Before we get to the numbers, let’s focus on the words. Specifically, what do we mean when we say "hybrid cloud"? How’s it different from just “cloud?” And what about “multi-cloud?”
You’ll find that people’s definitions tend to vary at least somewhat. You can get a useful definition and breakdown of hybrid cloud here, but here’s the basic version: Hybrid cloud means some mix of private cloud, public cloud, and/or on-premises (bare metal) infrastructure. Some definitions take it a step further and say that hybrid cloud also means that there is some level of integration and orchestration between these environments, which can support use cases like more readily moving workloads between different environments.
[ Learn the do’s and don’ts of multi-cloud: Get the free eBook, Multi-Cloud Portability for Dummies. ]
The simplest definition of multi-cloud, meanwhile, is the use of two or more cloud services. A different way of thinking about the nuances here: By default, a hybrid cloud is multi-cloud, but multi-cloud is not necessarily hybrid cloud. Put yet another way: Multi-cloud definitions don’t typically “care” about the type of cloud you’re referring to, whereas hybrid cloud definitions usually make some more specific distinction between environments (such as at least one public cloud and one private cloud or bare metal environment) and how they’re connected to one another.
Regardless of the terms or definitions you prefer, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies are a force in enterprise technology.
“Though cloud adoption is a seminal trend, clients continue to evaluate multiple models and appear to be getting comfortable with a multi-cloud format,” says Yugal Joshi, a VP at Everest Group, where he leads the firm’s digital, cloud, and application services practice.
Moreover, this doesn’t appear to just be the story of companies adding a bunch of SaaS applications. Sure, they’re doing that – SaaS continues to be the biggest subcategory in multiple research firms’ lofty numbers about public cloud spending, for example. But this is an infrastructure story, and you can quantify that story these days.
Nearly three out of four respondents in a recent Everest Group survey of 200 enterprises said they have a hybrid-first or private-first cloud strategy, according to Joshi. These companies know that managing multiple cloud environments can add complexity, but they also know there’s a lot of available help.
Hybrid cloud in 2020: By the numbers
Let’s dig into that number and nine others (and then some) that help tell the tale of hybrid cloud in 2020.
72 percent: The specific percentage of respondents in the Everest Group group survey that described their cloud strategy as hybrid-first or private-first.
“They do not want to get locked into one cloud platform irrespective of its value,” Joshi says of companies that adopt hybrid and/or multi-cloud approaches. “However, they also realize if they have to leverage native services of a cloud platform, which is increasing by the day, they need to be very smart not to hand over architectural control to any specific cloud vendor.”
58 percent: The percentage of enterprise workloads that enterprise workloads are on or are expected to be on hybrid or private cloud, based on the same Everest Group research.
[ Related read: Kubernetes by the numbers, in 2020: 12 stats to see. ]
56 percent: The percentage of respondents in the Everest Group survey that listed private cloud as a top-three investment area.
$66.8 billion: The total amount spent in 2019 on IT infrastructure (server, storage, Ethernet switch) for cloud environments, including public and private cloud, according to IDC. That accounted for nearly half of all IT infrastructure spending last year, which totaled $134.4 billion.
2.2: That’s the average number of public clouds in use (per company) among enterprise respondents in the Flexera 2020 State of Cloud Report.
2.2: That’s also the average number of private clouds in use by companies in the same report, which found overwhelming rates of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies among respondents.
$128.01 billion: The projected market value of the hybrid cloud infrastructure market in 2025, according to Mordor Intelligence. (Yes, they’re Tolkien fans.) That would represent an 18.73 percent compound annual growth rate from the $45.70 billion they valued the market at in 2019.
“The hybrid cloud market has experienced significant overall growth in the past few years compared to that of the other cloud services, as it offers certain benefits that the organizations with a huge set of data and need of processing demand for,” the firm writes in its report abstract.
$257.9 billion: This is the total projected 2020 spending on public cloud, according to Gartner, which would be a 6.3 percent increase compared to 2019. This includes all of the major “as-a-service” categories, including software (SaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS). Interestingly, desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) spending looks to be the biggest growth category within the overall public cloud market, which Gartner attributes to a significant shift to remote work driven by COVID-19.
[ Also read: Remote work security: 5 best practices ]
56 percent: You can connect the dots between increasing use of hybrid cloud and/or multiple environments in general to other technology trends, such as the growth of containers and Kubernetes. More than half (56 percent) of the 950 IT leaders polled for the 2020 edition of Red Hat’s State of Enterprise Open Source report said they expected their use of containers to increase in the next 12 months, for example.
[ Read our deep dive for IT leaders: Kubernetes: Everything you need to know. ]
31 percent: Also from the 2020 State of Enterprise Open Source report: Even as IT leaders adopt cloud-native technologies and application modernization projects, they’re leaving plenty (31 percent) of existing apps as is, another reality of the hybrid cloud world. And that’s just fine, as Gordon Haff, technology evangelist, Red Hat, said recently.
“Although new architectural styles such as microservices and serverless and technologies such as service meshes are a natural fit with Kubernetes, traditional monolithic apps can run in containers too," Haff says, noting that container-native virtualization and KubeVirt allow even more flexibility, which is important: “An enterprise platform needs to support those [existing] apps too - not just newly written or rearchitected ones.”
[ Kubernetes terminology, demystified: Get our Kubernetes glossary cheat sheet for IT and business leaders. ]