Multi-Cloud Strategy is Popular but Years Away

Multi-cloud strategy
It will take more than interest to make multi-cloud strategies broadly feasible.

Multi-cloud strategy might be popular among decision-makers in theory, but a survey from Next Pathway suggests that this ideal might still be a ways off. Cloud might be non-negotiable at this point, but companies are still working out the kinks for integration and interoperability. Although the survey does point to cloud momentum growing, it will take some adjustments before companies are able to embrace the multi-cloud approach.

A majority of companies believe in the multi-cloud strategy

The report found that just over half of decision-makers believe that a multi-cloud environment is an ideal way forward. Of that 52.1% of survey respondents:

  • 31.4% cite that multi-cloud strategies provide the ultimate flexibility they’re looking for to incorporate the cloud environments required for complex business needs.
  • 23.6% believe remaining cloud-agnostic is an advantageous position, and a multi-cloud strategy would provide the foundation of that approach.
  • 22.5% like the idea that leveraging multi-cloud could help reduce their dependency on a single provider’s technology
  • Another 22.5% believe the strategy can help alleviate potential risks from cloud outages by allowing companies to operate with multi-cloud components to safeguard against downtime.

The takeaway here is that companies are shifting willingly to an agile, composable environment. A multi-cloud approach helps reduce the risks associated with relying on a single technology, provider, or tool—provided companies can integrate them to reduce silos.

See also: Cloud Data Platforms: Data Shifts to the Cloud 

Despite its popularity, multi-cloud is still years away

It makes a lot of sense to pursue multi-cloud. Companies are very keen to move away from putting all their resources—and their trust—into a single place. Currently, the single cloud could be considered a weakness in digital transformation.

A multi-cloud approach, when done right, could allow companies to build environments to suit business processes. The reverse–they can drop them just as quickly when they aren’t suitable anymore. All this could happen without causing massive disruptions, moving data from a single monolith to another monolith or massive retraining. 

It would also prevent major outages from causing the same disruptions, something that’s already happened in high profile ways. However, introducing a multi-cloud environment also introduces complexity to the business environment as well as increased financial overhead to maintain it.

While some companies are already working within a multi-cloud environment, continued obstacles include:

  • Segmented clouds with little functional interoperability
  • Overly complex data environments thanks to jumping into multi-cloud without a clear strategy
  • Clear cybersecurity strategies that maintain consistency across the entire tech stack
  • Burgeoning costs thanks to additional tools and scale.

Many companies are still trying to migrate their legacy systems to the cloud successfully. With these added challenges, they may not be in an optimal position to jump to the multi-cloud.

What will it take to embrace a multi-cloud strategy? 

Companies need major support to move to a multi-cloud approach. According to the survey, 45.2% of companies wish that their cloud providers not only provided a multi-cloud option, but consulting services as well. Businesses are ready to implement but still need significant support from cloud providers to understand how to move forward.

Connectivity is a significant contributor to reluctance to shift to multi-cloud as well. Nearly half of respondents (40.2%) felt that multi-cloud environments were too difficult to connect, making it difficult, if not impossible, to perform the business tasks necessary. Lack of connectivity would prevent companies from leveraging the true power of their data and introduce unnecessary complexity into the tech stack. Overcoming connectivity challenges will allow companies to truly work within the multi-cloud environment and not just obtain one.

Other companies just don’t feel prepared to embrace the approach just yet despite their overall support of the principle. 30.9% of people want to split workloads across different public clouds but lack bandwidth to get started with the overhaul. Many of the challenges listed above, including cost and cybersecurity concerns, are keeping them from taking the leap. Once companies have the connectivity and support, we may see more of them taking the next steps.

Talent is also a concern. Acquiring and retaining top talent to implement these environments can make or break a new initiative. Companies with the internal skill available will have a much better time jumping into multi-cloud configurations. 

It all comes back to composability

Companies see the benefit of multi-cloud when it comes to controlling their assets and preventing outages. Multi-cloud provides flexibility to run the right workload in the right environment with the right vendor instead of locking into a single, all-encompassing stack that can’t pivot. 

While it might not be a reality for a few more years, the survey does underscore how interested companies are in the shift and what the market can do to offer support during the coming years’ transition period. It’s an area full of potential and one that business is eager to embrace once all the right conditions are in place.

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