The multi-cloud environment is rapidly heating up! According to an IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Citrix, How do Organizations Plan to Assure Application Delivery in a Multi-Cloud World? (October 2017), 72.3% of cloud users now have a blend of on-premises and off-premises clouds in place. Fuelling this growth is the desire to accommodate new and existing applications in optimised environments, to gain organisational agility and to protect against cloud vendor lock-in, as well the potential for increased speed to market. And so for many reasons, it’s a trend that seems highly likely to continue.

The study, which surveyed 900 global organisations, also reveals that network infrastructure is struggling to keep pace, with 82% of respondents saying their ability to migrate apps to the cloud is being hindered by the increased complexity of their network; a view that is shared globally. Alarmingly, just a quarter (24%) of organisations feel their network is capable of meeting the demands of their hybrid cloud app delivery strategy. This combines with the fact that just over a third (36%) of organisations believe their network does not satisfy current needs, while 40% say their network satisfies only some of needs. As a result, application delivery is being severely disrupted, creating inferior performance, a disjointed experience for the end user, and increased security risks, compiled with a lack of preparedness and predictability.

It therefore comes as little surprise that as we move into 2018, a new and more robust network solution is needed, and the IDC study finds that a unified application-delivery strategy could present the most attractive solution. A resounding 79% of responding organisations say they would be interested in addressing application disruption via this approach.

Unified application delivery is a strategy that extends from on-premises data centre(s) out to the public cloud and across the WAN to an organisation’s branch offices and remote sites. It provides a common administrative and deployment framework that reduces the costs associated with application deployment and management. Additional functionality can be deployed in a modular, easy-to-manage way, spanning many different hardware servers.

The benefits of a unified approach are well-understood by survey respondents, who were asked to rank them in order of importance. Increased IT efficiency emerged as being of utmost importance, for 40% of organisations, by automating provisioning and other application delivery processes. In close second, 38% of respondents cite the reduced risk of potential security breaches as a core benefit, by ensuring implementation and enforcement of consistent security policies across all applications and users. Security is a critical concern for organisations within the study, holding many back from supporting more workloads within the cloud. In fact, 60% cited increased security as a fundamental requirement for cloud application delivery.

A further 37% of organisation agree the ability to free IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives and projects is most important, through reducing the complexity of managing application delivery across hybrid IT (on premise and cloud). And lowering the IT costs of delivering cloud-based and on-premises applications to users at branch offices and remote sites is another benefit cited, by 35%. Additionally, 31% of organisations are drawn to the ability to maintaining SLAs associated with key applications, by having control and visibility across all applications, on premise and in the cloud.

And so, with the trend clearly pointing towards growth in the multi-cloud environment, businesses need to be preparing to transform their network infrastructure, to ensure it’s capable of meeting the needs of their end users and customers. As the study shows, a unified application-delivery strategy is clearly the most attractive proposition, and awareness of this is a promising starting point.

For more information on how Citrix Cloud Networking solutions can support multi-cloud environments, click here.