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Public cloud not meeting expectations, says new research

New research from Cohesity has shown that a major disconnect between what IT managers hoped the public cloud would deliver for their organisations and what has actually transpired.

More than nine in 10 respondents across the UK believed when they started their journey to the cloud, it would simplify operations, increase agility, reduce costs and provide greater insight into their data. 

However, of those that felt the promise of public cloud hadn’t been realised, 95% believe it is because their data is greatly fragmented in and across public clouds and could become nearly impossible to manage long term.

“While providing many needed benefits, the public cloud also greatly proliferates mass data fragmentation,” said Raj Rajamani, vice president of products, Cohesity.

“We believe this is a key reason why 38% of respondents say their IT teams are spending between 30-70% of their time managing data and apps in public cloud environments today.”

Mass data fragmentation refers to the growing proliferation of data spread across a myriad of different locations, infrastructure silos, and management systems that prevents organisations from fully utilising its value – including but not exclusive to public cloud environments.

There are several factors contributing to mass data fragmentation in the public cloud. First, many organisations have deployed multiple point products to manage fragmented data silos, but that can add significant management complexities.

The survey, commissioned by Cohesity for Vanson Bourne, found that nearly half (42%) are using three to four point products to manage their data – specifically backups, archives, files, test/dev copies – across public clouds today, while nearly a fifth (19%) are using as many as five to six separate solutions.

Respondents expressed concerns about using multiple products to move data between on-premises and public cloud environments, if those products don’t integrate. 59% are concerned about security, 49% worry about costs and 44% are concerned about compliance.

Additionally, data copies can increase fragmentation challenges. A third of respondents (33%) have four or more copies of the same data in public cloud environments, which can not only increase storage costs but create data compliance challenges.

“The public cloud can empower organisations to accelerate their digital transformation journey, but first organisations must solve mass data fragmentation challenges to reap the benefits,” continued Rajamani.

“Businesses suffering from mass data fragmentation are finding data to be a burden, not a business driver.”

Disconnect between senior management and IT

IT leaders are also struggling to comply with mandates from senior business leaders within their organisation. 

Almost nine in ten (87%) respondents say that their IT teams have been given a mandate to move to the public cloud by senior management.

However, nearly half of those respondents (42%) say they are struggling to come up with a strategy that effectively uses the public cloud to the complete benefit of the organisation.

“Nearly 80% of respondents stated their executive team believes it is the public cloud service provider’s responsibility to protect any data stored in public cloud environments, which is fundamentally incorrect,” said Rajamani. 

“This shows executives are confusing the availability of data with its recoverability. It’s the organisation’s responsibility to protect its data.” 

Eliminating fragmentation unlocks opportunities to realise the promise of the cloud

Despite these challenges, more than nine in ten (91%) believe that the public cloud service providers used by their organisation offer a valuable service.

The vast majority (97%) expect that their organisation’s public cloud-based storage will increase by 94% on average between 2018 and the end of 2019.

Nearly nine in ten (88%) believe the promise of the public cloud can be better realised if solutions are in place that can help them solve mass data fragmentation challenges across their multi-cloud environments.

Respondents believe there are numerous benefits that can be achieved by tackling data fragmentation in public cloud environments, including: generating better insights through analytics/artificial intelligence (46%), improving the customer experience (46%), and maintaining or increasing brand reputation and trust by reducing risks of compliance breaches (43%).

“It’s time to close the expectation gap between the promise of the public cloud and what it can actually deliver to organisations around the globe,” said Rajamani. 

“Public cloud environments provide exceptional agility, scalability and opportunities to accelerate testing and development, but it is absolutely critical that organisations tackle mass data fragmentation if they want the expected benefits of cloud to come to life.” 

Image Credit: George Hodan

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