3 Best Practices for Keeping Pace with Cloud Trends

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Cloud usage is growing and evolving. How can organizations keep pace with the strategic, operational, and financial implications of cloud trends and technologies? Brian Adler, senior director of cloud market strategy at Flexera, shares three best practices based on the latest research findings to help with cloud migration and management. 

Findings from the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud ReportOpens a new window illustrate respondents’ current and future cloud strategies, including cloud infrastructure adoption, spend allocation, cost management, and more. This was a survey conducted in 2021 of key cloud decision-makers. Notably, cloud usage is higher than initially planned this year, as 66% of respondents reported. The move to the cloud is set to continue, with more than 56% of all respondent workloads and data expected to be in a public cloud within 12 months. The usage of the cloud itself is evolving. A standout: Microsoft Azure usage met or exceeded that of Amazon Web Service (AWS) in some cases, such as the number of enterprises (public or private sector organizations with 1,000 or more employees) using it.

As organizations move forward with their cloud migrations or refine existing cloud strategies, they can tap into these findings to take action on best practices and move beyond some common growing pains.

1. Eliminate Operational Complexities

With growing cloud usage comes the need to prioritize eliminating its complexities. Lack of centralized oversight, sprawl and insufficient staff training can put undue stress on cloud initiatives. 

Today 89% of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy, and 80% have a hybrid cloud strategy. Using multiple clouds to take advantage of various cloud services can lead to data silos. Many organizations silo applications within a given public or private cloud, with 45% siloing apps on different clouds and 44% using disaster recovery (DR)/failover between clouds. While selecting multi-cloud services may be intentional, it may also create operational complexities and inefficiencies. 

A central cloud team or a cloud center of excellence (CCOE) can help provide centralized controls for cloud initiatives, selecting the best controls and tools to help speed cloud adoption and reduce related risks and costs. Seventy-four percent of enterprises have a central cloud team or CCOE. Many enterprises (57%) are also looking to managed service providers (MSPs) to help strengthen their cloud strategy. 

As they work to expand their cloud initiatives, relying on the right expertise is particularly important for organizations with relatively light cloud usage. Training is essential for technologies, such as containers, that have moved into the mainstream. While the containerization trend is clear (with 47% of organizations using AWS ECS/EKS for containers, 43% using Docker, and 42% using Kubernetes), the main challenge of using containers is the lack of internal staff with expertise (as cited by 42%).

Central Cloud Adoption Metrics

2. Match Services with Business Needs 

One of the most important ways to ensure efficient cloud planning is to match cloud services with business requirements intentionally. What business problem is your organization trying to solve? How does the cloud technology you’re migrating to or already relying on help achieve that goal? 

Know more than just the speeds and feeds of a cloud service or orchestration tool. Move beyond the tech metrics to know the results it can deliver. This can help ensure that you rely on the best-suited clouds and services to execute your strategic goals.

A trend highlighted by the present research is the growing reliance on the native tooling offered by cloud providers as companies shift away from third-party tools for tasks such as orchestration and container management. Reliance on third-party tools (including Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Salt/SaltStack, and Terraform) dropped over the past year, while cloud configuration tools like Microsoft Azure Resource Manager templates and AWS CloudFormation templates were relied on more heavily. Many tooling options are available from the cloud providers themselves and third-party providers, emphasizing the need to carefully evaluate options that best meet business needs. 

Configuration Tools Spread

3. Monitor and Manage Cloud Costs

Optimizing the existing use of the cloud (cloud cost savings), perpetually a top challenge for organizations, is again the ultimate goal. The need is clear, as an estimated 32% of cloud spending is wasted, and organizations are running over their cloud budgets by an average of 13%. 

Currently, 37% of enterprises spend more than $12 million per year on public clouds. Cloud spend by small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs, with fewer than 1,000 employees) is also growing rapidly. 53% of SMBs (up from 38% just a year ago) now spend more than $1.2 million annually on the cloud. Meanwhile, cloud spend is expected to grow by 29% next year.

These growing expenses highlight the need for comprehensive cloud financial management, as provided by FinOps teams. FinOps teams can help organizations analyze and reduce their cloud costs through automated and manual policies. These include rightsizing instances, identifying underutilized discounts available from cloud providers, shutting down workloads after hours, and strengthening software license compliance initiatives.

Policies to Optimize Cloud Costs

As your organization moves forward with its cloud vendor and technology selection, cost forecasting, and investment strategies, examine movements within the field to help ease and support upcoming stages of your cloud journey. The time to invest in the right strategy, processes and tools is now to ensure there are no dark clouds.

Which cloud trend are you most prepared to ride? Share with us on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!

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