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Cloud Native/NFV

Pandemic pushes enterprises to hybrid cloud adoption

If there was ever a time where enterprises felt a gentle nudge toward hybrid cloud, the pandemic is it. Perhaps "firm push" is more accurate – with enterprises' employees becoming remote workers in mass, nearly 94% of global businesses believe that hybrid clouds are critical to meeting their immediate business needs, according to a recent report by NTT.

In NTT's "Hybrid Cloud Report," the service provider shares the results of a survey of 950 IT and business leaders in 13 countries across five regions – the US, Europe, Africa, APAC and Australia. Nearly 61% of organizations are currently using or piloting hybrid clouds, which provide storage, computing resources, access to business applications and networking services across public and private clouds. An additional 33% of enterprises plan on implementing hybrid cloud within the next two years.

Five or six years ago, enterprises "stampeded" to the hyperscalers' public cloud, says Michael Ritchken, principal consultant for Cloud Computing Services at NTT, but that move was initially quite expensive. While hybrid cloud is now a popular approach, the public cloud is also picking up again – about 22% of organizations plan to increase their use of public clouds over the next 18 months, according to NTT's report. Over the same period, private cloud in third party/supplier data centers or colocation is predicted to increase by nearly 11%.

In addition, enterprises historically took a fragmented approach to moving their applications to the cloud, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to take that migration more seriously as remote workers increasingly need to access business applications from home, explains Ritchken.

"We're seeing more now a real need to come up with a uniform and consistent approach toward insuring [enterprise] security and compliance is met across all their platforms," says Ritchken.

Meeting security and compliance requirements is a major concern for enterprises, especially those in the financial vertical, in the move to hybrid cloud. About 95% of survey respondents said they struggle to keep up with compliance obligations, and 46% said managing data security was their top barrier to moving to hybrid cloud.

Nearly 41% of those surveyed by NTT said that improving the efficiency of and reducing the cost of IT operations are the top drivers for hybrid cloud adoption. This need, plus concerns over security and compliance, creates an opening for managed service providers to step in and guide enterprises so they don't have to manage the cloud themselves.

Click here for a larger version of this image. (Source: NTT.)
Click here for a larger version of this image. (Source: NTT.)

NTT reported that over a third of businesses utilizing hybrid cloud were able to operate more efficiently by deploying applications and services faster. Ritchken says selecting a managed approach to hybrid cloud provides enterprises with the ability to "offload" some of their IT operations and focus more on their business objectives.

"The three key themes identified in the report relate to business agility, security and compliance, and performance and operational efficiency," says Ritchken. "Coupled in all that is a financial impact of a platform selection, with a view to ensuring that at the end of the day, not so much that low cost is the most important driver in all cases, it's ultimately about delivering the business value."

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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