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 global public sector, which includes federal/national government organizations, and state & local government organizations, public educational institutions, and public healthcare organizations. It highlights the cloud plans, priorities, challenges, and experiences of IT professionals in the public sector around the world and how they compare to the full, cross-industry global response pool.
01Public sector organizations are deploying mixed-cloud environments at about the same rate as the global average.
The percentage of ECI respondents in the public sector using multiple IT operating modes—whether a mix of private and public clouds, multiple public clouds, or on-premises and hosted private infrastructure—is about even with the global cross-industry average. Organizations in this group report 57% penetration of mixed IT models today, compared to 60% globally. Their near-term deployment plans are also similar to those of other industries: close to three-fourths of both public sector respondents (73%) and the full global response pool (74%) plan to be running multiple IT environments by 2026 (Figure 1).
Global Public Sector
In 1-3 years
Figure 1: Use of Mixed IT Environments
Another measure of where organizations are in their cloud journeys is their adoption rate of hybrid multicloud models, defined as private IT infrastructure combined with two or more public cloud platforms. Hybrid multicloud is the operating model with the highest expected growth across all ECI respondent organizations. The percentage of public sector enterprises that have deployed hybrid multicloud today (8%) trails that of the full global response pool (12%) by a third (Figure 2).
Global Public Sector
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 the public sector expect to grow their hybrid multicloud deployments by nearly 5-fold over the coming three years to 39% penetration, in line with global respondent plans (38%). This group also expects to more than double its use of multiple public clouds (“multicloud”) as exclusive IT infrastructure to 11% penetration by 2026 and to increase exclusive use of hosted IT infrastructure services by 5 percentage points to 14% penetration. Public sector respondents expect their use of all other IT operating models to decline during this period (Figure 3).
On-premises infrastructure only
Hosted infrastructure only
Single public cloud only
Both on-premises and hosted infrastructure
Figure 3 Global Public Sector: 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 organizational 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 throughout the ECI respondent base.
That said, among those in the public sector, cybersecurity and data sovereignty—the ability to comply with national rules for data storage and control—tied as the top criterion, at 13% each. Cost was mentioned least often, both among public sector respondents (4%) and globally (5%).
Data protection and recovery
Ability to easily move existing applications to the public cloud
Regulatory concerns and compliance
Flexibility to run across clouds and on-prem
Data distribution across edge, datacenter, public cloud(s)
Data services (e.g., files, blocks, objects)
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 public sector organizations, 95% agreed, as did 94% of IT pros from the full 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 the public sector chose data analytics and orchestration (44%) most often as a mixed-infrastructure management challenge (Figure 5). This factor was followed by disaster recovery (43%) and data storage costs (42%). Similarly, the full global response pool mentioned both data analytics/orchestration (43%) and data storage costs (43%) as top mixed-cloud management challenges most often.
While 93% of respondents from the public sector agree that tackling their cross-cloud management challenges requires visibility into where all data resides across the extended IT infrastructure (Q11), far fewer—36%—report actually having that visibility today (Q9). This percentage was moderately lower 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.
Global Public Sector - Data analytics and orchestration
All - Data analytics and orchestration
Data storage costs
Figure 5: Top Data Management Challenges with Mixed Environments (Q9a)
Nearly all respondents in the global public sector (98%) indicated that they had moved applications between IT infrastructures in the past 12 months, and 47% cited a desire to improve their company’s security posture or their ability to meet regulatory requirements as a reason (Figure 6).
Improving data security was also the top reason for moving applications among all ECI respondents, cited by a similar percentage (46%). The hope of accelerating data access speeds was a moderately distant second reason for application mobility among public sector respondents (39%), followed by a wish to integrate with cloud-native services, such as AI and machine learning (38%).
Improve security posture and/or meet regulatory requirements
Improve data access speeds
Integrate with cloud-native services
Gain better control of the application
Meet sustainability goals
Outsourcing IT management
Faster application development
Figure 6: Reasons for moving apps across infrastructure in the past year (Q6)
ECI respondents tend to be fickle in their attitudes toward IT cost, which seems to be inching downward on IT priority lists. In addition to playing the smallest role in today’s infrastructure decisions, cost was the lowest-ranking driver behind 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 less than any other factor).
At the same time, however, most respondents rank controlling costs high on their list of challenges. For example, 86% of public sector 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 public sector 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 service 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 organizations in the public sector slightly trail the averages at 57% penetration, and this group’s deployment of hybrid multicloud environments—the highest growth area across all respondent groups—is currently two-thirds that of the global average, at 8% penetration.
Public sector organizations, however, shared plans to accelerate their hybrid multicloud deployments by nearly 5-fold over the next three years to 39% penetration, slightly ahead of the cross-industry global average of 38%. Overall, they expect to increase their general use of mixed-IT infrastructure to 73%, nearly equal to the expectations of the full global response pool for that period. Data security, sovereignty, protection, and analytics are guiding many of this 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 95% of public sector 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.