Survey finds cloud sprawl is pervasive. For analytics, more than half of the businesses surveyed said they utilize more than four platforms.
The proliferation of cloud computing over the past decade has led to many businesses overloading on an unnecessary amount of cloud platforms, which are often not compatible with each other and may do the same job. Such multi-cloud environments have consequences.
According to analytics platform provider SAS in its Multi-Cloud Analytics Report, infrastructure sprawl is one of the reasons why there is such a large skill gap in the cloud industry, as staff requirements now include expertise of a wide range of platforms, while also ensuring that the data from these platforms flows correctly.
In its report, it found that 44 percent of businesses employ more than one public cloud platform. On the private side, it is even higher, with 62 percent of businesses using three or more private cloud platforms. While most see multi-cloud as a positive, there are worries that businesses are adding too many platforms, some of which are under utilized and increasing complexity.
For analytics, more than half of the businesses surveyed said they utilize more than four platforms, while only eight percent operate two or less. While there may be clear intentions for each platform, businesses run the risk of being unable to deliver accurate insights to clients and customers, due to staff being unaware what platform to use at a certain time.
“Operating a multi-cloud environment can bring a number of advantages to organizations, including access to new or unique features or applications, reduced concentration of risk, legislative compliance and cloud price competition,” said Paul Jones, head of technology at SAS UK & Ireland. “But uncontrolled cloud growth has also brought serious downsides. Data and compute sprawl, complexity, and opaque costs are just some of the issues.”
Even though many businesses are seeing their cloud costs increase, there is a fear of relying on a single provider. In the report, nearly three quarters of all businesses were concerned about it, which is to be expected as many figures of authority in the US and UK have warned against creating a single point of failure. There is also still a stigma about moving critical load and sensitive data onto public cloud platforms, despite improvements to security over the past decade.
Some of the main issues businesses run into with multi-cloud operations is that there are multiple answers to the same question depending on the cloud the data is stored in, there is a high cost to getting answers, and that it takes a long time to get answers.
What makes multi-cloud operations even more difficult is the lack of automation. More than two thirds of businesses have a partially manual data management setup, which means that staff are having to move data across platforms or manually export data to analytics services. This reduces the efficiency and productivity of data teams.
In concluding, SAS provided five steps to accelerate value from analytics, which are aimed at reducing the amount of cloud and analytics platforms businesses use. The first is choosing a cloud agnostic provider which can offer on-premise support, then choosing an analytics platform that can work multi-cloud, then consolidate the analytics platform to one which has an open-source multi-language environment enabled, and finally to utilize low / no-code to enable more staff to utilize these analytics tools.