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2021 State of Multicloud Survey Uncovers Learnings for CIOs Leading Digital Transformation

New data from over 800 IT professionals reveals how today’s organizations leverage multicloud, cloud-native, and edge technologies to drive business growth and innovation

Turbonomic, the leader in Application Resource Management (ARM), today announced findings from the 2021 State of Multicloud Report, the industry’s leading survey of over 800 global IT professionals that examines the current state of multicloud adoption, its drivers, and the technologies enabling it, including containers, public cloud, and edge computing. The analysis is done with a particular lens on the motivations and behaviors of leading organizations versus their peers and finds notable shifts in priorities from the previous year, evidence that these organizations are progressing on their digital transformation journey.

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“We are particularly encouraged to see public cloud optimization and advancing a multicloud strategy as the top priorities for organizations this year”

Multicloud is Still About Leveraging the Right Apps and Services, but in 2021 Leaders Prioritize Business Leverage

Multicloud leaders aspire to leverage the right applications and services to differentiate their business. In the last three years of conducting the State of Multicloud survey, IT leaders have consistently cited the ability to leverage different application services as the primary driver of application workloads moving freely across clouds. However, this was the first year that leaders also indicated they value business leverage gained by avoiding lock-in over the benefits of any one cloud.

While only 30% of organizations are using three or more clouds, in the coming year advancing a multicloud strategy is the most important initiative for 21% of organizations, coming in second to optimizing existing cloud resources for performance and cost (25%). Transforming applications and operational models to effectively implement and realize the benefits of multicloud does not come without challenges. For the third year in a row, leading organizations cited culture and complexity as the top obstacle to achieving their goals.

Cloud Native Operations Are Proving Difficult to Implement at Scale

Containers are the building blocks of the modern application and a key enabler of multicloud. Survey data found that for 61% of organizations containerization will play a strategic role within 18 months; it is already strategic for nearly 20% of organizations.

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In fact, 56% are using at least one container platform today, 79% of which are using commercial Kubernetes—further evidence of containerization’s strategic role now and going forward. But, while 56% of those on their container/cloud journey are running containers in production, complexity at scale appears to be hindering advanced use cases.

“There is no doubt that containers are a strategic investment for customers today. Anyone building or re-architecting their applications to digitally transform is doing so with containers,” said Asena Hertz, Director of Product Marketing at Turbonomic. “But they create a lot of complexity for DevOps and Operations teams. Our survey finds that this complexity is getting in the way of organizations operating at scale. Continuous performance breeds confidence in the platform, allowing adoption to expand and innovation to thrive. That’s where Turbonomic comes in.”

Public Cloud Optimization and Advancing a Multicloud Strategy are This Year’s Top Initiatives

Survey results found that optimization (25%) is the most important initiative for organizations adopting public cloud in the coming year, followed by advancing a multicloud strategy (21%). These are challenges yet to be overcome. As organizations expand their use of public IaaS, they must find ways to ensure that cloud resources are optimized for performance and cost at scale.

“We are particularly encouraged to see public cloud optimization and advancing a multicloud strategy as the top priorities for organizations this year,” said Tom Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer at Turbonomic. “We have had the privilege of helping many customers with both initiatives and we look forward to helping more.”

Survey results also found that today 62% of organizations are using only public cloud, with about half using two or more public clouds. Meanwhile, 28% of organizations are hybrid or multicloud with a private cloud component. And, given the motivations behind multicloud, it was no surprise that for 62% of organizations, public cloud PaaS will play a strategic role for their business within 18 months – solidifying itself as one of the fastest growing public cloud services.

Edge Computing Still in Early Days

Edge computing saw a slight increase in adoption in 2021 with 22% of organizations reporting they are leveraging it today. While adoption is still early, 79% of organizations believe that it is or will be relevant to their organization in the future. Minimizing latency was noted as the most relevant edge computing use case, but complexity was cited as the primary barrier to edge adoption.

With increased portability brought by containerization, service mesh, the rise of 5G, and the increasing ability to collect data at its source, edge computing will soon become more feasible for many organizations. Given the overwhelming agreement among respondents that edge is or will be relevant for their organization, it will be an important technology for CIOs to prepare for as they start to architect applications for the edge.

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