As cloud complexity grows, can AI light the path ahead?

With the need for agility and extended reach, businesses today can’t transform operations without utilising cloud computing in some form.

Pandemic disruptions, now in the rear-view mirror, have proven the scalability, flexibility, and effectiveness of the cloud. Few businesses weathered those challenging times without relying on the cloud for business continuity during the unprecedented disruption.

However, the same cloud platforms are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage. For example, the shift towards multi-cloud set-ups complicates data movement across platforms and service continuity. Poorly managed data complexity leads to issues such as declining efficiency, increased cyber risks, and escalating costs. 

Equally important, cloud adoption—once considered a cost-saving measure due to reduced capital expenditure—is now under executive scrutiny. Amid a sluggish economy, these deployments must demonstrate their value quickly.

Cloud complexity a business challenge

In a recent NetApp Cloud Complexity Report, 98% of senior IT leaders in APAC reported being affected by rising cloud complexity. Of these, 28% expressed concerns about compliance in a shifting data regulatory landscape.

Governments in the region are introducing more data privacy and management regulations in response to the rising costs of cyber breaches and citizens’ data privacy expectations. In 2022 alone, countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka have adopted or are implementing comprehensive privacy laws for the first time.

However, the study found that only 20% of APAC organisations are fully confident in maintaining compliance with rapidly changing data regulations in a cloud environment. Japan (24%) and Singapore (23%) were the countries where compliance concerns were most pronounced.

Cloud strategy an indispensable part of sustainability efforts

Despite the growing complexity, organisations are locked into the cloud because it has become an essential foundation for their long-term growth.

Sustainability is one big factor. Cloud-based data management technology, for example, allows organisations to reduce their carbon footprint through efficient data storage management and partnerships with green global hyperscalers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

Remarkably, 80% of respondents in the NetApp study consider a cloud strategy important for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

AI to play a central role in mitigating cloud complexity

With data compliance and sustainability raised as key concerns, organisations are increasing their investment in AI to address these challenges.

True enough, 56% of technology executives in APAC predict that over half of their cloud deployments will be supported by AI-driven applications by 2030, up from 31% today.

With AI, businesses can enhance data security and risk management while boosting efficiency and customer experience. Some of the ways that AI can improve cloud management include:

  • Data security: AI-enabled threat detection and response can help ensure that cloud data is protected against cyberattacks in real time.
  • Data classification: AI can help classify data based on its sensitivity, criticality, and relevance. This can help organisations prioritise data protection measures and simplify data management.
  • Data migration: AI can automate data migration between cloud platforms, reducing human error and minimising downtime.
  • Data integration: AI can be used to integrate data from multiple sources into a common format.
  • Data analysis: AI can automate large dataset analysis, identify patterns, and make predictions, helping organisations make informed decisions

AI also enhances operational outcomes and addresses the skills gap by automating routine tasks, offering intelligent insights, and suggesting architecture, security, performance, and cost options. An example is a unified control plane that manages and protects data across disparate environments enterprise-wide, without requiring different frameworks or expertise.

The focus on AI highlights the urgent need for an evolved approach to cloud management. By using streamlined management tools, businesses can cut through complexity, enabling them to continue leveraging the cloud’s benefits for quick innovation and agility. In summary, AI allows us to engage machines in managing machines.

Enterprises that successfully do so will continue to reap the benefits of the cloud, overcoming the challenges that cloud complexity has introduced in recent years.