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A survey of 2,300 IT professionals conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Nutanix, a provider of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms, suggest IT leaders are getting much savvier about cloud computing.

The survey finds 91 percent of respondents now see hybrid clouds as the ideal IT model, and 97 percent say being able to move applications between cloud platforms is a top priority. However, only 18 percent say they have a hybrid cloud model in place today. The survey also shows that number is set to increase to 26 percent in 12 months and to 41 percent in 12 to 24 months. Immediate hybrid cloud priorities cited are interoperability (23 percent), application mobility (16 percent) and cloud consolidation (15 percent).

Current and future challenges

From a managed service provider (MSP) perspective, the survey makes it clear that many organizations’ hybrid cloud ambitions are beyond their current internal skill sets. Three quarter of respondents say hybrid cloud skills are required. In terms of availability, hybrid cloud skills are the second most scarce, behind artificial intelligence/machine learning inside internal IT organizations. Over half the respondents admitted their organization has difficulty retaining IT talent.

The same survey also notes that organizations that plan to rely on multiple public cloud service providers remain relatively modest. Today, 12 percent say they use multiple public cloud service providers, a number that is expected to increase to 18 percent within two years. This suggests the majority of hybrid cloud activity will be limited to on-premise IT environments integrated with one public cloud.

IT leaders are also getting pickier about where to deploy different classes of workloads. Almost three quarters ranked data security and regulatory compliance as the top factor in determining where to provision their workloads. That was followed by performance (62 percent), ease of management (53 percent), and cost (52 percent).

The report also finds many organizations are struggling with controlling cloud computing budgets. Over a third of organizations using public clouds overspent their annual budget. Only six percent are under budget. The survey also finds that organizations that use public cloud spend 26 percent of their annual IT budget on public cloud, with this percentage projected to increase to 35 percent over the next two years. Nearly three quarters of respondents say their IT teams are more efficient in the wake of making the transition to cloud computing.  

In the years ahead

Overall, the report predicts the number of application workloads running in public or private clouds will increase by 20 percent over the next two years. Within that same timeframe, IT leaders expect to be running 56 percent of their workloads in these environments. The survey also notes a preference for more deployments of things, such as data backup (54 percent) and internal databases (51 percent), to a private cloud. Meanwhile, public infrastructure is preferred more often for less predictable mobile/digital (46 percent) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications (41 percent). Of course, not every IT leader exercises full control over cloud computing decisions. Well over half admit they have had to contend with at least one instance of shadow IT spending.

In an age when many public cloud service providers make their own managed services available, the rise of hybrid clouds bodes well for independent MSPs capable of managing IT residing on-premises and in the cloud. Of course, there will come a day when application workloads will also more commonly span multiple clouds compared to how often they do today. In the meantime, MSPs would be wise to advise clients to stay away from any and all proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs), in order to retain as much control over their cloud computing futures as possible.

Photo: iDEAR Replay / Shutterstock.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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