Red Hat customers want the hybrid cloud

Red Hat asked its customers around the globe what they wanted, and while they want the hybrid cloud, Red Hat may not have the experienced staff needed for the transformation from traditional IT to the cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

If you listen to some people, everyone and their corner office wants to move to the public cloud. Red Hat's global customers have a different take. Thirty-one percent of Red Hat's customers say "hybrid" describes their strategy best, 21% are leaning toward a private cloud approach, while only 4% see the public cloud as their first choice. There's only one little problem: Finding the staff with the right skills to make the jump from old-school IT to the cloud.

Businesses prefer the hybrid cloud strategy for many different reasons -- but, overall, data security, cost benefits, and data integration led the pack. For years, the hybrid cloud wasn't that popular. With the rise of the Kubernetes-based hybrid cloud model and with Red Hat being one of the new-model hybrid cloud's leading proponents, customers are embracing the hybrid cloud. 

Not everyone is convinced. Some still see themselves standardized on a single public cloud, while a significant minority -- 6% -- described their strategy as multicloud based on two or more public clouds.

In EMEA, a private cloud is still the most popular option. Indeed, a third of Red Hat's enterprise customers still want a private cloud.

Of course, even now, not everyone is convinced the cloud is their path forward. Twelve percent have no cloud plans at all yet.

Of those who are moving forward into the future, there's one big problem: There aren't enough experienced and talented IT staffers to go around. Eleven percent of Red Hat's customers said they are facing skills and talent gaps in transforming their businesses. At first glance, that may not seem so bad. Think again: Another 17% cited challenges around technical debt, while 11% said that they didn't have enough automation in place. It all comes down to not having enough of the right skills to deal with shifting their IT stack.

Companies know they need more modern-tech savvy staffers. When asked to choose their top non-IT funding priorities, customers choose both technical skills training (16%) and a digital transformation strategy (16%).

And it's not just the cloud. Red Hat's customers also love the promises of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). It's leaped to the top of the hill, with 30% planning on using AI/ML over the next 12 months if they aren't already doing so. This is a big change from last year when blockchain was at the top of the list, and AI/ML wasn't even in the top three.

Indeed, blockchain seems to have lost its luster: Serverless (21%) and Internet of Things and fog/edge computing (25% each) are all more popular than blockchain (which came in with only 12%).

Beyond the technology, companies are proving reluctant to realize that digital transformation, such as moving to the cloud and embracing DevOps, comes with corporate as well as technological challenges. Twenty-nine percent have no plans to evolve to an open organizational culture.

That said, 37% said their culture evolution is at least starting to transform. Furthermore, 55% recognize that DevOps requires a culture change. After all, for DevOps to work, you need more than software; you need your developers and operators to work together. 

Looking ahead, Red Hat concluded, "Getting their existing IT infrastructure in order will be a prerequisite to larger digital transformation initiatives. While this is happening, a majority of these organizations are continuing to pursue hybrid cloud, and a lesser but still strong number of organizations are pursuing private cloud-first over those exclusively using public clouds. And you can't forget the people, whether it's up-leveling skills or transforming the organization itself."

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