This is the first of two spotlights that examine the opportunity to support hybrid environments (including on-premises clouds) via management platforms, as well as the role of hyperscalers and other suppliers, and the opportunity delivered by the re-platforming to cloud-native.
The 451 Take
There is a Cambrian explosion of cloud service availability. When you add to this the arrival of container, microservices and other cloud-native constructs – the menus have expanded massively. Users are spoiled for choice. Given the breadth of clouds and services available in the market, the key to success will be finding the right combinations, and operationalizing them to deliver the benefits advertised by suppliers, principally: speed, agility and scale.
- Most businesses tell us they plan to operate a hybrid IT environment (including on-premises and clouds) as a consequence, and this is stronger for larger businesses.
- The main use case that businesses cite for hybrid is being able to continuously move workloads to the right environment (best execution venue) for the sake of cost, performance, security – or whatever their priority is. This is also stronger for larger businesses.
- Most businesses using public clouds say they're using multiple vendors, and the main reason is that they want to access the unique features of those platforms.
- The above will only be realized if management and orchestration across these platforms is done effectively and with transparency, to assure end users that services will meet their performance standards.
- We think there's a strong opportunity for vendors that are able to provide the services, optimization tools and operational support that enable businesses to realize this hybrid and multi-cloud vision.
Clouds - The Infrastructure View
Figure 1: Primary Workload Deployment Venues, H1 2019 and 2021
Workloads continue to be redistributed to and across a variety of public and private clouds. We asked over 800 IT decision makers and influencers about where they currently, and in future, expect to run workloads in 2021: 39% said they will be running the bulk of their workloads in public clouds by 2020, while 34% said they will be running workloads in a combination of hosted and on-premises, private clouds by 2020. The key finding for service providers is the rise in use of hosted environments. All types of suppliers stand to benefit; this is not a hyperscale-only party.
Figure 2: Strategic Approach to Environments
Source: 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Budgets and Outlook 2019
In our Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Budgets and Outlook 2019 survey, we asked 916 IT professionals to describe their overall IT approach and strategy. Among the respondents, 62% said they now use a hybrid IT environment with integrated on-premises systems and off-premises cloud/hosted resources; 17% said their IT environment is completely off-premises, distributed across various SaaS, IaaS and PaaS clouds.
Best Execution Venue
As the re-platforming to the cloud accelerates, the key question is which applications and workloads, and in what sequencing, are going into which venues, over what time period. As the worlds of outsourcing, hosting, managed services and the cloud converge, the range of options that users choose from are growing exponentially. 451 Research's Cloud Price Index finds that – just among AWS, Microsoft, Alibaba, Google and IBM – there are more than 1.2 million things (SKUs) available to purchase.
Figure 3: Cloud Management Platforms in Use
Figure 4: Cloud Management Wheels of Fortune - Cloud Readiness
Figure 5: Cloud Management Wheels of Fortune - Management & Optimization
It's the same issue with the cloud management single pane of glass – it can do the common things that all providers offer, but it's not so good at the differentiated features among providers. Enterprises that work with cloud management suppliers offering loosely coupled approaches are at less risk of the single pane of glass becoming a single glass of pain.
Enterprises tell us that with the increased use of multiple clouds, it will be very important to move applications and data into, out of and around cloud instances, based on business policy and SLA. This is not about moving applications and workloads among clouds based on 'penny by penny' or 'minute by minute' changes in price. If a hurricane is forecast in one region, mobility enables an application to be moved out to another region, and back once it has passed.
Indeed, disaster recovery is the primary use case for hybrid cloud – an app may move between development, staging and production across different cloud instances operated by different groups, or between partners. This is not repatriation or a 'boomerang' effect, it's more like a revolving door, and we expect this kind of mobility to become a normal part of IT activity.
Cloud management tooling should help deliver the benefits of the cloud (speed, scale and agility) in the context of a 'health and safety' posture – economic health via optimization tools, and service enablement and delivery within the context of an organization's governance and control requirements.
In the past year, much of the buildout of CMPs has been focused on developer-centricity/enablement and the addition of cost management via optimization tools. However, at this point, security (apart from rudimentary governance) remains largely outside of the capability of cloud management platforms, and it's not yet clear whether, or how, these will come together – from either a technical or organizational point of view.
William Fellows will be discussing these issues during his panel at this year’s Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit on September 24 in Las Vegas: Making Infrastructure Invisible – Simplifying the Jumble of Clouds, Containers and Venues. Please join us – click here for details.
William Fellows is a cofounder of The 451 Group. As VP of Research, he is responsible for the Cloud Transformation Channel at 451 Research. This Channel provides a point of intellectual convergence for 451 Research around cloud computing, in much the same way that the industry is converging on cloud from all points. In addition to keeping tabs on players entering the cloud and IT services space with disruptive business models, new technology and innovations in service delivery, William has also created 451 Research's Digital Economics unit.