Multi-supplier cloud environments bad for business agility

Telstra research suggests companies that rely on three or more cloud providers could find it harder to respond to business changes

Research from IT services provider Telstra claims deploying cloud services from three or more suppliers can damage a company’s business agility.

The Australian IT services company commissioned research house Vanson Bourne to interview 675 IT decision makers working for private sector firms with 250 or more employees operating in the US, UK, Hong Kong and Australia.

The UK portion of the survey garnered 200 responses, with two-thirds of respondents stating a preference for procuring cloud services from a single supplier for ease of management.

Most failed to do so, however, because of the challenging of finding a single provider who does everything they need in the cloud.

As a result, their companies’ day-to-day operations depend on the smooth-running of complicated IT environments featuring an average of three cloud providers.

“We are living in a buyers’ market and our research suggests that, in an effort to satisfy diverse customer expectations, many UK businesses initially turn to multiple cloud suppliers to meet their various infrastructure needs,” said Martin Bishop, head of network, applications and services at Telstra Global Enterprise and Services.

“The result can be a complex cloud environment that is hard for the business to manage, integrate and control.”

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Growth in hybrid cloud deployments

The set-up can have a detrimental effect on the ability of companies to respond to market changes, he warned, as they can be difficult to scale.

To remedy this, IT decision makers are increasingly opting for hybrid cloud deployments.

“Our research reveals that pooling resources into a single private cloud isn’t the ideal end-state either, with the majority of IT decision makers arguing this model fails to deliver the flexibility required for the varying types of processes, services and workloads that global companies must support,” Bishop said.

“In a move away from the private clouds of yesterday, the trend in 2015 appears to be towards a hybrid approach, delivered by a single partner, fully accountable for an organisation's cloud services end-to-end.”

The findings are in keeping with the predictions of industry watchers who have repeatedly tipped adoption of the hybrid cloud delivery model to increase this year.

IT analyst house IDC predicted at the end of 2014 that 65% of enterprises will invest in hybrid cloud technologies before 2016.

“IT buyers are shifting steadily toward cloud-also and cloud-first strategies and nearly all are reconsidering their IT best practices to embrace hybrid cloud construction and operations, secure data management, end-to-end governance, updated IT skills, and improved multi-vendor sourcing,” said Robert Mahowald, programme vice-president for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Cloud Software practice at IDC.

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