IT management, CSPs, IT distribution, Storage

Hybrid IT Services: Got A Multi-Cloud Management Strategy?

Grant Sainsbury
Grant Sainsbury

As most enterprises shift to hybrid IT services, the blended world of on-premises and cloud is creating new opportunities and challenges for service providers. The good news: 70 percent of businesses plan to use more than one cloud service provider (CSP) over the next two years or so, according to a Dimension Data study conducted by 451 Research. The bad news: Managing all those workloads across disparate systems can become unwieldy for corporate IT departments and their external MSPs.

Among the research findings:

  • On average 63% of workloads are running in the cloud today and 68% are expected to run in the cloud in two years;
  • Cost management topped the list of the most challenging aspect of cloud deployments, followed closely by data migration.,
  • Less than a quarter of respondents consider cloud security one of the most challenging aspects of cloud deployments;
  • More than half (52%) of enterprises have evaluated or are already using container technology while 45% have evaluated or are using SDN; and
  • Only 4% of organizations do not have a DevOps team or practice of any kind.

Weave all those data points together and the conclusion is clear: Service providers need to master multi-cloud management for their customers.

One Application, Multiple Systems

“We see a forward looking view that’s beginning to be adopted where those multiple platforms are used together to deliver a single application to the users,” said Grant Sainsbury, senior vice president, solutions for Dimension Data Americas. In other words, application services, database servers and other components can extend across multiple clouds. But the end user perceives and ultimately views a single front-end system.

MSPs and channel partners, in turn, must have expertise that expands beyond a single cloud system -- especially as software-defined networking (SDN) and network-function virtualization (NFV) take hold. “These are next-generation network architectures, which require new design provisioning and orchestration tools and skills,” said Sainsbury. MSPs and partners "certainly need a far more diverse or broader array of skills to be IT savvy than a traditional, single tower cloud services provider.”

“Understanding and being able to assess the different options out there are quite important," he added. "But we believe every workload has a natural home and the challenge for organizations is to identify it,” he said.

Finding The Right Fit

Dimension Data faces plenty of competition in the hybrid IT and multi-cloud worlds. Indeed, the multi-cloud management market will reach $3.4 billion in 2021, up from $939.3 million in 2016, according to Markets and Markets. That’s a strong 29.6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), the research says.

Among the companies working to fill the multi-cloud management void:

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.