The future of data management: Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud

In a post-pandemic world, digital transformation has become a buzzword, as small, mid-sized, and large enterprises ramp up their digital applications and move operations to the cloud. According to a Gartner report, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to reach nearly US$600 billion in 2023, up from US$490.3 billion in 2022.

In fact, data from Statista estimates that as of 2022, over 60% of all corporate data was already stored in the cloud. This number continues to grow as organisations increasingly shift their resources into cloud environments. The reason for it is not just cost optimisation, but also gains in efficiency, productivity, and scalability. As companies speed up their cloud migration plans, they are looking both at hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies to take advantage of the best technology resources.

But let’s first understand how hybrid and multi-cloud technology works. In a cloud-computing environment, a hybrid cloud combines on-premises, private, public, and third-party cloud services. These configurations are managed using software-networking technologies that combine various networks in a single application.

What we need to keep in mind is that multi-cloud uses more than one cloud vendor, which could be considered as a weakness. For example, interconnecting Google Cloud with Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp would be a multi-cloud setup.

Why are enterprises adopting hybrid and multi-cloud? 

Data governance, security, and flexibility with no vendor lock in are the vital reasons for the fast adoption rate. Customers are looking for flexibility and the best of the breed when it comes to cloud services. They do not want to restrict themselves to a particular cloud vendor. They prefer selecting a hybrid and multi-cloud strategy with the flexibility to transfer applications between different vendors to benefit from the best-performing or most cost-effective services.

This provides companies the choice to use a diverse set of cloud options better suited to solve specific business needs and computing problems. Also, storing information across two or more cloud platforms ensures that the data is protected better than on a single cloud platform. Having just one cloud platform increases the risk of downtime due to data outages or leakage.

Today, tech companies aim to maximise the value offered by their wealth of data. That’s why they look out for attributes in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud that support analytical tools, functions, and interfaces for business intelligence, automation, and efficiency.

A report by Markets and Markets predicts that the hybrid cloud sector will grow to US$97.6 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% during the forecast period, up from US$44.6 billion in 2018. Additionally, market research firm The Insight Partners projects that the multi-cloud market will reach US$33.48 billion by 2028, compared to US$8 billion in 2022. The adoption of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud has been robust across various industries, including banking, financial services and insurance, healthcare, IT, the public sector, and retail.

Protecting data in hybrid and multi-cloud environments

Data protection has turned into the core challenge of modern enterprise security, and hybrid and multi-cloud setups are no exception. In fact, data security becomes even more complex in these architectures.

Data visibility and project management can also pose greater difficulties. For instance, managing a single workload and its data in a single-cloud setup may be straightforward, but handling multiple workloads in multi-cloud environments is not easy. Therefore, with increased complexity, it is crucial to ensure that proper data compliance and governance guardrails are in place for each setup. Cloud providers typically offer proprietary tools to assist in managing and protecting data on their platforms. However, businesses need to explore solutions that can automate the workflow of data storage in their respective environments to ensure data integrity and prevent leakage.

The present and future of data management lie in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The exponential growth of these setups is driven by their ability to scale, rapid application deployment, cost containment, and maintaining data governance standards. According to a report by market research firm Vanson Bourne and VMware, 64% of surveyed companies already utilised multi-cloud platforms in 2022, and this number is projected to reach 72% in the next five years. It is a significant trend, and businesses must equip themselves with data management tools that leverage artificial intelligence and automation. These tools enable data analytics, enhance security, provide new insights, and effectively navigate complexity, thereby propelling organisations to the next level.