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Hybrid Cloud Management

The War Over the Cloud Has Ended (and the Winner Might Surprise You)

When the cloud first began to be considered as an IT deployment model, there were strong proponents both for and against it, with each side insisting that picking one model would mean the death of the other. But today’s enterprises are no longer concerned with whether to use cloud or on-premises storage. Instead of going all in on one model or the other, mulitcloud and hybrid cloud models have become standard for most organizations. The war over which deployment model is best has ended, and the cloud is here to stay.

Depending on their needs, organizations have a number of options when it comes to making cloud architecture decisions. With many companies moving from monolith to microservices-based architectures, and with requirements to manage numerous data sources, cloud computing is a winning.

In this article we will take a look at the state of enterprise cloud today, explore how we got there, and discuss the implications for businesses and organizations. We discuss why companies have decided to adopt hybrid and multicloud architectures and the advantages they have gained as a result. Finally, we go through the necessity of managing data in these hybrid and multicloud architectures and how organizations are getting on top of their data management.

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Overview: Cloud Is the Answer

In 2020, spending on cloud services outstripped on-prem spending. The market has grown since and is expected to top $500 billion with a projected CAGR of over 20% in 2022, according to Gartner. Enterprises are consuming cloud services in a number of different ways. Whether through containerization, data lakes, data mesh, microservices consumption, or SaaS software, the cloud serves as the basis for a tremendous amount of enterprise IT infrastructure.

While arguably cloud services have become a commodity, the major cloud providers (such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure) are now referred to as hyperscalers due to their capability to provide almost-instant capacity leaps that would be impossible for an internal IT department to accomplish. Amazon leads the market with 34% of market share, which doesn’t necessarily make it the obvious choice. A recent report surveyed 25 hyperscaler vendors, citing cost reduction as the main emphasis for organizations moving their operations to the cloud.

Cloud solutions and hyperscalers have become the predominant way enterprises host IT services for a number of reasons:

  • Cost savings both for operational and capital investments
  • Flexibility and scalability
  • Choice of a variety of configurations and services
  • Improved risk management (security, privacy, compliance)
  • Improved performance
  • Cloud analytics provide important business insights
  • Remote work trends due to COVID
  • The rapid growth of the amount of data across industries

At the same time the cloud has become predominant, enterprises have found that they don’t have to choose between on-prem and cloud. The market naturally evolved in ways that honor business needs to have different types of computing environments depending on the application, department and service type.

In addition to combining enterprise and public cloud services, businesses have found that they don’t need to host all of their IT on one cloud service and can use multicloud solutions to integrate multiple cloud capabilities over the different needs of the organization. Let’s see why.

Hybrid Multicloud Is Now Standard

An overwhelming number of companies are maintaining multicloud and hybrid cloud networks. In a recent report, 89% of enterprises said they are using multicloud networks.


Cloud Strategy for All Organizations, Source: Flexera

Hybrid cloud environments, which combine private cloud and public cloud solutions, are in operation in 80% of enterprises according to that report. Hybrid cloud is the de-facto standard for good reason.

The benefits of the winning hybrid cloud model include:

The hybrid strategy shows us something important about digital transformations. Many companies consider the cloud a commodity: something that can be bought and then sold and easily switched between without any noticeable difference. The reality of the situation is much different in practice.

For example, different departments within one company may have technical or financial preferences for one hyperscaler or cloud provider over another. Also, if one company acquires another company using a different cloud provider, the cloud configurations may be different enough to justify adopting a hybrid multicloud architecture rather than trying to port everything over to a single cloud provider.

The lesson is that the cloud isn’t one size fits all. Companies are choosing to use the cloud services that fit them best.

Containerization Contributes to the Cloud Trend

Another trend that has enabled cloud migration is the use of container services such as Docker and Kubernetes—the cloud is being used by a whopping 90% of organizations leveraging containers. Containers simplify the ability of employees to spin up instances of computing and storage services without the intervention of the IT department. The average number of Kubernetes pods per organization doubled from 2019 to 2021. Many companies have been moving towards a self-service IT architecture based on containers. Containers are being used for research, development, and testing, with 30% of organizations using containers for production environments as well.

Using containers makes it easier for enterprises to move between cloud providers and from on-premises environments, because the IT department can set up the configuration for a container, and have that container executed on any of the cloud providers based on the company needs and with a level of portability. Also, managed container orchestration and runtime services have been expanding in capabilities, going from single to multicloud providers. This further commoditizes the cloud, allowing enterprise apps to reliably deploy development and testing environments on any cloud they prefer.

Data Lakes and Data Meshes

The data storage market alone was worth $46.12 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $222.25 billion by 2027. In order to leverage data for analytics and business intelligence, companies are using data lakes and data cloud services such as Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, and DataStax.

These services bring in data from different sources across the enterprise and serve as a repository for data scientists and analysts to run business analytics. The overwhelming volume of data and the need for bursts of data processing power means that cloud computing is the natural solution for data storage, processing, and business intelligence capabilities. Cloud data centers processed 94% of the workloads in 2021.

Countering the trend of data lakes is the data mesh architecture approach, which Google Trends indicated was outperforming data lakes already in 2021. The data mesh approach fits in with digital transformation towards a microservices architecture. Rather than collecting all of the data in one repository, data mesh allocates responsibility for data services to the functions that collect the data. Data mesh fits in with the hybrid and multicloud approaches, allowing companies more flexibility in their choice of cloud services for data storage.

Managing Your Data: The Need for NetApp

While all of these trends are rosy for the cloud and hyperscaler providers, as an organization, it’s your responsibility to manage cloud usage responsibly and keep cloud computing costs under control. As much as a third of data storage is wasted space, according to Flexera’s State of the cloud report.

Companies that get control of their data are able to identify waste, retire old data, and eliminate duplicate data. The report found that cloud optimization was at the top of the priority list for enterprises in 2022.

NetApp can help you do that with Cloud Volumes ONTAP and its other cloud data services. Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps enterprise-scale organizations extend their on-prem storage into hybrid cloud and multicloud deployments on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. This allows companies to effectively manage their data in the new data landscape that embraces the best of both worlds. Learn more about hybrid cloud storage management with Cloud Volumes ONTAP and check out these hybrid cloud customer success stories with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager