More companies are shifting their focus to public cloud, and adopting hybrid cloud strategies, according to the 2017 RightScale State of the Cloud Report. Released Wednesday, the annual report also shows a drop in private cloud adoption.

RightScale surveyed 1,002 technology professionals in multiple industries to gain insight into how their organizations are approaching the cloud. And even as adoption of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies continues to climb, the number of challenges associated with the space is dropping.

“Companies report using 8 different clouds on average; optimizing cloud costs is the top cloud initiative; cloud challenges, including security concerns, continue to abate; and Docker continues its phenomenal growth. We also saw AWS adoption remain flat, while #2 Azure continued to gain ground on leader AWS,” Michael Crandell, CEO of RightScale, said in a press release.

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According to the report, 85% of respondents said their organization has a multi-cloud strategy, rising three percentage points from 82% in 2016. Private cloud adoption, however, fell down to 72% this year from 77% as “focus shifts to public cloud,” the report said.

The number of clouds used by respondents varied depending on whether they focused on public or private clouds. Public cloud users run apps in 1.8 public clouds on average, while experimenting with 1.8 more. Private cloud users run 2.3 private clouds and experiment with 2.1 private clouds.

Respondents were running 41% of their workloads in public cloud, relative to 38% of workloads in the private cloud. However, when only accounting for enterprise workloads, 32% of workloads occurred in the public cloud and 43% in private.

As noted, challenges relative to cloud adoption have fallen, even though multi-cloud strategies have gained popularity. The no. 1 challenge was a three-way tie among expertise, security, and spend. Security concerns, once a huge barrier to cloud adoption overall, dropped from 29% last year to 25% in 2017’s report.

The report also noted that central enterprise IT teams are taking a stronger role in cloud deployments, and DevOps adoption continued to rise. At 35%, Docker was the most popular DevOps tools among respondents, the report said.

Enterprise cloud infrastructure has always been a three horse race among AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Azure increased its penetration in the market, the report said, jumping from 20% to 34% of respondents saying they had adopted the platform. AWS remained constant with 57% of respondents claiming adoption, the release said. Google kept its third place position with 15%, up from 10% the previous year.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Private cloud adoption is waning, while public and hybrid approaches are growing, according to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report.
  2. Despite growth in cloud adoption, the challenges are lessening with expertise, security, and spend all listed as top concerns.
  3. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform grew in adoption rates while AWS remained flat.