Multi-cloud may be just hype to some organizations, but high revenue (>US$100m) does reveal where this technology is headed.

Two-thirds of businesses face difficulty in integrating and managing apps across third-party environments, while IT leaders also claim that half of application workloads will not be migrated into public cloud environments over the next three years.

These are just some of the interesting findings of two recent studies commissioned by application-experience (AX) vendor Kemp and conducted by independent research firms Forrester Consulting and ZK Research.

Highlight findings of the Oct 30 State of AX report include:

  1. Applications will be managed in multicloud and on-premises environments. Migration to the cloud is not all or nothing there are many organizations that will not be moving applications to the cloud, and others that will adopt a phased approach utilizing a hybrid environment.
  2. While hardware load balancers still reign, cloud and software-based load balancers will overtake in the next 3 years. ZK Research found that hardware load balancers are still the most popular form factor, however more survey respondents indicated that they are moving to virtual and cloud deployments.
  3. Load balancers are considered the ideal location for application security services. Surveyed CIO’s were in broad agreement thatload balancing and single sign on/client authentication are the most common application services being deployed. WAF, SSL VPN and DNS are also very commonly deployed.
  4. Most enterprises are facing application experience challenges in multicloud. Multicloud architecture eliminates enterprises’ dependency on any single cloud provider. However, significant application experience challenges are being encountered when using two or more public clouds, as well as private cloud infrastructure.

The other report, Application Experience (AX) for Asia Pacific Enterprises in Multi-cloud Environments, was released on 2 Oct 2019, and reported that 84% of APAC CIOs (working in organizations with revenues of US$100 million or higher) believe that a multi-cloud deployment will constitute up to half of their web and application hosting environments in the next three years—up from the region’s average of under 30% today.

The report indicated that 67% of APAC business decision makers found that migrating applications into the multi-cloud had a positive impact on application experiences. However, 84% of these leaders said their priorities lie in automating the process and management, while 82% want a more efficient way to manage multiple vendors through smarter application delivery analytics tools. About 67% of respondents believe that there is a lack of visibility and predictability across their IT environments, and 54% cited that they lack the control they need for managing a multi-cloud infrastructure.

Separately, the report also found that 72% of businesses prefer paying only for the resources they consume—a pay-per-use model—for their cloud subscriptions, which can be aided by “total cost calculators” from vendors that help make real-world projections of cloud usage.

Tony Sandberg, APAC regional director for Kemp, commented: “Businesses in the Asia Pacific region are moving towards cloud hosting, but they are similarly frustrated by the lack of automation, visibility, and control over their multi-cloud configurations. Our APAC report on multi-cloud practices informs organizations on the technological priorities within their IT strategies, which is crucial for simplifying how businesses in APAC optimize, analyze and secure apps across any mix of environments.”

Said Peter Melerud, co-founder and chief strategy officer for Kemp: “When it comes to the multi-cloud hype machine, the focus seems to be centered around the hyperscale platforms for app development instead of the application delivery outcome customers actually want, which is delivering an optimal end-user experience with their applications. The one constant that remains is the need for a highly-flexible, load balancing interconnect to not only serve as the foundation for app experience, but to be the conduit for the cloud adoption lifecycle.”

In response to the findings, some industry analysts feel that enterprises are increasingly deploying hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures to support digital initiatives and IT transformation. Shamus McGillicuddy, Research Director, EMA, said: “35 percent of network managers say public cloud initiatives are a major driver of their decision-making today, and another 35 percent say private cloud initiatives are a major driver. In addition, the average enterprise claims that 45 percent of its network traffic is attributable to public cloud applications.”

Mike Fratto, senior analyst, applied infrastructure and DevOps for 451 Research, believes that “AX, which focuses on outcomes, will resonate with customers that want to provide value to the business through the application of technology, and opens the door to talk about more than just load balancing — AX is about the entirety of the experience, including performance, reliability, consistency and security capabilities.”

On the importance of metered multicloud usage, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research said, “application delivery controller (ADC) functionality has evolved to meet the challenges of the multi-cloud world. ADC features now can be flexibly delivered where and when they are needed. Application delivery resources are right sized for the workload and can be dynamically adjusted to meet changing demands (e.g. seasonal variations). Per-application or per-workload ADC deployment means that each environment can be scripted, automated and secured in a customized manner for optimal operationally efficiency.

From these report findings, it is somewhat clear that multicloud is going places but requires stop-gap solutions so that APAC businesses managing anywhere from four or more cloud vendors at any given time will be able to simplify, automate, optimize, secure, and control their multi-cloud environment usage costs.