With the recent significant investments made by hyper-scale cloud providers in South Africa, it is becoming increasingly apparent that cloud adoption is maturing in the local market, as enterprises realise that different aspects of their business require different platforms.

Enterprise cloud adoption is fast becoming a reality for most global companies, with Forrester Research revealing earlier this year that 62% of public cloud adopters are using two or more unique cloud environments/platforms and 74% of enterprises describe their strategy as hybrid/multi-cloud today.

However, a combination of on-premise, private, public and hybrid cloud environments often results in a fragmented approach that hinders visibility and creates complexity around management of an organisation’s overall infrastructure.

This, in turn, can negatively impact enterprises, as they are unable to leverage the full benefit that the multi-cloud environment is expected to deliver, while also impacting their expenditure as they require multi-disciplined resources that are costly and scarce.

Sonja Weber, Lead Delivery Solution Manager at T-Systems South Africa, points out that many organisations run into trouble when they adopt public/hybrid cloud environment, as they have infrastructure hosted across three different platforms and no single view of the health or investment in these platforms.

“You have disparate systems and disparate skills, and no way of knowing if the investment that you made is really performing the way it should be, or realising the expected feature, functions or savings anticipated. What’s worse is that you also have no way of telling whether you’ve had a breach or failure,” she says.

Weber says that this is one of the biggest challenges faced by enterprises that adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, due to the way in which their systems and failovers are integrated across multiple platforms. “Should anything go wrong, chances are that you will not know until its too late. Therefore, the risk to your business, with the potential downtime and resultant direct damages, becomes a massive problem,” she explains.

Single-view visibility – at what cost?

While effective tool sets are available that can provide enterprises with single view visibility in a hybrid/multi-cloud environment, Weber says that these are expensive and not seen as a worthwhile investment for most organisations.

“You need tools to give you visibility and you need tools and skills to provide you with the ability to administrate and support your environment. In addition, you need tools and specialised skills to monitor the technical and financial performance of your deployed systems and help you decide whether you can do things more optimally,” she says.

Another significant challenge facing organisations that migrate to the hybrid/public cloud is that of a lack of skills, which are scarce and costly. According to Andre Schwan, Deal Solutions Manager at T-Systems South Africa, very deep technical skills are needed, with training on each platform that an organisation plans to use, specifically in the area of technical support, as well as at the architectural level.

The dearth of skills is profoundly felt in South Africa, where cloud service providers lack the size and scale of large multinational players that have long been investing in multi-disciplined resources. “In South Africa, the amount of people required to provide the equivalent services would cost service providers a fortune to upskill,” says Schwan.

He notes that organisations planning to move to a hybrid/multi-cloud environment would benefit from choosing a multi-cloud managed service provider that has a large amount of experience in managing large, complex environments.

“The partner you choose should have a good track record helping clients realise the actual business value of migrating to a multi-cloud environment. It’s about the depth of skill and understanding complexity,” he says. “It’s about experience and not just experience in the cloud space but finding an outsourcer with experience in complex environments.”

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