2023 report shows need for hybrid multi-cloud architectures

The 2023 Data Complexity Report determined that AI is driving further need for cloud adoption, with the vast majority of organisations still mid-journey
NetApp’s Data Complexity Report has found that 98% of organisations are in the middle of their cloud journey, showing need for hybrid multi-cloud architect

Global, cloud-led, data-centric software company NetApp’s 2023 Data Complexity Report, a worldwide report exploring companies’ growing needs for unified data storage released in October, has determined that AI is driving further need for cloud adoption, with the vast majority of organisations still mid-journey.

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In conjunction with Wakefield Research, NetApp’s quantitative research study surveyed 1,000 C-level tech and data executives from September 29, 2023 to October 5, 2023 among businesses in six markets in the US, EMEA and APAC. 

‘Secure, unified data platform on the public cloud is so important’

Kirsty Biddiscombe, NetApp’s Business Development Manager for AI, ML & Analytics in the UK shared how she and NetApp share an interest in exploring how technology decision-makers globally are navigating data storage. “By surveying organisations on their attitudes, especially against the backdrop of significant developments such as AI adoption, we’ve developed a clearer picture of changes across hybrid and multi-cloud environments,” she said.

Kirsty Biddiscombe, UK Business Development Manager AI, ML & Analytics at NetApp

The report found that 98% of organisations are in the middle of their cloud journey, with three out of four business leaders admitting that the fuel driving them to public cloud adoption is AI and analytics, highlighting the need for a unified approach to hybrid multi-cloud architectures.

Biddiscombe continued: “It’s no wonder that in today’s world of hybrid working, businesses need to centrally access their data at all times and in all locations. This is why a secure, unified data platform on the public cloud is so important — it provides organisations with the foundations of integrated, standardised and accessible data, alongside the flexibility that comes with being able to access it at any time.

“Without access to unified data in this way, regulations and guiding principles on AI usage may limit the ability of advanced AI applications to truly take off.”

Cloud migration a non-linear journey

The report states that migration to the cloud hasn’t been a linear journey for many businesses, according to the report. Of all tech executives with plans to migrate workloads to the cloud, three quarters still have most of their workloads stored on-premises. A further 74% said they’re using public cloud services for AI and analytics with another 39% highlighting their top need for Flash innovation is to optimise AI performance, cost and efficiency. 

“Enterprises face a complex technology landscape fraught with security risks and pressures to keep up with emerging technologies like AI while reducing environmental impacts,” added Sandeep Singh, SVP and GM of Enterprise Storage at NetApp. 

NetApp HQ

“The Data Complexity Report underscores that amid this complexity, innovative cloud-enabled Flash storage solutions are needed to address the evolving demands of AI, enhance efficiency, and bolster resilience against the escalating cyber threats within the data ecosystem.”   

AI a key driver for cloud adoption

Enterprises continue to embrace AI, the report found, with 72%t of respondents already using generative AI and 74% leveraging public cloud AI and analytics services. However, the report outlined how AI deployment comes with its own set of complex challenges —according to the study, data security at 57%, data integration at 50% and talent scarcity at 45% persist as barriers.  

And thanks to AI’s rapid adoption and overwhelming dominance in recent months, IT leaders continue to make a case for more funding as nearly two-thirds of AI budgets come from new funding rather than reallocated budgets.

Sustainability top concern during innovation  

Reducing environmental impact is informing key technology decisions in enterprise, the report concluded, with 83% of participants cited sustainability as an important deciding factor when choosing storage vendors. Half also recognise that reducing energy and carbon footprint is central to responsible AI, with 84% stating reducing their company’s carbon footprint is an important part of sustainability initiatives. 

“It’s incredibly positive to see such an embracing of AI and data analytics,” Biddiscombe echoed. “With 72% of companies already using generative AI in some manner, these advanced technologies are here to stay and are much more than a passing trend. After all, AI is key to data governance, compliance and security, data profiling and cleansing, data lineage, auditing, and performance optimisation.

“With all the operational efficiencies AI offers, tech leaders are undoubtedly keen to maximise the potential of their AI solutions.

“As AI adoption progresses, businesses must educate themselves on and improve effective data management systems. This will enable AI solutions to succeed efficiently, securely, and optimally.”

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