New Report: App Modernization in a Multi-Cloud World

What does the ideal cloud environment look like? What obstacles get in the way of realizing this ideal environment? In the face of these obstacles, how do you empower developers to be more productive and innovative, without threatening security and operations?

With the cloud market at an inflection point – and with the worlds of data center, cloud, and edge now converging – these and other questions are top of mind for organizations seeking to gain competitive advantage from their app modernization efforts.

We recently sought answers by spending three months studying leading global organizations and speaking to over 1,200 IT leaders, decision makers, and developers. Their responses are covered in detail in our new report, App Modernization in a Multi-Cloud World. We’ll look at some of the highlights here.

Diversity Rules in the Ideal Cloud Environment

A key theme coming out of the research was that organizations not only contend with more diversity than ever before when it comes to applications, operating environments, and infrastructure – but that they want to embrace this diversity for its potential to unlock innovation and new capabilities.

With all this in mind, the ideal cloud environment is multi-cloud by design, able to support traditional and modern applications, virtual machines and containers. Indeed, when asked to describe the ideal cloud environment, survey respondents turned to these phrases:

  • Manage consistently, everywhere
  • Build, move and run anywhere
  • Secure and protect every app
  • Dev/IT collaboration support
  • Change and adapt, without penalty

The problem is that, in many organizations, the diverse environments still operate in silos – creating chaos and complexity. Indeed, the top four multi-cloud challenges that organizations face include:

  • Inconsistencies between clouds (63%)
  • Cost considerations (42%)
  • Security concerns (41%)
  • Lack of skills (39%)

Hurdles are there to be jumped, right? And what better motivation to overcome the challenges above than the opportunity to build applications and services that give your business an edge over the competition?

Enterprise App Modernization is a Top Priority

Cloud is geared for the rapid delivery of new services. Cloud-native principles, containers, Kubernetes, and microservices are redefining how new applications are built, run, and managed. According to the research, the top priorities for businesses when it comes to app modernization are:

  • Application transformation (72%)
  • Cloud migration (44%)
  • Developing new cloud apps (42%)

Both application transformation and developing new cloud apps are anchored on the idea of building new functionality that takes advantage of micro-services and containerized apps. Whereas cloud migration is about re-platforming traditional apps from the data center to the cloud (more on this below).

Turning to Containers and Kubernetes

Containers and Kubernetes are emerging as essential building blocks of modern apps. Organizations seem to realize this – almost three-quarters (73%) plan to containerize existing apps and 41% plan to build new apps using containers. Likewise, three-quarters plan to use Kubernetes as the orchestration platform for their modern apps program.

But note the word ‘plan’. The research shows that both container and Kubernetes adoption is still in early days. A lack of skills, concerns about security, and overall complexity are still holding many organizations back. Until these building blocks for modern apps are fully embraced, the benefits of multi-cloud environments will not be realized.

The Slow Pace of Cloud Migration

Despite being one of the top three priorities for businesses when it comes to app modernization, the ‘great app migration’ is taking time.

Almost a quarter (22%) of organizations have been working on cloud migration for three or more years. There’s no doubt at all that migrating legacy apps is a big and time-consuming job, particularly in organizations that have incompatible infrastructure. These incompatibilities, plus the diverse architectures of public cloud, make a ‘lift and shift’ approach impractical – increasing the cost, complexity and risk of cloud migration.

The process becomes much faster when migrating across a seamless hybrid cloud infrastructure, using tools and skill sets that IT teams are already familiar with.

Organizations Crave Multi-Cloud Consistency

Over the next three years to 2022, survey respondents predict an average 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for containers, and a 7% CAGR for virtual machines. The majority of this growth will be on public cloud. Clearly, organizations are anticipating the need to invest more in multi-cloud portability.

These organizations are seeking consistency across cloud environments – in how clouds are architected, how Kubernetes is delivered across clouds, and in the tools and processes used to manage cloud. They see the main benefits of consistency as being:

  • Increased agility (71%)
  • Effective use of skills (45%)
  • Meeting regulatory requirements (40%)

The freedom or agility to move workloads to any cloud gives internal stakeholders such as DevOps teams easier access to the massive amounts of innovation enabled by public cloud providers. Then, organizations will realize their goals of creating more sophisticated and powerful application estates that drive business growth, operational efficiency, and market differentiation.

Supporting the Modern Apps Journey

As the research reveals, organizations know where they want to get to with modern apps and multi-cloud environments, but have a few obstacles to overcome along the way. To learn more about the state of play and how VMware’s modern application portfolio is helping organizations across the full spectrum of modern apps, transformation, and cloud environments, read the full report.

Looking to better understand VMware’s unique approach to multi-cloud architecture? Get the definitive guide here.

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