Hybrid cloud – The business infrastructure of tomorrow
Mon 23 Mar 2020 | Sammy Zoghlami
Senior Vice President EMEA at Nutanix, Sammy Zoghlami explores recent research into multi-cloud and hybrid cloud adoption
Technology has become a core component of a customer’s experience with an organisation, no matter the vertical market. As a result, businesses require technology that provides flexibility and security, and that cost effectively allows the organisation to change according to altering customer behaviour. A recent study, the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index 2019, reveals that hybrid cloud is becoming business infrastructure; indeed, hybrid cloud is providing the necessary security and agility that businesses in 2020 require.
Poor customer experience will damage 30% of digital business projects, according to analyst house Gartner, placing the technology team and its infrastructure choices right at the heart of the bottom line and brand perception of every business, every day. “Your business results depend on your brand’s ability to retain and add customers,” says Olive Huang, Research Director at Gartner.
Against a backdrop of an increased demand to meet the expectations of customers and to deliver new digital products and services, it is not surprising that the Enterprise Cloud Index 2019 shows that there will be significant adoption of hybrid cloud across the EMEA region over the next three to five years. Indeed, 53% of respondents stated a plan to adopt hybrid cloud by 2024 and 84% of EMEA respondents cited hybrid cloud as the “ideal IT operating model”.
With businesses requiring increasing levels of flexibility, the portability of hybrid cloud can deliver the same level of flexibility to an organisation’s infrastructure. The Enterprise Cloud Index further demonstrates that customer-centric technology teams realise and value this portability. Nearly 20% of respondents cited interoperability as a key benefit of hybrid cloud and 16% said application mobility was a major benefit. As organisations require applications to scale up and down according to customer demands, the business requires an infrastructure that can move an application back and forth between private and public cloud with ease.
Promotions, major events and partnerships require an infrastructure that can scale up significantly to meet a marketing programme or scale back and reduce operational costs during a national holiday, for example. Over 10% of respondents therefore cited the ability to match the right cloud to the right application and the right use case as one of the benefits they were seeking from adopting hybrid cloud.
This same need for flexible and customer friendly infrastructure is driving a shift from multi-cloud to hybrid cloud, according to the respondents to the Enterprise Cloud Index. Over nine per cent of respondents are currently using multi-cloud environments and over 22% plan to be using multi-cloud in the next 12 to 24 months. However, as digital customer services mature, the study reveals that in three to five years, more than half (52%) of respondents will have moved to hybrid cloud and only 19% will continue with multi-cloud environments.
Interestingly, the Enterprise Cloud Index reveals a drop in hybrid cloud adoption during 2019 compared to what the same study for 2018 said was going to happen. 2019 witnessed an increase in traditional datacentre usage for desktop application hosting, CRM and ERP applications, databases, analytics, as well as backup and recovery. There was also a corresponding drop in the use of private cloud during this period. 2019 was the year that saw regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force and some corresponding major changes in operating models, which may be behind this trend.
Skills and security
The Enterprise Cloud Index reveals challenging approaches to security when it comes to the adoption of hybrid cloud, as well as some real business and, therefore, customer concerns.
Security was cited as one of the main ways hybrid cloud can benefit an organisation, but interestingly there remains a high level of concern that hybrid cloud decreases the security of an organisation. Nearly 20% of respondents believe hybrid cloud will increase data security and compliance in the organisation.
Hybrid cloud was said to be inherently secure by 26.5% of respondents in EMEA, two per cent lower than respondents in the Americas and three per cent lower than their peers in the Asia Pacific and Japan market. Hybrid cloud is seen as significantly more secure than public cloud (8.7%) of respondents and multi-cloud (7.7%), but not significantly more secure than an on-premise private cloud, which was backed by 20.4% of respondents.
The Enterprise Cloud Index highlighted the common concern of business technology leaders towards access to cloud and cybersecurity skills. Across all markets, organisations are finding these skills scarce.
Flexible trumps cost
Across EMEA, the Enterprise Cloud Index demonstrates that public cloud budgets are over exceeding limitations, according to 31.7% of respondents and five per cent are majorly over budget. That said, it is clear that organisations looking for an infrastructure that gives them customer-centricity are looking at hybrid cloud as the method that will enable the flexibility they require.
As the Enterprise Cloud Index reveals, hybrid cloud is seen by business technology leaders as the way to provide organisations with the flexibility they require for today’s ever changing market dynamics. The results reveal that organisations expect agility and interoperability as customer demands flex. Old rigid forms of infrastructure fail to meet the needs of businesses that are focused on their customers. Security remains a topic of debate in the modern enterprise, but as the Enterprise Cloud Index demonstrates, the infrastructure of tomorrow will be both secure and adaptable.