In 2017, Evaluator Group published a report entitled “The Enterprise Hybrid Cloud —a Work in Progress.” This year, as enterprises return to more normal IT operations post-COVID-19, Evaluator Group conducted a hybrid cloud research study that sought to ascertain movement on issues explored in the previous survey research and to introduce new lines of inquiry, including those concerning cloud storage, cost, containers/Kubernetes, multi-cloud data management (MCDM) and cloud decision making. Evaluator Group asked respondents questions to help expose barriers to adoption, problems encountered, and aspects they find of value and that help increase hybrid cloud adoption.
Not surprisingly, Evaluator Group saw that enterprises had matured. Signs of this maturity include a progression from exploratory use cases, such as deploying hybrid clouds for disaster recovery or application development, to more critical application hosting. Along the way, they are learning that cost control is something of an art form and that staffing hybrid clouds with qualified administrators is challenging at best.
The hybrid cloud is often cited as a final destination. But in the minds of enterprise IT users, the hybrid cloud is a resource to be treated and managed as any other IT resource. Users are pragmatic, finding the best way to deliver IT services at the lowest cost, given their unique circumstances. Evaluator Group sees and presents this pragmatism at work in this study.
In October 2017, Evaluator Group published the results and analysis of a survey of potential and current enterprise hybrid cloud users. We surveyed enterprise administrators who were focusing their IT management skills on hybrid cloud and multi cloud initiatives. In addition, Evaluator Group conducted in-depth interviews with these respondents.
At that time, 62% of our survey respondents had deployed hybrid clouds and indicated this architecture was their long-term future, while 30% said they were “just getting started.” More than half (58%) of the respondents indicated they would increase their hybrid cloud workloads. In the 2021 survey, Evaluator Group found that 98% of respondents had deployed a hybrid cloud architecture, with the remaining 2% planning to deploy one, but still deciding on the architecture. No respondents indicated they had no plans to deploy a hybrid cloud environment.
With regard to issues experienced, Evaluator Group thought that public cloud security would top the list of hybrid cloud concerns and 48% of the medium to large enterprise respondents agreed. But a larger group (58%) regarded network security as an even greater concern. Meanwhile, nearly 60% of the enterprise IT respondents in 2017 indicated that a lack of interoperability was a significant technology-related issue that they must overcome.
The 2021 survey shows some shifting of challenges currently experienced by enterprise IT users. Today, public cloud security tops the list with 40% of respondents identifying this as one of their biggest challenges, while network security falls to second place at 35%. Lack of interoperability fell well down the list to the number eight spot at 14%. Evaluator Group suspects that the increase of external attacks, such as ransomware and phishing, during 2020 and continuing to today has much to do with the gravity of this concern among IT administrators. At the same time, two other challenges rose to prominence in this survey. Respondents indicated that the hybrid cloud is more complex than originally thought (31%) and the hybrid cloud is more expensive than originally thought (25%). Difficulty in assuring application performance was also cited by 21% of respondents.
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