76% of enterprises have already adopted a multi-cloud strategy: Survey

Survey shows cloud skills shortages, security, and overspending are challenging organizations

76% of enterprises have already adopted a multi-cloud strategy: Survey - CIO&Leader

Multi-cloud is overwhelmingly the standard operations model for IT organizations of all sizes, in all regions, and every industry, with 76% of survey respondents stating their organization has already adopted a multi-cloud strategy, according to HashiCorp’s State of Cloud Strategy survey. Survey responses also indicate that this number is expected to increase to 86% in two years. 53% of respondents believe that a multi-cloud strategy has helped to achieve the organization's business goals, with large enterprises currently recognizing the most value from multi-cloud.

Digital transformation (34%) was cited by respondents as the number one most significant driver for multi-cloud adoption, followed by avoiding single vendor lock-in (30%) and cost reductions (28%). Digital transformation ranked highest among large enterprises, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and within the financial services vertical.

Of the big three public clouds, AWS was the leading cloud provider used by respondents (88%). However, respondents expect their use of AWS to remain the same during the next two years. Microsoft Azure ranked second in terms of use or intended use (74%), while Google Cloud was third (64%).

Cloud Spending — and Overspending

Cloud budgets vary by organization size, vertical, and geographic region. Forty percent of respondents’ organizations have an annual cloud spend of USD 100,000 to USD 2 million, while 27% of organizations spend less than USD 100,000 annually. 18% of organizations spend between USD 2 million and USD 10 million, and 15% spend more than USD 10 million annually.

39% of respondents said their organization overspent their planned budgets on cloud, most often because of shifting priorities (29%) or because of unexpected needs related to COVID-19 (21%). Organizations with larger cloud budgets were more likely to have a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), with 66% of organizations with an annual cloud budget of USD 5 million to USD 50 million having one, compared to 40% of organizations overall surveyed.

Cloud Program Challenges and Inhibitors: Concerns about Costs and Skills

While the survey shows that the cloud — and multi-cloud in particular — is critical to meeting business goals, it also revealed several areas of concern for organizations.

Cloud inhibitors and challenges varied across regions, industry, and company size, as well as by component of the technology stack. Respondents stated the top inhibitors to multi-cloud programs are cost concerns (51%), security concerns (47%), and lack of in-house skills (41%). Similarly, organizations are struggling to operationalize multi-cloud. Top reasons include skills shortages (57%), budget constraints that affect headcount (27%), inconsistent workflows across cloud environments (33%), organizations and teams working in silos, and poor collaboration or processes that are too complex (29%).

Security: A Driver and Inhibitor for Cloud Adoption

Survey results showed that cloud security was both a driver and an inhibitor for multi-cloud adoption. Respondents agreed that the top cloud security concerns were data and privacy protection (40%), data theft (33%), and regulatory compliance (31%).

Staffing and skill shortages (26%) topped the list when respondents were asked about the most significant cloud security challenges. That was followed by insufficient tooling and no real-time visibility and insight (12% each).

Cloud Is Not Just a Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

There were some surprising results related to the effects of COVID-19 on organizations’ cloud adoption. 46% of respondents stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had not accelerated cloud adoption, while 54% of respondents stated that COVID-19 had some effect on their cloud adoption timelines. 19% said it had a low impact, accelerating efforts by six to 12 months, and 26% said it had a moderate impact, accelerating efforts by one to two years. 9% of organizations said the pandemic had accelerated their efforts by more than two years.

The top infrastructure initiatives that were accelerated as a result of COVID-19 were infrastructure as code (49%), container orchestration (41%), compliance and governance, and network infrastructure automation (33% each). However, it was notable that COVID-19 increased the use of open source software for 39% of respondents.

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