Emerging Cloud Unification Tools Spark Digital Initiatives

New report highlights enterprise demand for cloud integration, simplification and app portability.

By Joanie Wexler November 11, 2020

For organizations to get the most out of cloud computing, they need ways to standardize technology and simplify operations across different cloud environments. That much is clear, according to the results of a new report, “Hybrid Cloud Is Here to Stay: Now What?” based on 2020 Vanson Bourne research commissioned by Nutanix, a cloud software company that pioneered hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

In that study, more than two-thirds (70%) of organizations interviewed reported that achieving consistent IT operations across private and public clouds is taking longer than planned.

“Without interoperability among cloud infrastructures and the ability to easily move workloads back and forth between them, IT teams have to rearchitect their applications to make them cloud-native,” said Wendy Pfeiffer, Nutanix CIO. “That can be a time-consuming, resource-intensive prospect that slows down progress with corporate digital initiatives.”

Bumps in the Road

Rebuilding apps and the complexity of cloud migration are both top concerns voiced by about three-quarters of survey respondents. They said these are the main issues holding them back from deploying public cloud services and, in turn, creating hybrid private/public cloud infrastructure. The majority (85%) agreed that hybrid cloud is their ideal IT operating model.

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Nearly all respondents (96%) said they’re facing hurdles managing applications and data across on-prem private clouds and public cloud services. About the same number (95%) said they believe their organizations would benefit from a “symmetric cloud” solution that provided consistency across clouds. Many saw public cloud as the answer to their digital initiatives but tended to find that moving business-critical applications to the public cloud was easier said than done, if not impossible.

Skills for a Non-Standard Cloud Landscape

Part of the problem is finding the breadth of IT skills needed to address the ins and outs of different cloud computing platforms. It also takes special talent to understand the security, governance, and compliance implications when applications in one cloud must now communicate with an application(s) in another, said Madhukar Kumar, Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing at Nutanix.

“[These processes] require new skillsets to determine things like where’s the data going to sit? How are applications going to be interacting across the network?” he said.

The majority of respondents (88%) said that their organization struggles to ensure their IT team has the appropriate skills to handle hybrid cloud, and over half (53%) see this as their main concern. 

“Cloud standards are lacking,” said Joe Kaplovitz, CTO of Kaplan Companies, a construction and real estate company in Highland Park, N.J. “The actual differences between public clouds are minute, but getting there is not. If I spend the time to figure out how to get up and running on one cloud service, I’m going to stay there because it’s too time-consuming to learn multiple proprietary cloud platforms.”

Smoothing Over Technical Differences

That’s why the availability of unified tooling is every bit as important. Specifically, what’s in order are solutions that bundle in native networking integrations between private and public clouds, “making workload portability seamless,” said Pfeiffer.

Such solutions have not to date been abundantly available, but they’re now emerging. They’ll allow businesses to dynamically match the environment best-suited to each workload, as cost, resource demands, security, and other factors change.

“These tools will help businesses fast track digital initiatives by providing a path to easily ‘lift and shift’ legacy applications to public cloud without costly rearchitecting,” said Pfeiffer. “Those legacy applications will then also have direct access to cloud native technologies.”

For example, Nutanix recently made available Nutanix Clusters on AWS, which extends Nutanix private cloud software and services to bare metal Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances on Amazon Web Services (AWS), enabling enterprises to easily create a hybrid cloud infrastructure. It enables app and data portability across cloud locations without rebuilding applications.

“Modern organizations need to lead with flexibility, and a critical component is decentralizing resources to make them more readily accessible," said Pfeiffer. “By using multiple clouds, businesses can bring their IT infrastructure to where it’s most needed. But as the research shows, this flexibility is only possible with consistency across clouds in tech, tools, and operations.”

2020 and 2021 are shaping up to be pivotal years for the capabilities she describes to materialize. According to Gartner, 90% of organizations will have deployed a hybrid or multicloud IT model by 2021—a prediction that essentially depends on the commercial availability of tools with native cloud integrations in order to come true.

Download the report “Hybrid Cloud Is Here to Stay: Now What?” 

Joanie Wexler is a contributing writer and editor with more than 20 years’ experience covering IT and computer networking technologies.

© 2020 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. For additional legal information, please go here.

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