Forrester study: hybrid cloud strategy and the importance of on-premises infrastructure

By | 3 minute read | February 17, 2021

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In continuing times of uncertainty, market change and evolving business needs, ensuring the stability, agility and resilience of your technology environment is an imperative. Organizations that are best able to leverage a future-ready hybrid cloud infrastructure strategy are better positioned to do exactly that – which makes understanding exactly how IT infrastructure strategies are prioritized, developed and implemented key.

In a newly commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of IBM this topic is explored in depth. Below you’ll find a snapshot of key insights, directly from the surveyed 384 IT decision-makers responsible for the strategy and execution of IT infrastructure environments at enterprises worldwide. One of the key findings is the continued importance of on-premises infrastructure, with 85% of IT decision-makers agreeing it is a critical part of their hybrid cloud strategy.

Future-readying your infrastructure 

Organizational needs can vary greatly, but the research helps identify some common considerations and implications. How are enterprises making strategic decisions about what types of IT infrastructure to use, and for what purposes? A hybrid cloud environment is found to be clearly delivering on openness and flexibility: 89% of IT decision-makers agree open source allows for a more open and flexible hybrid cloud strategy, and 83% agree a hybrid cloud environment leverages open source for greater efficiency and scalability. Nine in 10 (89%) also believe a hybrid cloud environment is able to both easily and securely store and move data and workloads, providing a secure and flexible strategy for today and tomorrow.

The push to public cloud has not stopped investments in on-premises infrastructure.  Organizations are leveraging both hybrid cloud strategy and on-premises infrastructure to meet their unique needs during uncertain times. The benefits include greater performance, productivity and resiliency across data-intensive and mission critical workload types, alongside solutions for data residency and addressing continuing security challenges.

  • Data residency (56%) is the top ranked reason why organizations maintain infrastructure outside of the public cloud, far outpacing 2019 (39%).

Your infrastructure refresh matters 

As may be anticipated in line with a widespread acceleration in digital transformation, over half of the organizations surveyed (54%) plan to expand or upgrade existing infrastructure in the next 12 months, and three in four (75%) plans to increase infrastructure investment in the next two years. But while infrastructure investment is increasing, conversely in terms of infrastructure refresh, these have been significantly delayed and reflect a 15% increase in delay from 2019 findings. This lack of reinvestment leaves organizations vulnerable.

  • Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) are accelerating digital investments – primarily to support faster delivery of IT projects (60%).
  • 70% have delayed infrastructure refreshes at least a few times in the last five years or more (61% in 2019).

While postponements are understandable given resource and budget constraints, it creates areas of vulnerability across security (50%), cost (44%), compatibility (39%) and performance (39%) and beyond the scope of the study, additional risks for reputation, trust, loyalty and customer experience too. Neglecting infrastructure refreshes risks becoming a significant pain point for organization’s modernization efforts, reducing the impact of the increased investment in infrastructure. The extent of the infrastructure refresh delays is both concerning and juxtaposed with the strategic focus placed on security by IT decision makers.

  • 85% anticipate a greater focus on security and compliance and 84% will expect to see an increase in data-sensitive workloads and applications (for example: AI and machine learning).

Key recommendations from the Forrester study

1 – Make yours a hybrid cloud infrastructure strategy.
2 – Keep on premises as part of your hybrid strategy for the foreseeable future.
3 – Manage the mix of public cloud, private cloud and on premises as a holistic whole.
4 – Keep up with on-premises infrastructure refreshes.

Learn more

To learn more about this topic read the full study or watch the webinar ‘Secrets from the C-suite: The Importance of On-Premises Infrastructure in Hybrid Cloud Strategy’. In this webinar, I discuss further findings from the research commissioned by IBM with guest Bobby Cameron, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Forrester Research, and what it means for IT decision makers.