cloud becomes the preferred platform on which to deploy applications.