For the third consecutive year, we commissioned our Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) research to learn about the state of global enterprise cloud deployments and adoption plans.
By Rowen Grierson, Regional Sales Director, Nutanix Sub-Saharan Africa
Once again, the results show that enterprises plan to aggressively shift investment to hybrid cloud architectures during the next five years. But this is not just a global movement, and South African organisations are aligned in their thinking.
In the more recent report, UK researcher Vanson Bourne asked 3,400 IT decision-makers worldwide about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on current and future IT infrastructure decisions and how IT strategy and priorities might be changing because of it. The numbers may surprise many, but the rationale is supported by a market where every penny counts. Challenges in managing multiple cloud investments are clear, and security is a top priority.
But what did South Africans say, and what are the key factors when traversing a cloud investment swaying local IT leaders towards a hybrid cloud approach? According to the report, key findings included:
- Hybrid cloud is the ideal IT operating model for most respondents in South Africa, and elsewhere as the vast majority of IT respondents in South Africa (88%) and globally (87%) reported that hybrid cloud is the ideal infrastructure model for their organisation.
- South Africa is ahead in decommissioning/evolving legacy datacentres as only 14% of respondents reported exclusively running non-cloud-enabled datacentres. Compared to the global average of 18%. Penetration in South Africa is expected to drop to just 3% within the next five years, while the use of hybrid cloud is expected to increase by 31% over that same time.
- IT shops in South Africa favour private cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure, with respondents citing they run more applications in private clouds (38%) than public (29%). Compared to their global counterparts who report a slight preference for public clouds. This may explain why South Africa is also ahead in HCI deployments: 57% said that they have either fully deployed or are in the process of deploying HCI. Another 33% plan to do so in the next 12 to 24 months.
- Strong customer focus drives infrastructure changes in South Africa as (62%) cited the ability to better support their customers as the reason to move to cloud-enabled infrastructure, compared to an average of 46% of global respondents. Interestingly, while cost savings were less significant globally, more respondents in South Africa selected it as a factor (51%) than any other country polled (the second highest being the UK at 45%).
- The global pandemic has raised IT’s profile and accelerated cloud adoption, with four fifths (82%) of local respondents saying that COVID-19 has caused IT to be viewed more strategically in their organisations. As a result, 60% reported an increase in hybrid cloud investment compared to 46% globally.
What we can take away from the numbers is that the market, in general, is expressing a desire to aggressively shift investment to hybrid cloud architectures during the next five years. This is echoed by the fact that for the third year in a row, the hybrid cloud was cited as the ideal IT operating model by most respondents in South Africa (88%) and others worldwide (87%).
What the IT model of the future looks like is still mainly up to debate. Still, clear strides are being taken by local business to start decommissioning traditional, non-cloud-enabled datacentres favouring private and public clouds, which they plan to integrate into a managed hybrid environment—evidenced in the move to hyperconverged infrastructure.
But the management tools used across disparate dissimilar cloud platforms are still in their infancy, and cross-platform cloud talent is still a rare commodity. Another key finding in the report cited that South Africans felt that they lacked the IT skills necessary to manage hybrid cloud environments (46%) and their teams (32%) lacked expertise in cloud-native and container technologies, such as Kubernetes.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have forced the hand of IT in South Africa to speed up cloud computing deployments, these teams do believe there will be a slight correction when life returns to a semblance of normal. However, the bottom line is that the uptick in cloud usage bodes well and will form a crucial part of both hybrid cloud and digital transformation acceleration over the coming years.