For the fifth consecutive year, Nutanix commissioned a global research study to learn about the state of global enterprise cloud deployments. In December 2022 and January 2023, U.K. researcher Vanson Bourne surveyed 1,450 IT decision-makers about the progress they're making in their cloud-deployment journeys. The respondent base spanned 12 industries and a range of business sizes and geographies, including North and South America; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia-Pacific-Japan (APJ) region.
This report is supplemental to the global 5th Annual Enterprise Cloud Index master report and focuses on cloud deployments in the healthcare industry. It highlights cloud plans, priorities, challenges, and experiences of IT professionals in healthcare companies around the world and how they compare to the full global response pool and other industries.
01Healthcare organizations are catching up to the averages in their adoption of multiple clouds.
The percentage of ECI respondents in the healthcare sector using multiple IT operating modes—whether a mix of private and public clouds or on-premises and hosted private infrastructure—is moderately behind the global average. Companies in this group report 53% penetration of mixed IT models today, compared to 60% globally. However, healthcare is on track to catch up to the global average on this score. Close to three-fourths of both healthcare respondents and the full global response pool (74%) plan to be running multiple IT environments by 2026 (Figure 1).
In 1-3 years
Figure 1: Use of Multiple IT Environments
Another measure of where companies are in their cloud journeys is the number who have deployed hybrid multicloud models, defined as private infrastructure combined with two or more public cloud platforms. Hybrid multicloud is the operating model with the highest expected growth across all ECI respondent companies. Half the percentage of respondents in healthcare (6%), compared to the global, cross-industry response pool (12%), has deployed the hybrid multicloud model today (Figure 2).
Business and professional services (highest penetration)
Education, private and public (lowest penetration)
*Percentage of respondents in each group currently using private IT infrastructure in combination with two or more public cloud platforms.
However, those in healthcare expect to grow their hybrid multicloud deployments more than 7-fold, by 38 percentage points, over the coming three years to 44% penetration. Some also expect to begin using multiple public clouds (“multicloud”) as their exclusive IT infrastructure, growing their use of this model from 0% today to 8% penetration by 2026. They expect all other operating models to decline or remain flat or nearly flat during this period (Figure 3).
On-premises infrastructure only*
Hosted infrastructure only*
Single public cloud only*
Both on-premises and hosted infrastructure
Figure 3 Healthcare: IT Models in Use and Planned (Q1)
*Exclusively in use/planned.
**Totals may not equal exactly 100% due to rounding.
When ECI respondents were asked to name the single most important decision factor driving their IT infrastructure purchasing decisions, their diverse array of answers reflected a wide spectrum of corporate priorities (Figure 4). Variables such as industry, company size, geography, local compliance regulations, business and sustainability goals, and internal IT philosophies and strategies all play a role. That said, among those in the healthcare sector and globally, on average, the leading decision criterion is cybersecurity (13%). Cost was mentioned least often, both among healthcare respondents (4%) and globally (5%).
Flexibility to run across clouds and on-prem
Data distribution across edge, datacenter, public cloud(s)
Ability to easily move existing applications to the public cloud
Data services (e.g., files, blocks, objects)
Data protection and recovery
Regulatory concerns and compliance
Figure 4: Top-Ranking Infrastructure Decision Criteria (Q4)
Most ECI respondents agree that having a single platform to manage their diverse private and public infrastructures would be ideal. Among those from ECI healthcare organizations, 96% agreed, as did 94% of IT pros from the global ECI response pool. It follows that most respondents mentioned data-centric management, security, backup, and storage issues as the most challenging aspects of managing growing hybrid IT environments that span multiple datacenter and cloud borders.
For example, those from healthcare environments chose disaster recovery most often (42%) as a mixed-infrastructure management challenge (Figure 5). This factor was followed by gaining and maintaining visibility into where all data resides (41%), data analytics and orchestration (40%), and data storage costs (also 40%). Similarly, the global response pool mentioned data storage costs (43%) and data analytics/orchestration (43%) equally as top mixed-cloud management challenges.
