For years, taking a multicloud approach remained a topic of conversation within enterprises. Now, the conversation has shifted away from 'what if' to 'when and how' as the ability to manage multiple cloud providers has been made easier thanks to the many vendors offering a broad portfolio of features to meet the needs of the enterprise.
How enterprises manage their multicloud was the question ZDNet sister site TechRepublic Premium wanted to answer when it surveyed tech professionals in May/June 2019. Respondents answered questions about the public cloud platforms they use, functions their companies use cloud application providers for, reasons for not taking a multicloud approach, as well as the benefits and challenges of managing multiple cloud providers.
Implementing a multicloud strategy seems popular among enterprises, as over two-thirds of survey respondents (69%) currently use or plan to use services from multiple cloud providers within the next 12 months. Just 31 percent of survey respondents do not use or plan to use multiple cloud providers.
Of those respondents who are not taking a multicloud approach, their reasons ranged from too costly to implement and maintain (34%) to security concerns (23%). Complexity of implementation and maintenance, as well as workloads not being conducive to parallel deployment, were cited by 20 percent of respondents. Eleven percent of survey respondents returned to a single cloud provider or on-premises system.
However, survey respondents who actively use multiple cloud providers cited many benefits. Avoiding vendor lock-in was the most popular benefit for 73 percent of respondents. Competitive pricing ranked as a benefit for 65 percent of respondents, while resistance to outages and ease of scaling for workloads won over 45 percent and 42 percent of respondents, respectively, as a reason for a multicloud approach. Just 27 percent cited regulatory compliance as a benefit.
Despite the many benefits of taking a multicloud approach, challenges do remain. Complexity was cited as the biggest challenge by the majority of survey respondents (72%). Migrating apps and security followed as a challenge for 48 percent of respondents, while managing costs was an issue for 43 percent. Few respondents (13%) claimed to have no challenges with managing their multicloud infrastructure.
A wide assortment of cloud providers are available, but most survey respondents enlist big-name providers such as Microsoft Azure (78%) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) (77%) for their cloud computing needs. Google Cloud Platform is used by 43 percent, with other respondents using Oracle Cloud (23%), IBM Cloud (13%), and Alibaba Cloud (12%). Only 5 percent of respondents choose to use Tencent Cloud and Fijitusu Cloud Services. Interestingly, 32% of survey respondents use specialized application/service providers such as Dropbox, Salesforce, Cloudflare, etcetera, even though these are closer to services than they are to cloud platforms.