A Forrester report commissioned by Dell Technologies found 77% of respondents believed their multicloud environment was becoming more complex, with 85% stating they had a goal of reducing complexity where it did not add value.
According to Bill Martorelli, Forrester's principal analyst serving Infrastructure and Operations Professionals, organisations were increasingly moving to hybrid cloud and multicloud environments, including a mix of hosted private clouds, internal private clouds, and public clouds, with 17% of respondents using as many as five cloud offerings.
"Cloud is the engine which powers the new connected economy, and digital businesses are using cloud to create ecosystems that put the customer at the centre of the action," Martorelli said. "And in some cases we are seeing companies accelerate investments in digital transformation using cloud at the centre of the action in order to cope with today's severe business challenges.
"Typically the rationale for using more than one cloud is to gain access to specific features and performance characteristics that are available in different clouds. But other rationales include access to a significant array of backup and disaster recovery capability across multiple cloud environments."
All of this activity has resulted in the creation of cloud environments with high complexity and the resultant need for that complexity to be reduced.
But reducing complexity has presented its own problems, as many respondents reported they lacked sufficient skilled employees to manage multiple cloud platforms. While 44% were attempting to hire staff with multicloud experience, many others were looking to partner with organisations to deliver solutions that reduced complexity. Forrester found 55% of organisations agreed that cloud service providers played a critical role in helping manage complexity, and 34% stated that using managed service providers was a top strategy for overcoming complexity challenges.
Martorelli said one way to reduce complexity was to apply consistent technology and operations across cloud instances, wherever possible.
"External service providers such as MSPs are not only capable of playing a significant role in assisting customers to deal with the complexity associated with multiple cloud or multicloud environment, but in fact are doing so," he said.
"The idea is to enable a common abstraction layer allowing for a consistent mode of access and a consistent similar user experience across different cloud environments, both of a hybrid and a multiple cloud nature, for consumers and users of these cloud environments."
Dell Technologies' response to this challenge is the Dell Technologies Cloud, a joint development with VMware which delivers the simplest and fastest hybrid cloud solution based on deep integration with VMware's Cloud Foundation.
According to Varun Chhabra, Vice President for Cloud Product Marketing at Dell Technologies, the goal was to enable organisations to select the best mix of cloud service models and providers, but without compromising security or user experience.
"The ability to be able to harness data no matter where it is created in a consistent way to extract insights is a very, very critical part of a cloud strategy," Chhabra said. "But in this multicloud world, if not managed correctly, there can be an enormous amount of complexity that businesses have to deal with."
Managed services providers also play a key role in reducing complexity and Dell Technologies partners, such as Rackspace Technology, assist clients to leverage the power of multicloud solutions effectively and efficiently.
Adopting a multicloud strategy is often the first step toward a comprehensive digital transformation. An experienced Managed Service Provider (MSP) can guide the legwork and navigate the cloud journey by providing access to expertise and manpower to discover and plan, assess, design, optimise, and secure the ideal multicloud environment.
Partnering with an MSP, such as Rackspace Technology, can help address common challenges faced by internal teams around "keeping the lights on" vs focusing on process improvement and innovation, the cloud skills gap, as well as the ongoing management of multiple platforms and vendors.
MSPs can also help businesses simplify operations, reduce costs, and improve security and compliance, while working alongside the internal teams to innovate and plan ways to scale for future growth across multiple environments and workloads.
As the Forrester research showed, organisations that used managed services achieved better performance, economics, and trust, with a third of respondents citing the use of partners as a top strategy for overcoming complexity.