Disaster recovery/business continuity
Data analytics and orchestration
Data storage costs
Figure 5: Top Data Management Challenges with Mixed Environments (Q9a)
While 94% of respondents from healthcare organizations agree that tackling their cross-cloud management challenges requires visibility into where all data resides across the extended IT infrastructure (Q11), less than half as many—43%—report actually having that visibility (Q9), marginally more than the global response pool (40%). The visibility findings indicate a capabilities gap that reflects room for improvement in the availability of integrated tools for hybrid IT operations, as IT shops can't manage, secure, synchronize, or analyze what they can't see.
All respondents in the healthcare sector (100%) indicated that they had moved applications between IT infrastructures in the past 12 months. Four in 10 cited a desire to improve their company's security posture or their ability to meet regulatory requirements as a reason; the same percentage (40%) said they did so to help their companies deliver on their corporate sustainability objectives (Figure 5). Improving data security was also the top reason for moving applications cited by ECI respondents globally, though by a moderately larger percentage (46%).
Improve security posture and/or meet regulatory requirements
Meet sustainability goals
Improve data access speeds
Integrate with cloud-native services
Outsourcing IT management
Faster application development
Figure 5: Reasons for Moving Apps Across Infrastructure in the Past Year (Q6)
Cost played the smallest role in decisions surrounding application movement across all industries globally, mentioned as infrequently as by 10% of those in the construction and property industry and as often as by 37% in the energy/utilities market (though still less often than any other factor). Generally, cost is decreasing in importance as a consideration factor driving infrastructure investments and change. For example, in last year's 4th Annual ECI survey, 31% of healthcare companies said cost had played a role in deciding to move an application(2021, Q17) compared to just 17% this year.
ECI respondents tend to be fickle in their attitudes toward IT cost, which seems to be inching downward on IT priority lists. For example, it fell last among both healthcare and global respondents' infrastructure criteria and application mobility drivers. At the same time, however, most respondents rank controlling costs high on their list of challenges. For example, 86% of healthcare respondents and 85% of respondents globally described cloud cost control as a challenge with managing their current IT infrastructures, and more than a third of each group, 36% of healthcare organizations and 34% of global respondents, said it was a "significant" one. (Q5)
One explanation is that as the value and volume of corporate data continue to skyrocket, data management, security, protection, synchronization, and backup/recovery concerns are moving top of mind. Data is now a business asset that must stay up-to-date, secure, and readily available for continued operations, analytics, and monetization. In addition, infrastructure total cost of ownership (TCO) has many components that make it difficult to compare apples to apples during upfront decision-making, particularly given that public cloud offerings, pricing models, and fees are in a perpetual state of change.
5th Annual ECI findings generally indicate a notable increase in the use of mixed IT infrastructure, which spans private datacenters, public clouds, and edge locations. Mixed deployments among healthcare organizations moderately trail the averages at 53% penetration, and this group's deployment of hybrid multicloud environments—the highest growth area across all respondent groups—is currently half that of the global average, at just 6%.
However, healthcare organizations shared plans to significantly accelerate their hybrid multicloud deployments by more than 7-fold over the next three years to 44% penetration. Overall, they expect to increase their general use of mixed-IT infrastructure to 74%, equal to the expectations of the global response pool for that period. Data security and the related issue of disaster recovery are guiding many of the healthcare group's infrastructure investment and application mobility decisions as they progress on their cloud journeys.
Increased infrastructure diversity, along with a heightened emphasis on data storage, management, security, and services, is driving all IT pros to seek hybrid operations that transcend private and public infrastructure. Nearly all respondents, including 96% of healthcare respondents, expressed a desire to have a single place to see and manage the many aspects of their diverse infrastructures. As these capabilities emerge, respondents will gain access to unified tools that deliver visibility into where all data resides, allow IT teams to holistically manage their applications and data, and let them make adjustments as needed to meet ever-shifting requirements for data security, backup, compliance, performance, and cost.