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What We Learned From IDC’s 2019 Multicloud Management Survey

In August 2019, market intelligence company IDC conducted a multicloud management survey among nearly three hundred US-based enterprise IT decision-makers. The survey found that automation, analytics, and governance are powering enterprise multicloud management strategies, yet challenges still remain.

Statistics relating to multicloud adoption can often give a mixed picture of how enterprises are using multiple clouds, as respondents aren’t always sure of how multicloud is defined or if their complex public and private cloud infrastructure actually qualify as multicloud in the first place.  

Of those who took IDC’s survey, 93.2% stated they were using ‘multiple infrastructure clouds’ for their business operations. The breakdown below gives a more detailed look into how enterprises are using multiple clouds today:  

  • 81 percent use multiple public clouds and one or more private or dedicated clouds
  • 11 percent use multiple private or dedicated clouds
  • 7.5 percent use one public cloud and one or more private or dedicated clouds
  • 0.5 percent operate in multiple public clouds only.

As enterprise’s total spend on public cloud services continues to increase, business leaders are tasking IT departments to find the right balance between the agility and cost. For IT leaders, this means trying to adapt traditional IT skills and processes with the requirements needed to properly evaluate, select, and govern public cloud services. 

What did respondents say was the most important reason(s) for their organization to be using multiple clouds? IDC found the following: 

  • 61.5% of enterprises said leveraging cloud-specific capabilities 
  • 54.5% claimed business unit/eam preference determine cloud usage
  • 54.5% used multiple clouds to reduce cloud 

How enterprises manage their multicloud environments

Many enterprises manage their multicloud environments using SaaS-enabled solutions and a combination of SaaS and on-premises management tools to address issues such as performance monitoring, capacity optimization, and cost management. More than half have implemented—or plan to implement—third party solutions to automate multicloud management.

In order to better configure automated management solutions to match their requirements, enterprises are also investing heavily in interconnected analytics solutions. Multicloud environments typically change and evolve much faster than traditional on-premises data centers, and the effective use of automation requires advanced analytics to understand resource cost, performance, and security. 

Nonetheless, challenges still remain

Despite the implementation of third-party solutions, many respondents to the IDC multicloud management survey still encounter challenges. The top two challenges facing businesses today are (1) optimizing multicloud management processes and skills and (2) ensuring the availability of adequate IT talent. Rounding out the top 5 most pressing multicloud management challenges include meeting security and compliance standards, optimizing spend, and application performance. 

Microservices, containers, and multicloud continue to challenge costs

Cost management challenges will continue to increase in complexity as more and more applications are built using microservices and containers. While these new technologies increase developer agility and application mobility, proper visibility and management over those applications throughout their lifecycle can be extremely difficult. 

IDC found that many organizations are concerned that the shift to highly modular, dynamic container infrastructure and microservices-based applications has the potential to make it even more difficult to monitor, secure, and control cloud consumption and costs. 

In fact, 86% of surveyed organizations expect containers, microservices, and Kubernetes to have significant impacts on their multicloud management strategies in the coming years. 


Technical solutions to overcome the challenges

By taking advantage of third-party solutions, cost, performance, and security challenges become much more manageable. IDC attributes better management to emerging cloud centers of excellence and site reliability engineers, who have become experts on leveraging analytics to make better-informed decisions and using automation to enforce cloud management policies.

Looking at the high percentage of enterprises that operate in a multicloud environment that includes one or more private or dedicated clouds, IDC notes that in order to make best use of the analytics and automation tools available, enterprises need to invest in solutions that have open APIs, strong support for multiple clouds (including on-premises private clouds), and the ability to integrate workflows and analytics across traditional and modern applications and infrastructure.

Where do you go from here?

With this in mind, IDC recommends VMware vRealize to manage VMware resources on-premises and in public clouds, while sharing data with CloudHealth by VMware to provide visibility, optimization, governance, and security aligned with business objectives. Using vRealize and CloudHealth together enables enterprises to assess individual migration costs to public clouds and set policies that define and consistently apply cost, usage, performance, and configuration policies.

To find out more about how enterprises are using multiple clouds, download the full IDC white paper, sponsored by VMWare, Automation, Analytics, and Governance Power Enterprise Multicloud Management Strategies, August 2019.