The pandemic put incredible pressure on organizations to modernize and accelerate digital transformation efforts, with many businesses rushing to embrace cloud strategies in response. According to this year’s Enterprise Cloud Index from Nutanix, multi-cloud—an IT operating model that combines multiple clouds, public or private—is the most commonly deployed IT environment and the only IT model on an upward adoption trajectory. In fact, nearly two-thirds (64%) of organizations plan to operate a multi-cloud environment within three years.
But there are complexities and challenges of managing across cloud borders that organizations are still grappling with, and concerns about security, data integration and cost remain. Enterprises will need to find ways to leverage existing cloud investments and redefine best practices and what it means to have agility and resilience in IT.
Businesses have traditionally been designed around managing costs, increasing efficiency and streamlining operations, but lean IT teams find themselves under new pressures to support the challenges we’re facing today. The pandemic forced organizations to prioritize implementations and view the public cloud as a quick solution for everything without proper due diligence at the expense of optimization. This approach lacked focus on strategic business outcomes, and ultimately led to increased complexity, higher costs and less flexibility. According to the study, 87% of respondents agreed that multi-cloud success requires simpler management across mixed-cloud infrastructures.
Enterprises also continue to rank improving security as a top IT priority, yet managing security was among the top multi-cloud challenges cited. Additionally, the majority of respondents (80%) say that moving apps can be time-consuming and costly, and 77% agree that workload portability is a significant challenge. This underscores the need for uniform management and operations across different cloud environments to avoid costly and time-consuming efforts to move applications.
“Cloud-Smart” approach to IT
Current cloud thinking is that there’s a “best” cloud environment for each workload or application, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the cloud. Organizations will start to move away from blanket cloud-first approaches to IT, and instead, be more thoughtful about which workloads run where. It is no longer a foregone conclusion that taking every app or workflow to the cloud permanently is the best course of action. The adoption of this “cloud-smart” approach, leveraging the most appropriate cloud environment for each use case, is likely a primary driver behind the proliferation of multi-cloud.
The use of IT infrastructure by organizations is becoming more strategic over time. Nearly three-quarters of IT professionals (72%) feel that the IT function in their businesses is seen as more strategic now than it was a year ago. While businesses are now viewing and using IT more strategically than ever before, the complexity of multi-cloud is creating challenges that are standing in the way of cloud success. Despite challenges, a strong case is made for why the future of IT is hybrid multi-cloud, a model that enables more operational consistency across clouds. In fact, 83% consider it ideal.
Multi-Cloud Supports New Ways of Working
The pandemic has changed how nearly all organizations operate, and the top reasons cited by businesses for changing their infrastructure and deployment models are improving remote work and collaboration. While an organizations’ remote workforces may fluctuate, they are here to stay for the foreseeable future and IT will need to be nimble to support a remote, hybrid workforce and keep people productive and connected regardless of location.
Over half (61%) of organizations are focused on offering more flexible work setups because of the pandemic, and multi-cloud supports this new way of working. It offers the most agile IT environment for supporting this kind of flexibility by distributing data and allowing remote access to business applications from diverse geolocations for user proximity and business continuity, and enabling organizations to implement technology that helps retain and attract talent.
Multi-cloud is here to stay—and is the only operating model that is expected to increase in the coming years. 2022 will bring about a shift towards hybrid multi-cloud deployment as organizations look to take advantage of what each cloud has to offer while still having the flexibility and freedom of choice around their applications and data. This would deliver on the flexibility and agility that most organizations seek to compete in today’s digital world while enabling enterprises to significantly simplify operations. Future-proofing cloud strategies is the key to building IT resilience.