While there’s no doubt there’s been an acceleration in the number of workloads being deployed on public clouds, managed service providers (MSPs) shouldn’t assume that this activity is coming at the expense of workloads being deployed in on-premises IT environments.

A survey of 263 data center infrastructure professionals located in North America and Europe, conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) on behalf of Pluribus Networks and published this week, suggests that cloud workloads are largely additive to the workloads deployed in on-premises IT environments, and that continue to grow at a more modest rate.

The survey finds than half of respondents (56 percent) are employed by organizations planning to add new data center sites in the next 24 months versus only 13 percent that plan to consolidate sites. More than half of respondents already have three to five data center locations, with 34% of respondents working for large enterprises having 11 or more data centers. Just under a third (30 percent) said they will maintain their current number of data centers, and will either modernizing them or migrate to new facilities.

Primary reasons for running application workloads in on-premises IT environments include security (48 percent), performance (40 percent), compliance (37 percent) and cost (29 percent). Other reasons for investing in on-premises IT environments are hybrid cloud (55 percent) and better application experiences (40 percent).

IT organizations are also moving toward coupling their data centers more tightly by adopting active-active (41 percent) and active-hot standby (81 percent) architectures over the next two years. As part of those efforts survey respondents also noted reliance on network virtualization and automation will increase from 37 percent today to 69 percent in the same two-year window.

Survey respondents cited the biggest obstacles to achieving their IT strategy as network architecture complexity (43 percent), network operations complexity (40 percent), and application architecture complexity (32 percent). Further, the biggest obstacle to implementing network virtualization specifically is cost (36 percent) followed by complexity (29 percent).

Preference for on-premises IT environments

It’s estimated that even a decade after the initial rise of cloud computing, more than 75 percent of workloads still run in some form of an on-premises IT environment residing in either a data center operated by an internal IT team of colocation data centers, or managed hosted services. For all the economic and agility benefits a public cloud may afford, it’s clear resistance to sharing IT infrastructure within a public cloud is still fairly strong. The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced more organizations to deploy workloads in the cloud, but those workloads may not replace on-premises workloads any time soon.

In fact, despite all the enthusiasm for various digital business transformation initiatives it will be quite some time before those efforts reach a level of maturity that would give organizations the confidence they need to turn off a legacy application. Many organizations today generally find the path of least resistance to digital business transformation is to build a more accessible front end, capable of programmatically invoking a set of legacy backend services, they don’t have the time or resources required to replace.

Photo: Timofeev Vladimir / Shutterstock

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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