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HashiCorp State of Cloud Strategy Survey: Welcome to the Multi-Cloud Era

Our inaugural cloud strategy survey reveals that multi-cloud is now the new normal, driven by digital transformation, with skill shortages, security, and COVID having complex impacts.

Earlier this year, HashiCorp reached out to the technology practitioners and decision makers in our contact database, inviting them to take our inaugural State of Cloud Strategy Survey. We received 3,205 responses from folks at companies of all sizes, in a wide variety of industries, from around the world. This blog post highlights the implications of five key results from the survey, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The survey reveals dozens of impactful insights on everything from multi-cloud adoption trends to the key technologies associated with cloud success.

For the full story, take a look at the summary graphs and commentary on the survey site.

»76% Are Already Using Multi-Cloud

Of the more than 3,000 global respondents to HashiCorp’s first State of Cloud Strategy Survey, 76% already work in multi-cloud environments. This overwhelming majority of respondents reported using more than one public or private cloud, making multi-cloud no longer some vague or aspirational goal, but rather their everyday reality. And multi-cloud adoption looks to keep growing from there — 86% of respondents expect to be using multi-cloud within two years.

Multi-Cloud Adoption Pie Chart

Not surprisingly, multi-cloud adoption skews heavily toward larger enterprises (90% of organizations with more than 5,000 employees are already multi-cloud), but 60% of small businesses (<100 employees) are already multi-cloud, and 81% expect to be multi-cloud within two years.

»For 34%, Digital Transformation Is a Driver of Multi-Cloud

So what’s driving all these organizations to adopt a multi-cloud strategy? More than a third of respondents (34%) named digital transformation initiatives as one of their top-three multi-cloud business and technology drivers, topping conventional-wisdom factors such as avoiding single cloud vendor lock-in (30%), cost reductions (28%), and the ability to scale (25%). And digital transformation was especially important among large enterprises, 50% of whom named it a driver. This was also true in the financial services industry, where it was a top multi-cloud driver for 41% of respondents.

What are the business and technology factors driving your multi-cloud adoption?

»Multi-Cloud Skills Shortages Challenge 57%

Of course, just because organizations are moving to multi-cloud doesn’t mean it’s easy. More than half (57%) of respondents said a shortage of the proper skills was a top-three challenge, hindering their organization’s ability to operationalize multi-cloud. That was almost twice the percentage for the next most popular choices: inconsistent workflows across cloud environments (33%) and teams working in silos with little collaboration (29%). Similarly, when asked about inhibitors to their cloud programs, respondents listed a lack of in-house skills or expertise to manage different cloud environments as the third most often-named issue (41%), trailing only cost (51%) and security (47%) concerns.

Multi-cloud challenges bar chart

»47% Cite Security as a Key Cloud Inhibitor

In addition to almost half (47%) of respondents citing security as a top-three cloud inhibitor, security issues also hindered organizations’ ability to operationalize multi-cloud. Difficulties managing security and governance were cited by 25% of respondents, while 20% of respondents named compliance and risk management. Data and privacy protection (named by 40% of respondents) was the most widespread security issue, followed by data theft (33%), regulatory compliance (31%), and software vulnerabilities (28%).

Top security concerns bar chart

Notably, however, security isn’t just a cloud barrier, it’s also a cloud adoption driver — 16% of respondents put it in their top three factors pushing cloud forward in their organization.

»46% Don’t Think COVID Is Driving Their Cloud Move

Given COVID-19’s extraordinary effects on the world economy, it’s tempting to ascribe the growth of cloud and multi-cloud solely to pandemic-spurred lockdowns and increased online usage. But that’s only part of the story. Almost half of our survey respondents (46%) said that the pandemic had not affected their shift to cloud or multi-cloud adoption, and another 19% said it had only a low impact, accelerating the shift by just 6-12 months.

These results may seem counterintuitive, but they show that cloud adoption efforts were important and widely underway before the pandemic — and are likely to continue long after. On the other hand, only 32% of large enterprises said COVID-19 had no impact on their digital transformation timelines — the rest saw it push things forward. And, it was also notable that COVID-19 increased the use of open source software for 39% of respondents.

Covid's cloud impact chart

More informative, perhaps, are the technology areas in which organizations accelerated their digital transformation initiatives in response to the pandemic. Almost half (49%) mentioned infrastructure as code, 41% said container orchestration, 33% said compliance and governance, 33% noted network infrastructure automation, and 32% said self-service infrastructure.

»More Survey Analysis to Come

This post is the first of several we’ll be publishing to highlight key takeaways from the 2021 HashiCorp State of Cloud Strategy Survey. In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking deep dives into everything from the challenges facing specific components of cloud infrastructure to breaking down the survey results by industry and geography. In the meantime, visit the HashiCorp State of Cloud Strategy Survey site for highlights and commentary.

We also recently posted our Deploy Federated Multi-Cloud Kubernetes Clusters guide on HashiCorp Learn. Take a look.

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