Why enterprises want mix-and-match multi-clouds

multi cloud enterprise rackspace
"The questions are the same: ‘I know I need to do this, but I don't know how'." – Rackspace chief marketing officer Mark Bunting

Enterprises know they need to move to the cloud, but are so unsure how to go about it that they’re trying all sorts of hybrid and multi-cloud combinations to see what works. And that’s good news for neutral cloud players companies like Rackspace who are all too happy to help them figure it out.

Rackspace chief marketing officer Mark Bunting said that both hybrid cloud (i.e. private and public clouds) and multiple-cloud (i.e. combining several public cloud services like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, etc) are gaining traction with enterprises who don’t want to put everything on the public cloud, and don’t want to hand all the public-cloud stuff to just one cloud provider.

“Some of [multi-cloud] is driven by fear of vendor lock-in, but it’s also from companies that want to enhance performance in certain environments, or it may be business units and other line of businesses that have gone renegade and started having their own shadow IT,” Bunting told Disruptive.Asia.

Another factor driving multi-cloud adoption, he adds, is simply down to the fact that there are now more service providers in the market that are able to provide on-ramps to various cloud providers, which makes multi-cloud a viable and more cost-effective option.

However, the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud services is also partly the product of enterprises still feeling uncertain about moving to the cloud, and wanting the flexibility to find the right combination of services that make sense for their specific circumstances, Bunting says.

“It’s all over the map,” he says. “There are best practices, and there’s all the things that we harvest from working on so many different installations on so many different platforms, but there’s not a template because every customer’s journey is different, and every customer’s experiences or requirements are so different.”

Customers also reserve the right to adjust their cloud strategies even to the point of repatriating public-cloud stuff back to their private cloud, he observes. “We’re seeing larger companies do a lot of testing in-depth in the public sphere, but bringing that back to private and managed environments because they have not seen that cost savings that they initially thought they would get from it,” though he adds quickly it’s not that common and won’t affect the growth of hybrid cloud environments.

Interestingly, Bunting adds, this uncertainty over cloud migration isn’t peculiar to a particular region or market, or to a particular size of company – it’s relatively universal.

“Having travelled around the globe talking to customers, the one thing that surprised me was the consistency of the feedback,” he said. “People might be earlier or later in the adoption cycles, this region may be a little behind that region in terms of cloud maturity. But the questions are the same: ‘I know I need to do this, but I don’t know how, I don’t know how fast, I don’t know what workloads should go where, I don’t know what timeline, I don’t know what ROIs to expect, I don’t know what security measures are required – and by the way, I don’t know how to do it myself’.”

Moreover, plotting a cloud strategy is confusing enough when it’s a relatively simple matter of cloud adoption – it’s even tougher if it’s part of a broader digital-transformation project, which means it’s dependent on the company’s transformation strategy and its ability (or lack thereof) to execute that strategy successfully.

And that’s before you get to regulatory matters such as data privacy and storage. Bunting admits that new regulatory requirements – such as India’s push to require foreign financial companies to store data locally – “bring an additional level of complexity that you just have to solve for, and there are answers to it.”

That’s why the starting point for Rackspace is its professional services portfolio that helps customers assess their cloud needs, Bunting adds. “Companies benefit from taking an assessment journey, so that we can all really look under the hood and find out what is right for their unique situation.”

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