New research, conducted by MIT Technology Review Custom and sponsored by VMware, surveyed 1,350 IT and business leaders worldwide about the drivers of cloud adoption and the challenges faced by implementation.
The answers reveal that the first year of adoption, in particular, is marked with difficulties that initially stress but ultimately transform an organization’s cloud strategy.
First Year, Worst Year
The benefits of cloud technologies do come with some challenges. Survey respondents cited a variety of speed bumps moving between multiple cloud providers, including the hassles of integrating data from legacy systems, the difficulty of grasping new technologies, and the complexity of managing changes to processes and staff roles. Over time, say survey respondents, these obstacles smooth out. But adopting a multi-cloud environment requires preparation, a positive attitude, and an ability to align people and resources.
The first year of adoption, in particular, puts substantial stress on organizations. For new adopters, the technical challenges associated with migration, integration, and data management across clouds are often more difficult than anticipated. Security in a multi-cloud environment, in particular, can be difficult and complex.
“Public cloud providers are placing a massive investment into security, and applying some of the brightest talents to this critical IT priority. While some service providers are able to surpass what the average business could deliver within the data center, there remain challenges, especially in a multi-cloud environment. Each cloud provider has built unique models for security, leveraging diverse technologies, policies, and protocols. Diversity naturally leads to complexity and risk for the enterprise,” says Mike Hulme, senior director of marketing for VMware Cloud™. “To take advantage of the strengths of multi-cloud, without the risk, businesses must deploy a common security model across all clouds and manage security with consistent operations and tools.”
Like Many Things in Life, Success in Cloud Gets Better With Time
The research shows, as companies use cloud technology, their confidence in cloud benefits grows. There was a marked difference in perceived cloud benefits from companies at the start of multi-cloud adoption and companies with six or more years’ experience in a multi-cloud environment.
“As companies become proficient with the technology, they begin to think of their data center, private cloud, and public clouds as interrelated parts of an overall and multifaceted cloud strategy—all built around a common orchestration platform and consistent set of operations,” Hulme says. “This process of effectively managing a set of cloud solutions, along with a modernized private cloud, is enabling organizations to effectively meet the needs of the business and map applications to resources. The results for these organizations are transformational.”
The survey revealed that companies that have used a multi-cloud environment for six or more years rated all multi-cloud benefits higher than newer adopters. Established users feel significantly more certain about the ability of cloud technologies to increase efficiencies, ease scalability, and increase agility.
Years Six and Beyond
The survey also showed that after six or more years, organizations emerge with a flexible and “cloud-first” strategic mindset and are prepared for advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“While businesses can rapidly adopt and deploy cloud solutions, these providers must be viewed as long-term strategic relationships,” says Hulme. “Organizations that are able to leverage consistent infrastructure and operations across their clouds have maximum flexibility to maintain control over their destiny, balancing investments in multiple cloud solutions for the best combination of capabilities to advance their businesses.”
Discover more about multi-cloud benefits and adoption in the report from MIT Technology Review Custom, “After Deployment Storms, Skies Turn Sunny for Multi-Cloud Environments.”