New research shows IT leaders across the globe believe the data center is here to stay. At the same time, many organizations are also eyeing the benefits of multi-cloud environments. David Jasso, director of corporate marketing at VMware Cloud, dives into the findings of the study.
The VMware Cloud team recently conducted a study, looking at where organizations are today and where they plan to go when it comes to their application modernization and multi-cloud strategies. The study included responses from over 1,200 knowledgeable IT and App Dev IT decision-makers around the world.
Supporting Diversity Is Job One
The first thing that is evident in this research is that diversity is at the core of where organizations expect to be in the future. Rather than the market converging on a single approach to solving any given technology problem, companies have a more diverse range of potential solutions than at any point in the past.
For many years now, there has been a lot of talk about the inevitable demise of the data center. Instead our research found that IT leaders anticipate continued growth in the data center – albeit slow growth. At the same time, the public cloud continues to grow rapidly but off a much smaller base of workloads. So, what we see in aggregate is a marketplace that continues to seek an equilibrium between what runs on premises and what runs in a cloud environment hosted outside the walls of the enterprise.
Diversity can also be seen in the kinds of technologies organizations run to support their applications. Based on the research findings, we expect to see continued growth in both the use of containers and VMs. Container growth emanates from a desire to create net new applications using cloud native methodologies, but also to evolve existing, traditional applications by extending their functionality through cloud services. The research also shows the increasing use i of containers to wrap existing traditional apps and simplify the lifecycle management of these apps.
VMs also continue to grow, but more slowly. You would expect this as most organizations are choosing to leverage VMs (rather than bare metal) to run their containers. Organizations will certainly be deploying VMs to support containers, but they will also be rolling them out to support traditional apps, which like the data center show no evidence of fading away.
What Orgs Want from a Multi-Cloud Environment
The study asked organizations to identify the top five attributes they would most want to see in their future-state cloud environment. When you start to understand what organizations are looking for, it’s pretty clear that they mostly want an “antidote” to the complexity (driven by diversity) they foresee in their future.
The most sought-after attribute was a desire to manage all applications in a consistent way. It’s clear from the second and fourth most desired attributes, which can be boiled down to the “freedom to deploy and redeploy to any cloud”, that consistency has to cut across a multi-cloud environment. Achievement of this consistent, multi-cloud environment will require the simplification and unification of the cloud operating model – not the adoption of multiple, unique operating models derived from each and every cloud that the organization uses.
Attribute number three, “Secure and Protected everywhere”, is highly dependent on a simplified and unified multi-cloud operating model as well. Having a simple and consistent way to manage a multi-cloud environment will make it easier to ensure that apps and data are secure irrespective of the cloud an app is deployed on. This is because the more variation that exists between how apps are managed on each cloud, the more difficult it is to ensure that you are doing the right things to keep apps and data safe.
Diversity of operating models also impacts how much leverage you are going to get from the staff you have.A recurring theme throughout the survey was a desire to get as much leverage from existing staff as possible.
This makes sense from at least two vantage points. First, skilled cloud resources can be difficult to find. The more diversity that has to be supported, the more organizations will struggle to find a sufficient number of highly-trained professionals to support their operations. Also, the less leverage you get out of teams, the more individuals required. This means more budget has to be allocated for these resources, putting more strain on operating budgets.
Finally, what we see in attribute number five, “Dev and Ops teams can collaborate easily”, is a desire to maintain and improve on the hard-won agility and efficiency gains of the past as organizations transition to multi-cloud app development. If you have multiple operating models across multiple clouds, ensuring you can effectively scale DevOps practices and CI/CD pipeline processes, built for a single cloud, will be far more challenging than trying to do the same with a single, unified operating model.
Today’s Multi-Cloud Reality
While organizations have a strong desire to simplify their multi-cloud environment, it is clear that they see obstacles in their path.By far, the biggest challenge they see to achieving a simplified, multi-cloud environment is the fact that all the public clouds they are looking to use are different. Sixty-three percent of respondents see this as an issue.
Cloud differences can be seen as the source of the next three top concerns as well.
Differences in clouds mean that if an organization wants to move an app from one cloud to another, they are likely going to need to refactor some amount of the code to achieve the level of performance they are seeking. This in turn drives up costs. APIs also increase costs as they require higher staffing levels than would be necessary if they only needed to support a single operating model. Keep in mind that this higher level of staffing is happening in a world where well-qualified and skilled cloud resources are considered hard to find. No wonder then that 39 percent of respondents felt that “scarcity and lack of relevant skills” was a significant challenge.
Finally, as already mentioned, the more uniqueness across clouds, the more complexity. The more complexity, the harder it is to ensure that all apps and all data are secure.
VMware and Your App and Cloud Strategies
Building an ideal cloud environment is not simple, but it is certainly made easier when you have the right technology partners beside you. VMware has the capabilities to help your organization move towards a multi-cloud future that delivers seamless application mobility across clouds and allows you to get the most leverage out of the skills your team already has. As a result, it is easier to ensure that your apps and data are secure – no matter what cloud they run on.
You can watch a replay of our most recent digital event (March 10, 2020) here. The digital event is a great way to get a deeper sense of how VMware can help your organization holistically across both Application Modernization and Cloud Strategies. You can also directly download an eBook that provides a more comprehensive summary of the research covered in this blog, including trends and challenges around containers and Kubernetes.