moved one or more applications to a new IT environment over the last 12 months
expect to be operating in a multicloud environment within one to three years
agree that hybrid
multicloud is ideal
Multicloud is in force around the world and is the dominant IT architecture in ECI respondent organizations. Driving multicloud acceptance has been enterprises' realization that to meet each workload's specific requirements for security, performance, cost, business continuity, and other factors, they must match each application to the infrastructure best suited to it. This selective optimization requires the availability of multiple IT environments or multiple clouds and the adjustment of workloads among them as variables change.
Getting to this point in established organizations requires a degree of migration from older, three-tier datacenters to cloud-based IT infrastructure. Depending on how entrenched the legacy infrastructure is for supporting critical applications that the organization must continue to maintain, the time it takes to evolve to a multicloud environment will vary among organizations.
Global (all industries)
*Industry reporting the highest penetration
**Industry reporting the lowest penetration
Figure 1: Comparative Multicloud Penetration Levels to Date
Just 27% of ECI healthcare respondents said that multiple clouds, private or public, currently represent their most common IT deployment model (Figure 1). This penetration level is about 9 percentage points behind the cross-industry global respondent average, as the figure shows. Only the financial services industry trailed healthcare in adoption (26%).
Worldwide, multicloud is the dominant IT architecture in use; however, among healthcare ECI respondents, private cloud currently dominates, and multicloud penetration is only slightly ahead of traditional three-tier datacenter installations (Figure 2).
Both the healthcare and financial industries are highly regulated. As such, they've likely been slower to embrace the public cloud as a bonafide component of their IT environments for security reasons. However, healthcare respondents reported plans to increase their multicloud penetration from 27% to 51% within three years. Extending on-premises private clouds to one or more public clouds for appropriate use cases is a fundamental step toward creating a multicloud environment and gaining the flexibility to meet diverse needs as they arise and evolve.
Traditional/Legacy Datacenter Only
Private Cloud Only
Figure 2: Comparative IT Infrastructure in Use
Global healthcare IT professionals cited improving business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) most often as motivating their three-year plans to increase multicloud use (Figure 5).
As noted, they intend to grow multicloud usage from 27% penetration today to 51% by 2024. Many organizations in other industries also cited business continuity/disaster recovery as a multicloud driver, though most mentioned supporting remote work and improving customer support more often as driving adoption.
All these use cases—DR, remote work, and customer support—have a strong public cloud component. As such, organizations are increasingly embracing the public cloud as a supplement to private infrastructure to address them and, in doing so, are naturally creating hybrid multicloud IT environments.
Figure 5: Three-Year Multicloud Motivators
Since the healthcare organizations surveyed currently trail the multicloud averages, it's not surprising that they also reported slightly lower usage of public clouds in general: 55% said they currently don't use any public cloud services, moderately more than the global average (47%). They also fell toward the bottom of the trend toward using more than one public cloud provider to gain best-of-breed services and to avoid vendor lock-in (Figure 6).
However, healthcare's interest in boosting BC/DR could prove to be the impetus for greater public cloud acceptance, which, in turn, would accelerate the industry's general multicloud usage. At the heart of DR management is creating a process for replicating and maintaining IT hardware, software, and data in geographically diverse locations. Public clouds can be a huge help: by definition, public cloud providers' global datacenters are in locations that are remote to on-premises enterprise infrastructures. Public cloud providers also offer extra diversity services, whereby they'll replicate IT resources to more than one geo-diverse region for added data and application protection. This is another area where a hybrid multicloud environment, providing uniformity across multiple clouds, is ideal.
*Industry reporting the highest use
**Industry reporting the lowest use
Figure 6: Who's Using 3 or More Public Clouds?
In fact, when asked which IT infrastructure—private cloud, public cloud, or three-tier datacenter—best served specific applications, more respondents in healthcare (43%) picked public cloud for BC/DR, outpacing the global average (35%). Moreover, public cloud got the greatest percentage of healthcare votes for seven of the eight applications that respondents were asked to evaluate in terms of which infrastructure type was optimal for supporting them. The exception was human resources management, where healthcare respondents chose private cloud (38%) and public cloud (37%) suitability in nearly equal numbers.
Looked at another way, however, private cloud got the greatest percentage of healthcare votes when it came to higher-level evaluations. These involved selecting which infrastructure was more likely to help achieve certain outcomes, such as managing IT cost, complying with regulatory mandates, and ensuring fast application performance. The exceptions were that healthcare respondents preferred the public cloud when it came to supporting remote healthcare workers and for its inherent ability to scale (Figure 7).
Figure 7: Healthcare Cloud Usage Preferences Based on Use Case
Bolster security posture
Implement AI-based self-service technology
Update existing IT infrastructure