Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, March 23, 2023

Cloud Uncertainty Fuels Hybrid Approach 

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Unexpectedly high transition costs and a lack of transparency into cloud resource usage have tempered enthusiasm about cloud transitions, prompting organizations to continue investing in on-premises infrastructure while hedging their bets by embracing a hybrid IT approach, a new cloud survey finds.

“A hybrid approach to IT is the new norm,” concludes a survey of CIOs and IT managers released this week by cloud manager SoftwareOne. The assertion that the cloud is cheaper and easier to manage is a “myth,” the survey authors asserted.

Key reason are persistently high cloud costs along with poor visibility into the computing and storage resources being used. Thirty-seven percent of respondents listed unpredictable cloud costs as their biggest concern. (Only cloud security ranked higher.) IT, technology and telecommunications companies were most concerned about unpredictable cloud costs.

As a result, the survey notes, 45 percent of those polled are sticking with current or expanding existing on-premise infrastructure. In an example of cloud visibility issues, more than half of executives believe their companies have migrated workloads to the cloud while only 35 percent of IT managers acknowledge the shift.

SoftwareOne and other cloud management vendors point to these results as evidence that cloud adopters need help figuring out pricing models and monitoring daily usage to gauge the return on investment.

“Once organizations have realized the early benefits, the real challenge resides in navigating the optimal balance between on-premises and cloud to meet business objectives,” said Mike Gersten, chief strategy and innovation officer of SoftwareONE. “While cloud technology is the answer to many IT challenges, it also presents new challenges.”

The survey conclusions underscore the steady enterprise embrace of a hybrid cloud strategies designed to add flexibility while retaining legacy applications, retiring underused apps and moving others to the cloud—mostly via consumption-based models. Enterprise applications best suited to the cloud tend to be widely used across an organization and are secure in the cloud, the study notes.

The hybrid and multi-cloud approaches also afford companies the opportunity to reassess their cloud strategy in order to maximize flexibility and potential cost savings. “Look at the architecture of your applications and see how all aspects of the cloud can be used to finely engineer your on-premises applications to realize the maximum benefits of the cloud,” the survey authors recommend.

The survey commissioned by SoftwareOne, Waukesha, Wis., polled 300 senior executives and IT managers.

On the supply side, public cloud vendors are striving to differentiate their services beyond price in response to the enterprise embrace of hybrid and multi-cloud strategies. Infrastructure services “performance continues to be a major consideration of enterprises when implementing a hybrid cloud,” noted technology consultant Cloud Spectator in a benchmarking survey released in March.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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