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Trends in Multi-Cloud Data Management – Research Study

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Data is the heart of day-to-day operations and competitive advantage for the modern business. At the same time, today’s enterprises are leaning on a mixture of on-premises private cloud infrastructure (at core and edge data centers alike), cloud-delivered infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS); one size does not fit all when it comes to meeting varying requirements for data accessibility, cost, compliance and specific functionalities.

Data is being generated, stored and accessed across these multi-cloud environments, but products existing on the marketplace are not equipped to fully bridge these silos from the perspective of data management. In the words of one IT professional, “We have a cloud management vision, but we don’t have a cloud management strategy. We’re waiting for the technology to get there.”

Evaluator Group conducted an online survey and multiple follow-up interviews to better understand where multi-cloud data management fits into the strategic planning and information technology (IT) budgeting of enterprises, the technologies that enterprise IT organizations are using to address multi-cloud data management requirements, and the current gaps that enterprise IT organizations perceive in their environments, from a data management perspective.

The key findings from the study include the following:

  • The need for multi-cloud data management is established
    • Roughly 80% of respondents indicated that their organization is already doing some form of multi-cloud data management, or that it is in a stage of evaluating some aspect(s) of multi-cloud data management. In follow-up interviews, even those who indicated that their organization has no plans for multi-cloud data management reported using some form of public cloud or colocation services in some way, and upon discussing this further, generally agreed that they likely either have a need or, in the foreseeable future, will have a need for multi-cloud data management.
  • …but has not yet been addressed.
    • Multi-cloud data management implementations are complex and multi-faceted. Generally speaking, interviewees acknowledged that there is no “silver bullet” tool, and that their organization has a way to go in terms of comprehensively addressing their needs.
  • Before data reuse, customers are solving for business continuity and cost control.
    • Survey results and follow-up interviews uncovered that, by and large, customers are focused on implementing a multi-cloud data management strategy to obtain data portability for business continuity requirements, including disaster recovery and failover use cases. This research additionally underscored that customers are looking for a way to rationalize their retention data—what is being stored, how is it being stored and accessed—to control costs and ensure security and compliance. As these “table stakes” requirements are met, data reuse use cases, such as business analytics, will become more prominent.
  • Amazon and Microsoft dominate mindshare, but migration tools are the missing link.
    • Far and away, Amazon and Microsoft are the vendors that respondents most often reported having engaged with for multi-cloud data management, and that they intend to engage with for multi-cloud data management. At the same time, however, interviewees acknowledged the pain points of incompatibility between Amazon’s and Microsoft’s environments. Several interviewees also noted that third-party tools have a limited ability to bridge these environments. As a result, cloud migration tools were most often noted as the products lacking from customers’ environments that they require for multi-cloud data management.
  • Containers and Kubernetes as the cure?
    • Evaluator Group research, including this study, indicates that containers are finding their way into enterprises via DevOps teams, and that the implementations of stateful container environments requiring data management, protection, and governance will grow. The velocity and scalability of containerized environments will further impact data management requirements. What is arguably more notable is that multiple interviewees noted the Kubernetes container orchestration engine as a tool that is helping to alleviate headaches around application and data portability, and security.

This research report presents findings for the benefit of enterprise IT users and the vendors that support them. For users, this report provides peer feedback and looks at technology utilization trends expected over the next 12 to 24 months. For vendors, this report provides insight into customer requirements and purchasing processes.

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January 21, 2020


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