Going to cloud services may mean some loss of control, but enterprises are making up for it by deeply hedging their bets. Not only are they embracing hybrid strategies that absorb both online and on-premises resources, but they are also working with multiple cloud providers.
In my previous post, I cited a presentation by Michael Corey of Ntirety and Don Sullivan of VMware, who shared key questions that need to asked of cloud providers before signing on the dotted line. It’s important to note that Corey and Sullivan are also staunch advocates of the hybrid cloud approach, which draws on the resources of an immense and growing collection of online services, while still leveraging critical on-premises assets.
“The idea of maintaining close control of the most critical elements, applications and data of the enterprise but still within the greater cloud architecture is truly sound,” Sullivan said.
So how far along are enterprises in achieving this balance, and what are they getting from their cloud providers? A recent Microsoft Corp.-commissioned study of 1,734 companies, conducted by 451 Research LLC, finds many flavors of hybrid cloud formations emerging, with 74 percent managing on-premises private clouds with hosted private clouds. 50 percent maintaining on-premises private clouds with public clouds, and 33 percent managing hosted private clouds in conjunction with public cloud services.
For the most part, companies spend less than $2,500 a month on cloud and hosting services, with 31 percent spending less than $1,000 a month, and another 32 percent spending between $1,000 and $2,500. There is a smaller segment, 14 percent, who report spending more than $10,000 a month on cloud and hosting services.
Everyone has multiple clouds as well. A majority, 79 percent, work with more than one provider, with 29 percent reporting with work with four or more cloud or hosting vendors.
Enterprises are already buying a number of support services from their cloud providers. Services being purchased from cloud providers include backup and recovery (44 percent), cloud migration services (24 percent), premium 24×7 support (24 percent), cloud assessment, readiness and enablement services (22 percent), and disaster or site recovery (21 percent).
The prevalence of these support services points to the growing need for cloud broker services, which may or may not decrease the number of separate providers with which enterprises choose to work. These services may help provide the assurance that is needed, however, as they “essentially occupy the role of trusted cloud advisor, so that the customer may, more effectively include important features such as compliance, availability and recoverability within their cloud deployments,” Sullivan says. He adds that it’s “more likely that the cloud broker has both a greater awareness of the variety of features being offered and is more able to correlate those features to the customers actual needs.”
At least half the executives in the 451-Microsoft survey say they seek cloud providers who can offer one-stop-shopping for a variety cloud services and be a single point of contact, as well as broker contracts with other service providers, on their behalf, for additional services.
(Disclosure: I have performed project work in the past year for VMware, mentioned in this post.)
This article was written by Joe McKendrick from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.