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© 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Workloads Are Shifting to Public Cloud Infrastructure
ESG recently surveyed 318 IT decision makers, with knowledge of and/or responsibility for systems management or cloud
infrastructure strategy, at midmarket (i.e., 100 to 999 employees) and enterprise (i.e., 1,000 or more employees)
organizations in North America. According to Figure 1, a majority of organizations currently use public cloud infrastructure
services in the form of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and/or platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This is not surprising given the
expanding use of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, with both of those companies heavily investing in IaaS as the
easiest onramp to using large scale public clouds.
Figure 1. Public Cloud Infrastructure Services Adoption Usage/Plans
Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2017
37%
45%
21%
21%
24%
19%
17%
14%
1%
1%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
Please indicate your organization’s usage of or plans for each of the following cloud
computing services. (Percent of respondents, N=318)
Currently use
Do not currently use but we plan to
No use or plans at this time but we are interested
No use, plans, or interest at this time
Don’t know
ESGBrief
Multi-cloud Strategies Are on the Rise
Date: August 2017 Author: Edwin Yuen, Analyst; and Bill Lundell, Director of Syndicated Research
Abstract: ESG has found that a significant number of companies are already using public cloud infrastructure services,
and that a wave-like shift of workloads to public cloud is already occurring. How are organizations approaching their
public cloud infrastructure strategies in terms of the number of providers with which they partner, and do they see
these services simply augmenting existing on-premises environments or as a means of revolutionizing them?
Enterprise Strategy Group | Getting to the bigger truth.™
Brief: Multi-cloud Strategies Are on the Rise 2
© 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
While AWS and Microsoft are two of the more recognizable CSPs, a key topic of discussion for public cloud is the race for
vendor dominance. Much of the current discussion involves what vendor is leading or “winning the hearts and minds” of
customers. In contrast to that discussion, however, what is emerging from the data is that most companies are using
multiple public cloud infrastructure vendors, or what is termed a “multi-cloud” strategy. Indeed, when current IaaS/PaaS
users were asked how many unique public cloud infrastructure providers they leverage, two-thirds report procuring
services from more than one provider, with nearly 15% spread across at least four unique CSPs (see Figure 2). It is clear
that the majority of current cloud infrastructure users are truly multi-cloud and it’s not simply the top two providers, but a
wide variety of vendors that companies are leveraging for their public cloud infrastructure.
Clearly any vendor that is focused on systems management for public cloud infrastructure needs to be compatible with
more than any single cloud provider. However, this is not as simple as checking a box because this diversity of cloud service
providers does impact the feature set of any cloud management tool. Specifically, while management vendors must
support standard management functions that are common across all cloud providers, they must also be aware and
supportive of the unique management features needed for specific public cloud platforms.
Figure 2. Number of Unique IaaS/PaaS Providers in Use
Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2017
Another popular theory pertaining to cloud computing is that the public cloud vendors will become the dominant players
in providing and integrating cloud services for companies and that the existing on-premises IT vendors will be forced out of
the picture. Survey respondents were asked about their organization’s preferred cloud service consumption strategy, with
one option involving existing on-premises vendor(s) offering complementary cloud technologies (also known as an
“infrastructure up” strategy) and the other choice centering on cloud service provider(s) delivering complementary on-
premises technology (also known as a “cloud down” strategy). What ESG’s data shows is that the market—at least as of
2017—is still wide open (see Figure 3).
Specifically, the data revealed that companies are evenly split on their organization’s preferred cloud consumption
strategy. A slight majority (52%) currently prefer a cloud down approach, but overall, the results show that companies
today are open to how they will consume cloud services going forward and that the market opportunity is there both for
on-premises IT vendors striving to remake themselves as cloud providers and for cloud service providers looking to extend
into on-premises environments. With either choice, a hybrid cloud environment is the likely end state for most companies
over the long term.
