When organizations were first analyzing cloud providers and making a jump into the cloud, it was all about narrowing down the field and choosing that single cloud provider that best met their needs. When that vendor was identified, all of the organization’s workloads and data would then be transitioned into that cloud.
When “hybrid cloud” was discussed, it was often in reference to having a combination of public and private clouds.
But this is no longer the case, or the accepted practice in the industry. Organizations and enterprises are no longer choosing just one provider and moving forward with them exclusively. And hybrid clouds are no longer just a mix of public and private clouds, but rather a combination of private clouds and multiple public clouds from disparate vendors.
These hybrid cloud environments are rapidly becoming the norm, with enterprises identifying multiple clouds and vendors for their workloads, data and applications. And recent studies help to shed some light on why.
Investment bank, Cowen & Co., recently conducted a survey of 314 public cloud customers. Their research identified which cloud providers are grabbing the largest market share (AWS was the clear leader, to the surprise of no one), and also assigned scores to the disparate cloud providers for a handful of different characteristics.
Ultimately, their research identified different strengths and weaknesses for each individual cloud vendor – and AWS had some significant weaknesses, including security and quality of support. These strengths and weaknesses are illustrated in the following tables from Cowen & Co.:
These tables illustrate that not all clouds are made the same. In addition to each having their own strengths and weaknesses, they also have different features and capabilities. This means that one single cloud provider is no longer the best route for the enterprise. It’s better and more effective to identify the best cloud provider for the workload, and utilize multiple clouds.
However, this multiple, hybrid cloud approach creates other challenges. Multiple clouds from different cloud providers mean multiple management frameworks and increased complexity in managing cloud environments. It can create challenges when moving data, workloads and applications from one cloud to another. It can also negatively impact security, if not all cloud servers are updated, patched and held to the same security requirements and protocols.
This is why cloud management and cloud automation adoption is most likely to grow in the near future – much like analyst firm, Gartner, predicted. As enterprises rush to embrace a hybrid cloud model, they will soon find themselves experiencing the pains of increased complexity and decreased transparency – which can include security challenges and out-of-control cloud costs.
Cloud automation and cloud management solutions can help companies eliminate these challenges by simplifying the management of hybrid clouds and automating processes that make compliance and policy enforcement easy.