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Why it’s a pivotal year for multi-cloud across APAC

  • With a perfect storm driving its adoption across India and the rest of Asia Pacific (APAC), 2020 appears to be the year of multi-cloud

Organizations in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are now seizing the advantages of multi-cloud.

A multi-cloud strategy can refer to leveraging multiple public cloud services at once, or it can mean using public cloud in tandem with traditional non-cloud systems. That’s an appealing strategy, given that many smaller companies will be hesitant to completely overhaul their existing systems.

Recent world events have magnified the role multi-cloud could play for small to medium businesses (SMBs) around the world. A Flexera survey of 750 vetted IT professionals noted that an overwhelming 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy in place this year, while 87% will leverage a hybrid cloud strategy.

For a picture of how cloud is taking hold in markets with strong potential, we can look at India. For Vishal Parpia, the co-founder & CEO at cloud-native specialist CloudCover, there are “two big reasons” why India represents a key cloud growth market.

“India’s a big country — second by population, fifth by GDP — but in terms of digitization has lagged behind developed countries,” said Parpia. “Many enterprises relied on cheap manpower instead of technology but are going straight to the cloud instead of investing in legacy systems.

“The second reason is smartphones and cheap cellular data has made technology accessible enough to spread far and wide, enabling a whole new generation of startups to address customers using this new channel.”

The size of India’s under-served data market is alluring for major service providers. US cloud giants AWS and Azure are teaming up with India’s biggest mobile carriers Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to spearhead cloud growth, a host of cloud service providers like IBM India have made cloud products available for free to ease the take-up of cloud-based solutions for SMBs.

“The major cloud players have to go where future demand is, their shareholders have gotten used to constant growth. A strong presence in emerging markets is crucial to success and partnerships with telcos drives both visibility and user growth,” mused Parpia. “There are strong opportunities for bundling software and services. I think we’re going to see more alliances across Asia as the fight for cloud customers heats up.”

With India still in the throes of lockdown restrictions, many SMBs are swiftly reverting to cloud-based workflows to accommodate their newly-distributed workforces: “This year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the move to 100% remote work, squeezing years of transformation into weeks,” said Parpia.

“Collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet were the immediate winners.”

Other big markets in APAC are seeing similar interest in multi-cloud purveyors. Clouds giants continue their rapid expansion in APAC with new regions launching in Jakarta first from Google Cloud, followed by Amazon Web Services. Multi-cloud, in particular, is attractive to SMBs that want to ramp up their agility and make the most of the available options cost-effectively, regardless of vendor.

Today, 8 out of 10 businesses rely on multiple clouds to meet their IT needs, with 71% using more than three, according to CloudCover data.

“This is not a unique or new trend by any means, IT departments have been wary of lock-in for a long time, however in the current climate using the right tool for the job has much higher importance than before,” said Parpia.

“This year more than most, organizations don’t want to depend on a single cloud when they’re relying on the cloud more than ever,” surmised Parpia. “They want to take advantage of the cloud’s scalability, innovative services, and geographic scope, but they’re worried about getting locked-in to the wrong provider.”