Research from F5 Networks revealed earlier this year that the EMEA region leads the way for multi-cloud adoption, although security and skill gap challenges remain.
According to the sixth annual State of Application Services (SOAS) report, 88% of surveyed EMEA organisations were leveraging multi-cloud environments, compared to 87% in the Americas and 86% in the APCJ region.
A total of 27% of EMEA respondents also claimed they will have more than half of their applications in the cloud by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, 54% agreed that cloud in all its forms is the top strategic trend for the next two to five years
The SOAS report goes on to note that EMEA organisations were more likely than any other region to choose cloud platforms that support applications on a case-by-case basis, with 43% opting for the increasingly popular approach (compared to 42% worldwide). This chimes with the fact that 70% stated that it is ‘very important’ to be able to deploy and enforce the same security policies on-premises and in the cloud. In the Americas, 69% of respondents concurred, with APCJ slightly behind on 65%.
We asked experts in the field why they think multi-cloud adoption is becoming so successful across the region:
Richard Czech, Director EMEA Sales at Wasabi: “There are many factors driving multi-cloud adoption across the EMEA region. One of the main reasons is customers are growing concerned over the dangers of vendor lock-in. The big three (Amazon, Microsoft and Google) all have their own proprietary APIs and are not interoperable. This means customers need to stay with their current provider or completely rewrite their applications if they want to switch.
“IT managers are increasingly valuing flexibility in their cloud strategy, so avoiding vendor lock-in by implementing a multi-cloud solution is an attractive proposition.
“The astonishing rate at which data is growing is forcing a shift towards multi-cloud. The amount of data generated is doubling every two years according to IDC and with network costs plunging, more data than ever is being transferred over the Internet. We can expect this trend to continue with the advent of 5G resulting in billions more devices having Internet connectivity. The automobile industry provides a good example of how data usage has transformed – every major European automaker is now launching semi-autonomous vehicles covered in cameras and sensors which generate terabytes of data. With hundreds of zettabytes of data being stored and accessed on a daily basis, companies are increasingly turning to multiple cloud providers to meet their specific needs.
“No provider can be the best at everything, no matter how big they are or how much money they have behind them. We can look at how the hardware sector developed in the mid 1980s for a comparison. IBM operated as a quasi-monopoly, but over time, specialised firms began to outcompete IBM when it came to certain offerings. EMC for example started to produce disk storage devices at a fraction of the price because they were solely focused on solving one problem and delivering an effective, affordable product. This is what we’re now seeing happening in the cloud sector. More customers than ever before are demanding affordability and flexibility at scale and the EMEA cloud storage ecosystem now has the capacity to deliver it to them.”
Brett Ley, Senior EMEA Cloud Director, F5 Networks: “New research from F5 Networks revealed earlier this year that the EMEA region leads the way for multi-cloud adoption. According to the sixth annual State of Application Services (SOAS) report, 88% of surveyed EMEA organisations are now leveraging multi-cloud environments, compared to 87% in the Americas and 86% in the APCJ region.
“A total of 27% of EMEA respondents also claimed they will have more than half of their applications in the cloud by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, 54% agree that cloud in all its forms is the top strategic trend for the next two to five years.
“Furthermore, the SOAS report notes that EMEA organisations are now more likely than any other region to choose cloud platforms that support applications on a case-by-case basis.
“The main reason for this development is that inflexible, one-size-fits-all solutions do not work as well these days, so it is encouraging to see this trend becoming more widespread in EMEA.
“Every application is unique and serves a specific function, such as finance, sales, or production. Each will have end-users that scale from less than a hundred to into the millions. On top of that, every app has a different risk exposure that can span from a breach being simply embarrassing to millions of dollars’ worth of damage.
“Getting it right on the security front is certainly an enduring challenge. As a case in point, SOAS respondents reported lower confidence levels in their ability to withstand an application-layer attack in the public cloud (only 15% were ‘very confident’ they could do so), versus in an on-premises data centre (30%) or via colocation deployments (20%). At the same time, there is a widening industry skill gap: as many as 66% of EMEA organisations believe they lack necessary security talent going forward.
“That said, we expect to see multi-cloud adoption continue to gain momentum in EMEA. Across the world there is now a growing demand for security, performance, and visibility – all without slowing down app development. We call this a ‘secure cloud architecture’. Essentially, it entails combining the robustness, depth of security and visibility of the modern data centre with the agility and service-based model of the public cloud. Its power comes from being built on a foundation of advanced app services that enable the automatable security, performance and visibility of the entire data path to the application. Importantly, this means it is now possible to benefit from advanced application delivery services that are deployed in the same way as the rest of the application stack, managed via source control and integrated into CI/CD pipelines. The result is increased speed, throughput and repeatability, as well as a decreased risk profile with fewer defects.”
Rob Lith, Chief Commercial Officer, Telviva: “For EMEA-based businesses that have been leveraging the benefits of cloud-based workflows, systems and storage, multi-cloud adoption is enhancing existing benefits in critical ways. Increasingly, multi-cloud adoption speaks to the flexibility and tremendous ease of access to digital services that is driving business growth and levelling previously unequal playing fields in the EMEA region. Broadly speaking, by gaining access to multiple cloud providers, businesses across sectors can diversify and enhance their service offerings in important ways.
“Arguably, the first major element driving multi-cloud adoption is access to specialisation, i.e. the best in class in a particular field (such as AI; data analysis, transcription, etc.). Today, the major cloud computing service providers and platforms each have clear-cut strengths and weaknesses – and instead of being limited to one cloud provider (and its relevant capabilities), EMEA businesses are now able to access (simultaneously) the different microservices provided by each platform. This type of access is enabled by the open API standard which allows businesses to integrate microservices from different providers and ultimately get the best of all [cloud] worlds. Thus, by harnessing the benefits of API integration, savvy businesses can mix and match cloud capabilities or services according to their own unique needs (and hence deliver the best user and customer experience possible).
“For example, a business might depend heavily on advanced natural language processing capabilities, which is a particularly strong feature within the Amazon (Polly) offering. On the other hand, the same business might need to conduct sentiment analysis – and would therefore benefit from tapping into IBM’s Watson. By accessing the best in class, EMEA businesses can place themselves in the most favourable position for future growth and innovation without tying themselves into prohibitively expensive contracts and/or fixed costs.
“Beyond the access to sophisticated microservices, multi-cloud adoption also enables EMEA businesses to use the cloud providers that best suit their data residency and data management requirements. In South Africa, for example, businesses will soon have to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (in addition to GDPR) and will benefit from accessing new, locally based data centres and cloud services. In addition, by leveraging locally based cloud services, South African businesses can reap the benefits of reduced latency for real-time workflows, data analysis and communications.
“With data privacy laws likely to become more rigorous in all regions, multi-cloud adoption will assist businesses to remain compliant – while still driving access to the specialised microservices that fuel business innovation and agility.”