Multicloud in the Mainstream
S&P Global survey, 2023
We commissioned 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, to conduct a multicloud survey in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Latin America. The survey was fielded in the third quarter of 2022 with a cross-industry sample of 1,500 enterprise respondents; “enterprise” is defined as an organization with more than 1,000 full-time employees in North America or more than 500 in other regions.
The results indicate we live in a multicloud world, with 98% of enterprises surveyed already using or planning to use multicloud. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cloud infrastructure and multicloud adoption, and enterprises and vendors are showing new interest in going to the next level—enabling business growth and innovation with seamless, integrated multicloud experiences.
of enterprises use or plan to use multicloud.
of enterprises use or plan to use more than one SaaS provider.
is a top reason for multicloud across all surveyed enterprises. Multicloud guarantees cost optimization.
of enterprises use or plan to use multicloud interconnection.
of enterprises use or plan to use cloud management platforms.
future multicloud use cases are data backup, workload/data mobility, cost optimization, risk mitigation, and global service delivery.
Nearly all the enterprises surveyed are multicloud—using more than one provider for public cloud-delivered infrastructure (IaaS or PaaS) or cloud-delivered applications (SaaS) or both.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of cloud infrastructure and services, which provide the flexibility and scalability needed for the rapid digitization of business models and processes. Multicloud is here to stay.
Q: How many IaaS or PaaS public cloud providers do you use or plan to use in your IT environment?
Some enterprises use multicloud as a defensive strategy to guard against pricing changes or total cost of ownership, vendor lock-in, regulatory compliance, and business continuity disruptions.
More enterprises use multicloud as an offensive strategy to empower internal stakeholders to use the clouds of their choice that foster business agility and innovation, achieve best-in-class service across cloud providers, and leverage incentives and capabilities offered by current vendors.
Enterprises surveyed across the globe and in different industries all said they benefit from multicloud, with data residency and cost optimization as the top two benefits, followed by business agility and innovation.
Q: What’s driving multicloud for your organization?
IT heterogeneity isn’t new. Multicloud is a mirror image of the on-premises enterprise IT environment in the cloud, and so are its challenges. Multicloud environments require a range of capabilities and competencies. Across all surveyed enterprises, cloud provider management and networking/interconnectivity are the two most significant challenges of using multiple public clouds, followed by data governance.
Q: What are the most significant challenges your organization faces or would face using multiple public clouds?
Most significant challenges you face using multiple public clouds
Cloud provider management
Data governance issues
Cost optimization is, no surprise, the current top use case, followed by workload/data mobility and risk mitigation. Looking to the future, data redundancy/backup jumps to the top. At the end of the day, multicloud, like any IT decision, is driven by a range of business, regulatory, and workload-specific needs as enterprises seek better, faster, and less expensive ways to get jobs done.
Q: What is your organization’s most important current use case for multicloud?
Q: What are important future use cases for multicloud at your organization?
The survey’s industry segment data revealed differences in how organizations use primary and secondary cloud providers. For example, 82% of financial service organizations host data analytics on their primary cloud, 2.7X as much as on their secondary cloud. However, 49% of telecommunication enterprises host their mission-critical, customer-facing functions on their secondary cloud, 2.1X as much as on their primary cloud.
Q: What types of workloads do you currently host with your primary IaaS/PaaS public cloud provider?
Q: What types of workloads do you currently host with your secondary IaaS/PaaS public cloud provider?
While data residency (40.6%) edged out cost saving (40.5%) as the top multicloud motivator in the survey overall, the most important factors motivating enterprises toward multicloud vary by country.
Q: What are the most significant motivations for your organization's use of multiple public clouds?
When it comes to choosing cloud providers, leaders at different levels of an organization weigh factors differently. According to the survey, C-level executives value technical support/expertise, geographical footprint, and security/governance capabilities the most, while senior managers prioritize company brand/reputation and service performance.
Q: What factors led to the decision to choose your primary cloud provider?
Managing workloads and data across multiple cloud provider platforms emerged as a top multicloud challenge for surveyed enterprises. This issue stems from their shortage of cloud platform expertise and a lack of efficient tools. To help alleviate the strain on enterprises’ IT departments, cloud providers should simplify cross-cloud observability and management.
Q: Please characterize your organization's use of cloud management platforms.
The prevalence of cross-cloud network interconnectivity as a top multicloud challenge indicates that skills for operating efficiently often need to be improved across multiple domains. Cloud providers should preconfigure network interconnectivity to ease the burden.
Q: You mentioned previously that you have more than one IaaS/PaaS public cloud provider in your IT environment. Please describe your organization's use of cloud interconnection (i.e., links for routing data and information between different public clouds).
Many of the challenges enterprises face with multicloud come down to best practices, or the lack thereof. These issues often overlap and involve data governance, data silos, regulatory compliance, and cost management. The relative importance of these challenges varies by sector, but all enterprises will need some degree of organizational adjustment to get everyone on the same page.
Successful digital business transformation requires alignment among technologies, processes, and people. They include IT operations, developers, and line-of-business stakeholders to build, operate, manage, and govern the flexible infrastructure needed to support the distributed workloads and data that optimize business outcomes. It takes time to execute a multicloud strategy, but the resulting freedom of choice and operational agility make the journey worth it.
Learn more about multicloud