September 14, 2021 By Shawn DSouza 3 min read

“Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud will grow more than 23% in 2021 to $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020”. 1

Most organizations are deep into chapter 1 of their journey to the public cloud, with about 25% of customer-facing and greenfield applications (new application development projects) already running in the cloud. Fueled by the pandemic and changing business and customer needs, most organizations are now ready for chapter 2, which focuses on regulated, complex and mission-critical workloads—most of which are incompatible with the cloud and require modernization.

This has been confirmed by a recent IBM Institute for Business Value report, which suggests that as early as September 2020, almost 60% of business leaders acknowledged they had dramatically accelerated their digital transformation to change business and operating models during the pandemic. 2

To ensure a smooth transition to chapter 2, organizations need to address three major imperatives:

  • Use cloud technologies as the backbone to drive transformational business outcomes beyond achieving IT objectives
  • Address the complexity of modernizing the entire IT portfolio without impacting business users or customers
  • Ensure consistency in underlying cloud operating models regardless of cloud providers or platforms

Why hybrid cloud?

A robust hybrid cloud strategy can address these imperatives by fundamentally changing how organizations drive application modernization across the categories of regulated, complex and mission-critical workloads:

  • Middleware: Many organizations have a complex middleware, such as application servers, databases and integration technologies. A hybrid cloud strategy enables organizations to run a wider range of commercial and open-source technologies cost effectively and in the most de-risked manner.
  • Microsoft technologies: By embracing a hybrid cloud strategy, organizations that have a Microsoft-centric application portfolio can run applications on Windows and Linux containers which enables more options for modernization.
  • Independent software vendors (ISVs) and packaged applications: Many organizations use packaged applications from various (ISVs) and most of these applications are still in the process of getting certified on cloud platforms. By using an ecosystem of ISVs that embrace hybrid cloud strategy organizations have flexibility to modernize packaged applications regardless of landing zones.
  • Virtualized applications: While chapter 1 was delivered primarily through virtualization, chapter 2 focuses on containerization and portability. With technologies such as KubeVirt, organizations are now in a position to manage containers and virtual machines using a common operating model, unlocking opportunities to drive tremendous cost savings and consistency.

Forrester reports that 89% of IT decision-makers agree open source allows for a more open and flexible hybrid cloud strategy. 83% of these decision-makers agree a hybrid cloud environment leverages open source for greater efficiency and scalability. Nearly nine out of ten believe a hybrid cloud environment can make it simple to securely store and move data and workloads to provide a security-rich strategy for today and tomorrow.3

Maximize the benefits of hybrid cloud by embracing a journey-based approach

Typically, modernizing and managing applications on cloud requires individuals with deep technical skills, which are hard to find at global scale.

To mitigate skills-related challenges and help organizations accelerate cloud adoption with predictable outcomes, we have developed several prescriptive hybrid cloud journeys delivered through a framework including playbooks, reference implementations and technical accelerators. These cloud journeys help organizations perform rapid discovery, quantify benefits, automate migrations or code-generation, and cost-optimize Day-2 operations.

Accelerate your business agility and growth while continuously modernizing your Chapter 2 application portfolio—on any platform—with the IBM hybrid cloud strategy.



  1. Gartner® Press Release, Gartner forecasts worldwide public cloud end-user spending to grow 23% in 2021, April 21, 2021 GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
  2. Unlock the business value of hybrid cloud, IBM Institute for Business Value, Sally Eaves, IBM, February 2021
  3. Forrester study: Hybrid cloud strategy and the importance of on-premises infrastructure

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