Cloud Providers Push Products, Tactics, To Win Customers in Competitive Market

In the current cross-industry scamper among enterprises migrating to clouds, no clear winners have yet to emerge in the race for market share among the hyperscale public cloud providers.

Automated cloud migration company Next Pathway on April 20 unveiled a new report with key data on the overall state of cloud migration, including the current status of the cloud wars.

The study draws insights from over 1,200 IT decision-makers that highlights which cloud providers have the edge and why enterprises might want to avoid multi-cloud and hybrid approaches. Businesses are under great pressure to enable digital transformation from the cloud to generate new revenue streams.

While businesses believe a multi-cloud strategy has advantages, they are selecting only single cloud platforms for their enterprise legacy workloads. This puts cloud providers in a battle to bring enterprise workloads to their cloud platform, creating a highly competitive marketplace.

First-Mover Advantages

Providers are luring potential customers to their platforms with industry solutions, faster migration paths, and enhanced capabilities, according to the State of Enterprise Cloud Migrations report.

Further, cloud providers are leveraging the benefits of first-mover advantage with a range of tactics to gain market share, including employing their hefty balance sheets to buy businesses’ favor.

Until the dust settles in the cloud wars, service providers face both opportunities and challenges for victory. Once migrated, customers will be reluctant to switch to other providers. So, moving new customers to a particular cloud platform and turning on consumption is paramount for winning the cloud wars.

“Our research reveals that companies that want to move to the cloud, need help. They want more services, industry solutions, and enhanced products,” said Chetan Mathur, Next Pathway CEO. “In this highly competitive market, the cloud wars are on and likely to continue for some time.”

Results at a Glance

Looking at market share, Microsoft Azure (37 percent) has a slight advantage. But Amazon AWS (32. percent) and Google Cloud Platform (30 percent) also hold a prominent stake of the public cloud market.

A hefty majority of IT leaders (87 percent) report an increase in demand for moving workloads to the cloud. Just one-third of respondents have completed a workload migration, which is only slightly more than the finding from Next Pathway’s July 2021 survey showed completed the process.

“We are still in the early stages of the emerging cloud market, and as this market matures and we realize that the race to the cloud rewards those that move quickly, more is being demanded from the vendors to accelerate cloud migrations,” said Clara Angotti, Next Pathway president.

With companies eager to move to the cloud fast, cloud providers that move workloads to their platform will reap big financial benefits and long-term competitive advantage. However, companies need help, she observed.

“Moving to the cloud is not easy. Companies are asking for more services that will automate their migration and mitigate their risk to enable transformation,” she said.

Cloud migration services topped the list of requests from businesses looking to select providers, according to the report. Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents named migrating existing applications.

Additional services requested include multi-cloud strategies (45 percent), a robust partner ecosystem (42 percent), increased storage capacity (40 percent), and industry-specific solutions (39 percent).

Cloud Migration Stumbling Blocks

The lack of automation is proving to be a major concern of firms moving to the cloud. Speed to market is critical to ensuring they can sustain a competitive advantage. Forty-seven percent of companies acknowledge that they lack the automated tooling to expedite the translation and migration of code from on-premises to the cloud.

Also lacking within enterprises planning a move to the cloud is an efficient and effective migration process. Most respondents agreed they would have spent more time planning their migration and used more automation to migrate workloads faster. The planning process took longer than expected. So did the actual implementation phase, noted 40 percent of the respondents.

The research showed many potential cloud migrators over the past year looked before they leaped. They ran proofs-of-concept with multiple public cloud warehouse platforms before finalizing plans. This suggests they exercised caution instead of rushing their cloud entry platform selection.

Still, IT leaders uncovered unexpected limitations in the selected cloud platform. Slightly more than one-quarter (27 percent) felt that data migration presented the highest risk element of cloud migration.

Cloud providers able to enhance their migration services will differentiate themselves from their competitors and turn on consumption revenue faster, according to the report.

Hybrid Cloud Remains Untapped

Nearly all companies (97 percent) acknowledged benefits come with a hybrid cloud strategy. More than half (55 percent) said it allows organizations to benefit from the automation of public clouds and the security and privacy of private clouds.

The hybrid strategy delivers more flexibility to select the right applications for the two cloud structures, noted 41 percent of the IT respondents. However, only 30 percent have a hybrid cloud in production, despite the hybrid cloud’s attraction and considerable market opportunity.

“While the urgency to move to the cloud becomes greater each passing day, challenges and fears surrounding the migration process continue to hold companies back from beginning the journey,” said Mathur. “It is a complex process.”

Key Considerations

A few viable solutions exist for the inherent problems the survey reveals, according to Mathur. The major stumbling blocks to cloud migration, whether public or private, are quite similar.

“Spend sufficient time planning the migration. Clients tend to rush into execution without proper planning,” he told The E-Commerce Times.

This includes a detailed analysis of your legacy applications to understand data lineage, dependencies, and data flow. This information is critical to determining what to migrate and in what order, he explained.

Once this is completed, prepare a wave plan that outlines the schedule by which workloads are to be migrated.

Mathur offered these additional suggestions to overcome migration stumbling blocks:

  • Automate as many steps as possible. Many tools automate the crawling of your legacy applications, automate the translation of legacy code and ETL pipelines, and automate test script creation and execution. Automation will save valuable time.
  • Create a proof of concept that will test your data migration strategy. Clients will be moving massive amounts of data to the cloud. It is important to run tests to ensure you are picking the right data migration strategy.
  • Leave a buffer in your schedule and budget for exceptions. Every cloud target will have some gaps and exceptions. Make sure you plan for these types of unknowns. We call this “the last mile” as these gaps tend to appear during the implementation phase of cloud migration.

“The major difference between private and public cloud is the security considerations and cloud management. However, all of the above solutions apply to both public and private cloud migrations,” he said.

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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