Hybrid Cloud - This time it means business

  • Dom Poloniecki, VP & General Manager, Western Europe & Africa, Nutanix

  • 04.02.2021 04:42 pm

Nutanix survey finds hybrid cloud is becoming a strategic business requirement

The mixing of private and public clouds to create a scalable hybrid infrastructure has long been the aspirational model for IT across the board. And, at long last, those hybrid cloud dreams are becoming a reality. Partly because barriers to implementation are falling (and falling fast) but, equally, due to a sea change in the thinking now driving adoption. A sea change away from chasing simple cost savings to leveraging the inherent advantages of hybrid cloud to deliver strategic business outcomes.

Obvious tipping point

That most companies aspire to hybrid cloud can be in no doubt. As clearly shown by the results of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index which, for the last three years, has consistently found companies wanting to go hybrid. Indeed the latest 2020 survey shows an overwhelming 86 percent rating it as their preferred operational model with almost half (49%) expecting to be hybrid-only in the next 3-5 years.

These figures are indicative of a real tipping point in hybrid cloud adoption, further reinforced by results that show the necessary building blocks now becoming commonplace. Not least in on-premise datacentres where an overwhelming 92% of those surveyed reported having moved or planning to migrate from legacy to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

Why is that significant?

Because the technology behind the big public cloud offerings from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft is based on the same principles as HCI. Moreover, now readily available to all, HCI is no longer seen purely as a way of bringing down IT cost and complexity, but as a key enabler when it comes to building scalable and easily managed private clouds as part of a hybrid cloud mode and helping customers accelerate their migration to the public cloud.

And that’s not all. The Nutanix report also found evidence of  accelerating adoption of cloud technology in all its forms including a growing willingness to mix private and multiple public clouds together. Some 34% of companies surveyed, for example, said they were running more apps in the public cloud this year with almost as many (32%) running more in private clouds and only 15% bucking the trend by running more apps outside clouds.

Different thinking

Now, taken in isolation, you might be forgiven for imagining that the main driver behind these numbers is financial. In the datacentre, for example, there are well recognised savings to be had from replacing costly servers and complex storage networks with simpler commodity HCI hardware able to deliver cloud-like scalability and software-defined flexibility on-premise. Likewise it’s possible to save money by moving from the Capex financing associated with the datacentre to the Opex model of public cloud platforms.

Cost, however, is no longer the main concern when it comes to choosing IT infrastructure, as the Nutanix report also found.

When asked for reasons why they were making changes to their deployment models (whatever the process or direction) little more than a quarter (27%) put cost saving at the top of the list. In fact the majority were very much focused on achieving better business outcomes with goals such as the flexibility to deliver on business requirements (55%), the ability to improve customer support (46%) and (of particular relevance in the time of a pandemic) being able to support remote workers (46%). Which doesn’t mean that data security and compliance were no longer a factor, still seen as a top motivation by 40% of respondents.

In theory, delivering on any or all of those aims could, of course, be achieved by merely switching to HCI in the datacentre. Or by only building a private cloud or just using public clouds for business IT. So why the upswing towards mixing them all up and building a hybrid cloud?

Strategic thinking

The answer isn’t hard to work out - it’s all about choice. More specifically, it’s about having the flexibility to concentrate on delivery of strategic business outcomes quickly, easily and – crucially - without the need to keep within the limitations of a particular supporting IT model. 

As previous Nutanix surveys have shown, companies consistently express a desire for the ability to run workloads in the infrastructure best suited to them based on a variety of criteria. Be that wanting to enhance security; rapidly on-board new apps during takeovers and acquisitions; reach new markets with different compliance needs and so on. Whatever the need, the long stated ideal is the ability to move workloads around dynamically, based on, not just cost and technology concerns, but time-to-market pressures, the need to cope with peaks in demand and a variety of common business variables. 

The switch towards focusing on achieving better business outcomes when deciding what IT model to adopt only adds to the desire for that level of choice.  Delivering on that desire, however, can only be fully achieved by embracing a hybrid cloud IT model. That can be implemented by mixing private and public cloud infrastructures able to support this fluidity with common interfaces and management, plus uniform security across on-premise, private and public cloud platforms.

That’s why more and more companies are embracing hybrid cloud. And that’s why we’re now at a tipping point in turning that into action as companies wake up to the realisation that hybrid cloud is good not only for the budget, but for the business and the delivery of strategic business outcomes.

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