2021 Cloud Market Insights: Driving Digital Business With Modern Apps and Multi-Cloud Transformation

Every organization is now defined by the digital services it delivers. From engaging customers with new experiences, to building new revenue opportunities, and driving digital-first touchpoints that protect and enable customers and communities, these services have never been more essential.

For over a decade, organizations have emphasized the importance of technology in reshaping business processes and models. They’ve also recognized the need to redefine how they interact with customers and markets, anywhere in the world.

Now, the focus is on acceleration. And, even more, on impact. Every organization needs to move faster. COVID-19 may not have created digital transformation– but it has certainly increased its urgency.

As part of VMware’s work with technology decision-makers globally, we’ve spoken with leaders and experts from more than 1,200 organizations about their goals, challenges, and successes. Through this research, a clear picture of market priorities is emerging, including how organizations are building for the future, and the major challenges they experience and overcome along the way.

Below we share a few high-level insights from our research that shed light on how organizations are driving digital business with modern apps and multi-cloud transformation. For even more insights, see the complete report here.

It’s a multi-cloud world

Not surprisingly, organizations are looking to cloud services to increase their agility, reduce costs, and enable innovation and developer productivity. And specifically, organizations are opting for a multi-cloud deployment model in order to leverage the differentiated cloud services that are best suited to meet the specific needs and goals of the business.

Our research shows that 80% of global organizations use a combination of public clouds, on-premises private cloud, and edge environments, with the top three drivers for pursuing multi-cloud strategies as the following:

  1. To support diverse business unit needs
  2. To leverage best of breed functionality
  3. To align apps to specific cloud capabilities from any cloud provider

This decentralized system of infrastructure resources will continue to grow in order to support performance requirements, data locality rules, and the now ubiquitous remote workforce, with 46% of organizations expecting to add more cloud environments in 2021 and 91% of executives placing migration and modernization of legacy apps as a priority initiative in 2021.

Complexities prevent modern apps and cloud transformation

While organizations maintain high expectations for modern apps and a shift to cloud, significant challenges continue to hinder progress – from outdated and complex apps, to the diversity of architectures across public clouds, to the scarcity of essential skills. From our research, these are three of the most common challenges with multi-cloud adoption:

  1. Rigid, monolithic apps delivering enterprise services: Keen to free themselves from the burden of legacy, monolithic apps, organizations rightly want to modernize them. Yet it’s not as simple as flicking a switch.
  2. Costs, complexity, and risk of refactoring apps for the cloud: Each app has specific needs that make it suited for specific environments. But the architectural differences create significant challenges for migration. Migrating apps to the cloud requires careful consideration of optimum environments and formats. According to VMware’s report, “App Modernization in a Multi-Cloud World,” 63% of organizations rate inconsistencies between clouds as one of their top challenges.
  3. Scarce developer resources: The IT skills shortage is well-documented. Even among organizations with three or more public clouds, a third (32%) cite “specialized teams or skills” as a challenge in managing multiple clouds.

Cloud security remains top of mind

One of the most common side effects of increased cloud usage is a lack of configuration standardization. The distributed nature of the cloud can help organizations move faster, enabling anyone to access the resources they need on demand. However, this also prevents the security organization from understanding how these resources are configured, whether these configurations expose cloud accounts or sensitive data to the public, or how these implications may affect compliance with industry regulations.

From our survey, 81% of IT executives reported they are concerned about data breaches due to a wider distributed threat plane. This sentiment is further supported by IBM Security’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach report, which found that misconfigured cloud resources tied for the most common causes of malicious data breaches. Growing cloud usage increases the risk of these configuration errors, and some of the most common are extremely difficult to detect without the right tools or processes.

Learn how to prevent cloud security data breaches attributable to misconfigurations in our article here.

A new multi-cloud operating model is needed

To take full advantage of a multi-cloud strategy, with the flexibility to choose the best environment for each app, organizations need to rethink the traditional and siloed way of operating.

Businesses need a consistent operational model across clouds to ensure visibility, optimization, and governance wherever workloads reside. With a unified, multi-cloud operating model, organizations can gain the greatest advantage from their cloud strategies with simplified adoption, management, security, and control.

Our research indicates that organizations recognize the need for unified infrastructure and operations, with three-quarters of enterprises stating they plan to deploy a unified management system for clouds, networks, and data centers by the end of 2022.

cloud operating model stats

To deliver on this priority, VMware brings to market a solution built uniquely for today’s distributed, multi-cloud world. VMware Cloud delivers multi-cloud services that span the data center, edge, and any cloud, including native cloud services. Optimized for both traditional and modern apps, VMware Cloud creates a single platform for all apps in any environment. And it unifies all environments with consistent operations and security, delivering the enterprise reliability, resiliency, and governance organizations need – while significantly reducing total cost of ownership.

By adopting technologies that will unify and improve the operational efficiency layer of your multi-cloud environment, it will not only help to free up hardware resources for reallocation, but it will also free up human resources so that they can focus on building the service delivery capabilities that are critical to the business.

vmware cloud benefits overview

To learn more about how VMware Cloud can help pave the way for your digital business with a unified multi-cloud operating model, please feel free to explore our solutions or reach out directly to our team here. We’d be happy to discuss your unique digital and business goals and how VMware can help you achieve them.

Lastly, here are a few additional resources we recommend that can help inform and guide you along your multi-cloud journey:

The Cloud Operating Model: Understand how a cloud operating model helps create a digital advantage through the adoption of cloud best practices and management of cloud technologies.

Architecting Your Multi-Cloud Environment: Learn how to architect a multi-cloud environment that provides a unified way to build, run, and manage both traditional and modern apps on any cloud.

Benchmark Your Cloud Maturity: A Framework for Best Practices: See how to assess and improve your cloud maturity across the three most critical areas of excellence: financial management, operations, and security and compliance.

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About the Authors

Lauren van der Vaart

Lauren is a member of the Multi-Cloud Solutions Marketing team at VMware. She is dedicated to delivering valuable, relevant, and actionable content for customers on their cloud journey, with a focus on public cloud security, cloud financial management, and cloud governance and operations. Before joining VMware, Lauren held various roles across digital and field marketing for global technology organizations.

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