27%
30%
21%
11%
3% 2%
5%
1 2 3 4 5 6 or more Don’t know
Approximately how many unique public cloud infrastructure service providers (IaaS and/or
PaaS) does your organization currently use? (Percent of respondents, N=176)
Brief: Multi-cloud Strategies Are on the Rise 3
© 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Figure 3. Preferred Cloud Service Consumption Strategy
Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2017
The Bigger Truth
It is clear from this data that the impact of growing public cloud infrastructure adoption is more complex than many in the
industry believe it is. The current usage data for these services, as well as the shift of workloads from on-premises to off-
premises, shows that the IT industry, as well as systems management vendors specifically, need to be thinking about hybrid
cloud and the integration of on- and off-premises workloads. Companies will be looking for vendors that will support their
workload migration and management in the future. Cloud usage is happening today; it’s not a future state, but it is also not
a massive rush to move all workloads into the public cloud. The migration process will take time and may not be a
complete migration, with a common end state likely involving a mix of both on- and off-premises workloads.
Contrary to some expectations, public cloud infrastructure services are not a single, be-all and end-all solution, but part of
a larger set of technologies that companies are leveraging as they navigate their IT transformation journey. The reality of
companies today is that they are inherently multi-cloud, often choosing three or more public cloud service providers.
Companies are also still open to deciding their cloud consumption strategy, balanced between infrastructure up and cloud
down strategies. The actual situation is more complex than that and the vendors that work in the cloud space, both on-
premises IT vendors and cloud service providers, need to factor those preferences into their offerings if they are to be
successful in today’s marketplace.
All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group
(ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change. This publication is copyrighted by
The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to
persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an
action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at 508.482.0188.
We would rather our
cloud service
provider(s) offered
complementary on-
premises technology,
52%
We would rather our
on-premises IT
vendor(s) offered
complementary cloud-
based technology, 48%
Which of the following statements is more reflective of your organization’s preferred cloud
service consumption strategy? (Percent of respondents, N=280)
www.esg-global.com contact@esg-global.com P. 508.482.0188
Enterprise Strategy Group is an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market
intelligence and actionable insight to the global IT community.
© 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Why adopt more than one cloud service?

  • 1. © 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Workloads Are Shifting to Public Cloud Infrastructure ESG recently surveyed 318 IT decision makers, with knowledge of and/or responsibility for systems management or cloud infrastructure strategy, at midmarket (i.e., 100 to 999 employees) and enterprise (i.e., 1,000 or more employees) organizations in North America. According to Figure 1, a majority of organizations currently use public cloud infrastructure services in the form of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and/or platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This is not surprising given the expanding use of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, with both of those companies heavily investing in IaaS as the easiest onramp to using large scale public clouds. Figure 1. Public Cloud Infrastructure Services Adoption Usage/Plans Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2017 37% 45% 21% 21% 24% 19% 17% 14% 1% 1% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) Please indicate your organization’s usage of or plans for each of the following cloud computing services. (Percent of respondents, N=318) Currently use Do not currently use but we plan to No use or plans at this time but we are interested No use, plans, or interest at this time Don’t know ESGBrief Multi-cloud Strategies Are on the Rise Date: August 2017 Author: Edwin Yuen, Analyst; and Bill Lundell, Director of Syndicated Research Abstract: ESG has found that a significant number of companies are already using public cloud infrastructure services, and that a wave-like shift of workloads to public cloud is already occurring. How are organizations approaching their public cloud infrastructure strategies in terms of the number of providers with which they partner, and do they see these services simply augmenting existing on-premises environments or as a means of revolutionizing them? Enterprise Strategy Group | Getting to the bigger truth.™
