Cloud infrastructure company Nutanix released its second annual Enterprise Cloud Index, finding that nearly 90% of surveyed enterprises were opting for hybrid cloud environments over specifically private or public ones.

Vanson Bourne was commissioned by Nutanix to conduct the study and spoke to 2,650 IT decision makers in 24 countries around the world. The index polls IT leaders to pick their brains about what environments they use now, what they plan to use in the future, their current cloud priorities, as well as any challenges and initiatives related to cloud services.

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In a bit of a change compared to last year, almost 75% of respondents said they were moving many of their applications off of public cloud systems and back on-premises, with more than 20% moving at least five of their applications this year.

This trend reflected a larger, industrywide move toward more hybrid cloud systems that were flexible enough to adapt to current infrastructures while providing room for potential needs in the future.

According to the survey, 95% of respondents said it was essential or desirable for applications to move between different cloud environments. Another 60% of survey respondents said security was the main driver behind the move toward hybrid cloud systems.

“As organizations continue to grapple with complex digital transformation initiatives, flexibility and security are critical components to enable seamless and reliable cloud adoption,” said Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix, in a statement.

“The enterprise has progressed in its understanding and adoption of hybrid cloud, but there is still work to do when it comes to reaping all of its benefits. In the next few years, we’ll see businesses rethinking how to best utilize hybrid cloud, including hiring for hybrid computing skills and reskilling IT teams to keep up with emerging technologies,” she added.

More than 80% of respondents told the survey that hybrid cloud environments were the ideal model for IT operations, especially in the Americas.

Three out of every five IT managers surveyed said flexibility and mobility are some of the main features they look for in a cloud system, and the report said, “cherry-picking infrastructure in this way to match the right resources to each workload as needs change results in a growing mixture of on- and off-prem cloud resources, like the hybrid cloud.”

Most enterprises that spoke to Vanson Bourne said their IT departments had moved far beyond binary cloud-or-no-cloud decisions and were more interested in learning which applications to use with specific cloud systems.

This application-specific criteria is the engine behind the boom in demand for hybrid cloud environments. More than 60% said the primary benefit of hybrid systems was flexibility in matching clouds to applications and specific use cases. But nearly 70% of survey respondents said that while their companies would benefit from hybrid cloud environments, their current IT vendors were unable to “provide the right solutions for building and managing a hybrid environment.”

The survey also highlighted the security concerns and potential benefits of hybrid cloud environments, with 60% saying they believed the state of intercloud security would have the biggest influence on their cloud deployment plans going forward. Data security and compliance were cited as the top variables used to determine where an enterprise’s workload is run.

Nearly 30% of those who responded to the survey said hybrid models were the most secure of any on the market, even over more traditional options like fully private cloud/on-premise models or traditional private data centers.

Surprisingly, almost 24% of respondents said they currently don’t use any cloud technology at all but the study says it expects that figure to fall to as low as 3% within two years. The study shows an overall decrease in the adoption of hybrid or multicloud systems while the use of traditional data centers grew this year by 12.5%.

In 2019 enterprises were turning back to traditional data centers for things like desktop and application virtualization, traditional run-the-business applications such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, data analytics and business intelligence, databases, development, data backup and recovery. But 71% of respondents said their enterprise planned to switch to cloud platforms within the next three years.

IT technician and engineer in a data center.
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