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The Unforeseen Consequences of the Cloud Boom

SPONSORED: Cloud adoption has exploded over the past two years, with companies rushing to upgrade for remote work. Here’s why they might be missing out and what comes next.

(SPONSORED ARTICLE) Cloud adoption has exploded over the past two years, with many organizations rushing to migrate and update their operations for remote work. In 2021 alone, companies spent $408 billion on cloud and Gartner predicts spending will surpass $482 billion in 2022.

But in their hurry, companies may have missed opportunities to optimize their deployments. Inefficient and poorly planned cloud implementation could contribute to more than $100 billion in wasted spending over the next three years, McKinsey suggests. What’s worse, some are making mistakes in their haste: misconfigurations are among the leading causes of potential security threats, not to mention unrealized return on investment.

Now, two years into the pandemic, companies are finding their stride with hybrid operations. As a result, many are shifting their focus from urgent adoption to thoughtful optimization. As users look to realize -- and maximize -- their cloud ROI, it’s time to consider whether their cloud provider offers the agility, ownership, security, flexibility, and cost controls they need to confidently operate in 2022 and beyond.

The Risks of Rushing

When COVID-19 first hit, organizations had to adopt cloud quickly. Imagine waiting in line for a supermarket the night before a massive storm. As you near the register, you know you don’t have time to visit other stores and compare prices or check available stock. You’re throwing whatever fits into your cart just to make sure you’re ready to weather what’s coming. Companies acted in a similar fashion as the pandemic unfolded, signing up for products and services from a single provider, just in case. Now, as a clearer picture of the future emerges, many are left with overprovisioned resources, clunky integrations, or features they simply don’t need.

The challenge now? If companies rushed into choosing a walled garden provider, they’re locked in. Their data is deeply entrenched within a single cloud, and migrating out (which often comes with exorbitant egress fees) is too costly to fathom. While there are advantages to working with a single provider (fast, low-touch implementation), this lock-in and its associated risks warrant a more cloud-agnostic approach.

The Need for Cloud-Agnostic Middleware

The key advantage of a cloud-agnostic environment is that it enables users to move their data across clouds as they optimize based on cost, performance, and need, solving many of the challenges that hasty single-cloud implementations create.

As companies look back to re-assess whether they’ve implemented the right mix of providers, and in the right way, the key is to optimize for flexibility. By reclaiming the middleware (or interfaces) between applications and cloud providers, users can operate in a mode where partnering with different providers becomes as efficient and straightforward as plug and play -- and costs less over time, too.

If this sounds like a futuristic pipe dream, it isn’t. Cloud-agnostic operations are possible today, thanks to open-source software and open APIs. Open-source software development happens collaboratively and out in the open, which means it can be collectively improved. Open APIs give developers the ability to reuse their code, no matter which cloud provider they choose.

Already, 83% of IT leaders say that enterprise open source has enabled their organization to take advantage of cloud architectures. Yet just because companies use open source in some capacity, doesn’t mean they’re fully cloud agnostic -- as users re-evaluate their deployments, likely, they’ll find an opportunity to optimize even further.

Given the flexibility and agility that a cloud-agnostic framework provides, companies can set up multi-cloud environments that deliver on their potential. For example, adding an alternative provider to run specific, high-volume applications can bring operating costs down without missing a beat on performance.

With Deployments, Prioritize Strategy Over Speed

If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that cloud is a must-have. But the opportunity behind it is far too great to rush adoption and get locked into a single provider.

As 95% of businesses make multi-cloud ecosystems a strategic priority in 2022, flexible, agile, and cloud-agnostic deployments will be essential. There’s no greater value proposition than control over your cloud stack. It’s what paves the way for greater optimization, better performance, and higher cloud ROI.

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Blair Lyon is Vice President of Cloud Experience at Linode, an alternative cloud provider that accelerates innovation by making cloud computing simple, accessible, and affordable to all. Founded in 2003, Linode helped pioneer the cloud computing industry and empowers more than a million developers, startups, and businesses across its global network of 11 data centers.