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AWS-Azure, AWS-OpenStack Most Popular Multicloud Combos

When it comes to determining the most common cloud configurations among enterprises, "diversity" is the key word.

That's the conclusion of a report published this month by Cloudify, a provider of open source cloud management solutions, and research firm IOD. The two companies surveyed almost 700 IT pros around the world, representing multiple industries and organization sizes, for their "2017: State of Enterprise Multi-Cloud" report, available here for download.

One key finding of the report pointed to a correlation between an organization's size and its preferred cloud type. Small to midsized organizations, which are more likely to be cloud-native, tend to favor public cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), according to the researchers.

In contrast, larger enterprises lean more toward private clouds like OpenStack and VMware because they tend to have deeper catalogs of legacy applications that are difficult to migrate to the public cloud.

Despite these preferences, it's not uncommon for organizations across all sizes to run multiple types of clouds. Indeed, just over half of all respondents (50.3 percent) said they currently use more than one Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud provider within their organizations.

A small number (8.6 percent) are using at least five cloud vendors at the same time, with an even smaller proportion using as many as eight or nine. However, the most typical multicloud environment, as indicated by 23.1 percent of all respondents, is made up of just two clouds.

The most popular two-cloud configuration combines AWS and Azure, the No. 1 and No. 2 public cloud vendors in the market, respectively. This is the combination used by 108 of respondents.

"The fact that two public cloud vendors, AWS and Azure, are the most popular two-cloud combination shows clearly that organizations aren't betting on just one cloud. SMBs will often go for a public/public combination in order to avoid vendor lock-in," noted the researchers.

Other recent surveys have pointed to cloud vendor lock-in as a growing concern among organizations. In the case of the Cloudify-IOD survey, "interoperability/no lock-in" was described by 20.1 percent of respondents as the most important cloud feature, second only to "high availability," which was deemed the most important by 23.3 percent.

Next to AWS-Azure, the second-most common two-cloud configuration was AWS and OpenStack, reported by 59 respondents. Other popular two-cloud combinations, in descending order, are:

  • AWS-Google (48 respondents)
  • OpenStack-VMware (40)
  • AWS-VMware (18)
  • Azure-OpenStack (13)

"We believe that these results underscore a trend towards well-managed cloud diversity, with both public and on-prem private clouds consumed in an as-a-service model," the report said.

Unsurprisingly, finding ways to wrangle these diverse combinations is a growing challenge among organizations. When asked to list their Top 3 cloud management hurdles, "multi-cloud management" was included by 12.7 percent of respondents, putting its importance just below app deployment, metrics and logging, and automated scaling and failover, and above cost analysis.

"Heterogeneous IT infrastructure is the enterprise reality," said Ofir Nachmani, CEO of IOD, in a prepared statement. "It follows that a robust multi-cloud management layer is therefore crucial to avoid fragmentation and failure when reinventing the traditional enterprise IT environment."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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