  • 2. Brief: Multi-cloud Strategies Are on the Rise 2 © 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. While AWS and Microsoft are two of the more recognizable CSPs, a key topic of discussion for public cloud is the race for vendor dominance. Much of the current discussion involves what vendor is leading or “winning the hearts and minds” of customers. In contrast to that discussion, however, what is emerging from the data is that most companies are using multiple public cloud infrastructure vendors, or what is termed a “multi-cloud” strategy. Indeed, when current IaaS/PaaS users were asked how many unique public cloud infrastructure providers they leverage, two-thirds report procuring services from more than one provider, with nearly 15% spread across at least four unique CSPs (see Figure 2). It is clear that the majority of current cloud infrastructure users are truly multi-cloud and it’s not simply the top two providers, but a wide variety of vendors that companies are leveraging for their public cloud infrastructure. Clearly any vendor that is focused on systems management for public cloud infrastructure needs to be compatible with more than any single cloud provider. However, this is not as simple as checking a box because this diversity of cloud service providers does impact the feature set of any cloud management tool. Specifically, while management vendors must support standard management functions that are common across all cloud providers, they must also be aware and supportive of the unique management features needed for specific public cloud platforms. Figure 2. Number of Unique IaaS/PaaS Providers in Use Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2017 Another popular theory pertaining to cloud computing is that the public cloud vendors will become the dominant players in providing and integrating cloud services for companies and that the existing on-premises IT vendors will be forced out of the picture. Survey respondents were asked about their organization’s preferred cloud service consumption strategy, with one option involving existing on-premises vendor(s) offering complementary cloud technologies (also known as an “infrastructure up” strategy) and the other choice centering on cloud service provider(s) delivering complementary on- premises technology (also known as a “cloud down” strategy). What ESG’s data shows is that the market—at least as of 2017—is still wide open (see Figure 3). Specifically, the data revealed that companies are evenly split on their organization’s preferred cloud consumption strategy. A slight majority (52%) currently prefer a cloud down approach, but overall, the results show that companies today are open to how they will consume cloud services going forward and that the market opportunity is there both for on-premises IT vendors striving to remake themselves as cloud providers and for cloud service providers looking to extend into on-premises environments. With either choice, a hybrid cloud environment is the likely end state for most companies over the long term. 27% 30% 21% 11% 3% 2% 5% 1 2 3 4 5 6 or more Don’t know Approximately how many unique public cloud infrastructure service providers (IaaS and/or PaaS) does your organization currently use? (Percent of respondents, N=176)
  • 3. Brief: Multi-cloud Strategies Are on the Rise 3 © 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Figure 3. Preferred Cloud Service Consumption Strategy Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2017 The Bigger Truth It is clear from this data that the impact of growing public cloud infrastructure adoption is more complex than many in the industry believe it is. The current usage data for these services, as well as the shift of workloads from on-premises to off- premises, shows that the IT industry, as well as systems management vendors specifically, need to be thinking about hybrid cloud and the integration of on- and off-premises workloads. Companies will be looking for vendors that will support their workload migration and management in the future. Cloud usage is happening today; it’s not a future state, but it is also not a massive rush to move all workloads into the public cloud. The migration process will take time and may not be a complete migration, with a common end state likely involving a mix of both on- and off-premises workloads. Contrary to some expectations, public cloud infrastructure services are not a single, be-all and end-all solution, but part of a larger set of technologies that companies are leveraging as they navigate their IT transformation journey. The reality of companies today is that they are inherently multi-cloud, often choosing three or more public cloud service providers. Companies are also still open to deciding their cloud consumption strategy, balanced between infrastructure up and cloud down strategies. The actual situation is more complex than that and the vendors that work in the cloud space, both on- premises IT vendors and cloud service providers, need to factor those preferences into their offerings if they are to be successful in today’s marketplace. All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at 508.482.0188. We would rather our cloud service provider(s) offered complementary on- premises technology, 52% We would rather our on-premises IT vendor(s) offered complementary cloud- based technology, 48% Which of the following statements is more reflective of your organization’s preferred cloud service consumption strategy? (Percent of respondents, N=280) www.esg-global.com contact@esg-global.com P. 508.482.0188 Enterprise Strategy Group is an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market intelligence and actionable insight to the global IT community. © 2017 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.