All IT departments must manage their application portfolio. That portfolio is typically split into two categories: existing applications and new applications. For existing applications, customers are wrestling with managing costs and maintaining a reliable, secure environment that will keep an existing portfolio of applications extended through its logical lifespan. They are also thinking about how they can add new capabilities and features to enhance and extend the value of existing applications. At the same time, they are prioritizing new built-in-the-cloud applications focused on differentiating their business from their competition.
As they wrestle with this dual portfolio, customers have a number of choices they can make about how to support legacy applications as shown in Figure 28. They can choose to maintain applications unchanged, but in an increasingly virtualized and enhanced environment. They can also choose to move applications to the cloud and re-platform, hopefully with as little cost or effort as possible. They can refactor or rebuild applications for the cloud, build brand new apps in the cloud or replace them with a set of SaaS applications. Each of these decisions are based on business priorities and this is driving cloud adoption and strategies.
For many organizations, this increasingly diverse application landscape is resulting in an enormous amount of IT complexity. The main driver is due to the fact that over 93% of organizations are deploying their workloads across two or more clouds (IDC White Paper, sponsored by Cisco, Adopting Multicloud — A Fact-Based Blueprint for Reducing Enterprise Business Risks, June 2018). This multi-cloud approach grows increasingly complex due to multiple operational silos, resulting from disparate management and operations tools, increasingly complex application and infrastructure lifecycle management, ultimately delivering inconsistent service level agreements (SLAs). Solving this complexity is one of the biggest IT challenges.
Customer workload needs are changing, sometimes wanting to extend things out to a public cloud, and at other times wanting to bring things back on-premises. Almost every study shows that organizations desire to use a variety of cloud platforms across both public and private clouds. When ESG surveyed CIOs, 91% of respondents reported that their company’s cloud strategy would include on-premises data centers where many have found some workloads realize 2-4x savings versus the public cloud alone.
There is a desire to future proof cloud decisions and provide flexibility through a hybrid cloud strategy. However, to do so effectively, customers must simplify the multi-cloud complexity challenge. Customers value a hybrid cloud strategy, which addresses the biggest issue regarding extension across on-premises and off-premises, with 83% of customers stating that they value consistency of infrastructure from data center to cloud (VMware Cloud Market Study, January 2018).