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Is multicloud IT an opportunity or an obstacle?

Hybrid Data Management Product Marketing Manager

A modern enterprise IT platform often needs to be all things to all people: to accommodate both new and legacy workloads and be managed by both internal and external experts. To achieve this breadth of capabilities, many businesses have augmented their existing platforms with cloud capabilities from one or more providers. The flexibility and availability of cloud has revolutionized enterprise IT. But as a recent ISG report shows, cloud resources can become an obstacle if they’re not handled in a thoughtful and strategic way.

ISG surveyed hundreds of enterprise IT decision-makers for their report: “Multi-Cloud Adoption Accelerates.” They found that the same cloud flexibility and ease of deployment that delivers opportunities can also lead to shadow IT implementations that set back strategic, optimized architectures in the long-term. Fortunately, strategies exist for successful cloud integration.

Interest in cloud is rising

The current IT landscape is awash with resources: IT spending is rising for more than 80 percent of firms, and cloud spending is growing even more quickly.

ISG’s research shows just how wide-ranging the transformation is, and therefore how many opportunities there are for good planning. Companies can take “an application-centric view to infrastructure operations,” mixing and matching environments as needed. This has led to the adoption of multiple clouds—63 percent of respondents already have cloud infrastructure from two or more providers—and it has also driven rapid shifts in how enterprise IT applications are run. For example, more than 90 percent of respondents expect that their apps will be delivered via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model within just two years.

Why cloud is appealing

The transformation in enterprise IT to include multiple clouds offers several advantages in different areas:

Multicloud infrastructure

By their very nature, multicloud environments remain independent from any single cloud vendor—avoiding data lock-in and maintaining alternative options for service. For enterprise customers, this mitigates the risk of outages in entire regions, and increases competitive, and cost, pressure on their suppliers.

New technologies

Public cloud once meant just virtual machines and storage, but that’s no longer the case. New technologies such as database services, analytics services, and blockchain are now available on public cloud as well, and businesses are adopting them rapidly. 65 percent of IT leaders share that they are piloting cloud database services, while 72 percent plan to use cloud-based blockchain services. Cloud can be a convenient and cost-effective way to trial a new technology without committing the entire enterprise platform.

Cost predictability

By moving workloads to a SaaS model, companies gain cost predictability: 93 percent feel that SaaS costs are in line with their expectations. Plus, with SaaS their vendors are responsible for maintaining the IT foundation for their business applications.

The overall landscape is clear: companies are devoting resources to public cloud services with multiple providers and embracing SaaS. Cloud options—and spending on cloud—are proliferating rapidly. However, in an environment of rapid change, the challenge for enterprises today is to allocate cloud resources intelligently, building a platform with strategic value rather than simply adding whatever new capability they need at a given moment. Without thoughtful planning, enterprises run risks that may not even be apparent at the time.

Why poor cloud planning can cause problems

The ISG report authors make a crucial point that is often overlooked: A spontaneous decision to implement a particular cloud resource can have far-reaching implications. Undertaking a cloud transformation without a proper plan opens up risks in several areas, such as:

  • Implementing, maintaining, upgrading and retiring the entire enterprise technology stack (not just cloud)
  • Controlling the services that employees adopt—including visibility of any compliance, security and cost concerns
  • Scaling the platform, including any new technologies, while maintaining quality of service
  • Adapting applications to new technologies and migrating them to the platform

Failing to consider even one of these points opens businesses up to potential security risks, inefficiency, or degraded performance.

The solution is to build a cloud entry framework (CEF): a strategy for workloads to migrate to the cloud. To learn how to create a solid CEF and avoid typical pitfalls, read ISG’s full report.

If you’d like to discuss your multicloud plans in more detail, schedule a no-cost, 30-minute consultation with a technical expert to discuss your cloud resource needs.