Conventional wisdom holds that, in the long-term, it’s inevitable the bulk of application workloads will be running on a cloud service, typically a shared public cloud infrastructure. However, a survey of 150 global business and IT professionals published this week by Denodo, a provider of data virtualization platform, suggests that the shift to the cloud is going to be a lot more nuanced.

The survey finds more than a third of organizations (35 percent) are employing a hybrid approach to cloud computing, while another 9 percent said they are pursuing a multi-cloud approach. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they are relying on private clouds, while only 16 percent said they employ public clouds.

Not surprisingly, the survey also finds that the cloud market itself is dominated by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, which are used to varying degrees by 65 percent of respondents. The survey also notes that half of respondents (50 percent) are using multiple classes of data integration tools, ranging from data lakes and data warehouses to object storage systems and extract, transform and load (ETL) tools.

No one-size fits all approach to cloud service computing

In many cases, customers are now calling what was once known as a managed hosting service an instance of cloud computing. The IT landscape is becoming more diverse and in the years ahead, it’s also going to be more complicated to manage as cloud-native technologies such as Kubernetes clusters and serverless computing frameworks continue to gain traction.

The single biggest beneficiary of that IT expansions will undoubtedly be managed service providers (MSPs) that have the expertise required to manage what is becoming in many cases an over-extended enterprise.

In fact, as cloud computing continues to evolve, the number of organizations that will be standardizing on platforms provide by a single cloud provider are few. IT organizations have become more cognizant of the fact that certain classes of workloads run better in one cloud environment over another.

Regardless of potential cost savings, many IT teams would also just as soon keep their options open in an era where no one is quite sure whether they might one day wake up to discover that Amazon, Microsoft, Google or any other cloud provider has overnight become a competitor.

One way or another, organizations are ultimately moving toward a federated approach to IT that prizes flexibility above all else. Savvy MSPs are positioning themselves not just as cloud experts, but also preservers of freedom of choice at a time when the bulk of application workloads still run in on-premises IT environment.

In fact, the most telling statistic to surface in the survey is that only 20 percent of respondents said they are moving advanced workloads to a cloud environment of any kind. That would suggest that even after 10 years of hyping cloud computing services, we’re still in the relatively early innings of a game that is far from over. MSPs should expect to see the lead change hands multiple times before a game that is already destined to head into extra innings, ever really ends.

Photo: Zuni sheikh / Shutterstock

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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