The State of the IT Nation: CIOs Seek Multicloud, Freedom Of Data Movement and Protection from Ransomware

By Sammy Zoghlami, SVP EMEA, Nutanix.

  • 3 weeks ago Posted in

What do DevOps and platform engineering decision-makers want from 2024, what do they fear and what will they invest in? A single-sentence answer may be that they want to innovate, they fear data protection infringements and they will invest in modernisation, security and AI.

The spectre of ransomware

Let’s start with threats. According to Nutanix’s sixth annual Enterprise Cloud Index, ransomware/malware is the biggest application and data management challenge faced by the 1,500 global respondents surveyed. More than four (42%) in 10 said they saw protecting against these dual menaces as a significant challenge. This comes as no surprise: ransomware strikes terror into the hearts of not just IT staff but senior executives who understand the potential damage to finances, reputation and morale. 

Ransomware presents a bigger threat than ever, taking key services offline and effectively holding the corporate target hostage. The payload can be huge, with 71% of respondents that had been attacked taking days or even weeks to restore optimal operations. 

Little wonder, then, that 78% plot protective solutions. Many are turning to new approaches that go beyond backup, by creating a real-time monitoring environment and an effective data support net so that organisations can revert to a fully functioning state within a quarter of an hour of an attack.   

Jumping between clouds

So, what about positives? The good news is that organisations appear to be taking a pragmatic stance on IT deployment. Today, only outliers aren’t progressing with some form of hybrid model and a hybrid multicloud model with a very wide spread of models is increasingly preferred. 

This lets CIOs pursue a ‘horses for courses’ approach where workloads meet a good fit for IT platforms, whether they be cloud, edge, on-premises datacentre, hosting or some combination of these. Fully 90% of the panel said they are adopting a “cloud smart” position and the proportion of respondents expecting to move to hybrid multicloud is set to double inside three years to 35% of respondents.

Hybrid multicloud is seen as the way forward to desired business outcomes such as ultimate flexibility, performance, security, dynamic data services (such as backup and snapshotting), data sovereignty, AI sustainability and cost management. Given the breadth of applications, workloads and needs, interoperability and a holistic overview of provisioning controls will be critical here to ensure value, prevent against data loss and avoid redundancy of operations.  

The ideal state is a fully motile environment where cloud orchestration makes it easy to switch workloads and applications across platforms as needs dictate. Almost all respondents (95%) said they had crossed workload platforms in the past year. Why? Because IT and the businesses they serve need to be able to bolster security and switch on innovation at different times as needs dictate. This is more than ever the case because the commercial environment is so hard to read. Conflicts, geopolitics and elections, a febrile economy, the drive towards net-zero and continuing globalisation mean that organisations need to be able to switch product offers, re-engineer value chains, price dynamically, switch channels and go to market in new ways, and to expand and contract IT services on the fly. Only by having an optimally adaptive technology platform can they do this.

Databases provide a case in point. Database workloads are often moved but managing databases across deployment platforms was cited as the number-one category challenge faced by respondents. The answer here is a control plane that lets these stores be easily transitioned regardless of platform or vendor. But nobody said this was easy: 35% stated that workload and application migration are being hobbled by current IT infrastructure obstacles.

Modernise to move up

Modernising infrastructure is seen as a route to that desired ultra-flexible state and enjoying a fast track to adopt growth technologies such as AI. Today, over a third (37%) say that running AI applications on current-state infrastructure will be a challenge.

By refining everywhere, including the network edge, organisations give themselves the best possible chance of capitalising on the march of new technologies and shining a light and creating visibility into data wherever it resides. 

Many say they are modernising to innovate while others are seeking increased visibility into data assets and sovereignty to support good governance. However, modernisation today is far from a done deal. Take containers, for example, where just 4% of respondents said all their applications were containerised and 35% said fewer than half of apps are containerised.

IT is Part of the Sustainability Mandate

The global drive towards sustainability is reflected in this survey with almost all respondents (98%) saying their organisations support some sort of relevant initiatives. This is a fast-moving space with 51% of organisations saying they have improved their ability to detect areas for cutting waste and 44% saying they had improved their ability to see greenhouse gas and carbon emissions. More than half (52%) have modernised IT to improve sustainability records but there is clearly scope to do much more.

So, in brief, this is IT in 2024. Leaders need to drive forward across initiatives and are clearly minded to cut out silos and make their estates more manageable and flexible. Achieving these aims will need investment, bold plans and management rigour. Next year’s report should provide an update as to how far our respondents have succeeded. 

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