Organizations of all sizes across all industries are undergoing digital transformation. And for most enterprises, a significant aspect of that transformation means migrating legacy systems to cloud platforms or expanding their existing cloud footprint. Many businesses have already moved data, applications and business operations to the cloud—and many more will continue to do so. According to industry researcher Gartner, more than one-third of organizations surveyed consider cloud investments as one of their top three investment priorities.
However, platforms and services have evolved significantly since organizations first started embracing the cloud. Today, enterprise cloud architecture increasingly means a hybrid cloud—a combination of private and public cloud platforms—and multi-cloud environments, which include platforms from multiple public cloud providers. According to 451 Research, more than half of all enterprises have chosen hybrid cloud and multi-cloud as their preferred cloud architecture. And nearly 63 percent of organizations surveyed are already using two or more separate cloud platforms.
While there are some benefits to sticking with a single cloud provider, most enterprises are branching out. “If you concentrate all your spending on one cloud provider, then you have more bargaining power with them and can usually get better discounts,” says Myles Brown, Senior Cloud and DevOps Advisor for ExitCertified. “Most companies at this point are at least investigating multi-cloud.”
Adopting a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud platform helps enterprises maximize the value of their legacy IT systems while also reaping the inherent flexibility and agility benefits of the cloud. As the cloud world grows more complex, however, many organizations continue to struggle with how to determine the most optimal balance of public and private cloud; which cloud providers to engage for which workloads; and how to best manage this new face of enterprise infrastructure to ensure optimal efficiency—and optimal spend. This is a strong focus area for IT professionals and will continue to be for some time to come.
Moving to a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud can help enterprises avoid vendor lock-in complications, but it can also present a challenging balance. “Every cloud provider is trying to do more of the administrative tasks for you, so they’re trying to make your job running these apps much easier,” says Brown. “At the same time, they’re trying to get you into vendor lock-in, so it’s about walking that tightrope of when do I want to take advantage of the vendor-specific managed services and when do I want to keep things more open.”
For the IT professionals charged with architecting and operating their enterprise cloud platforms, the hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments increase complexity and present a broader range of requisite skills. This is where having training and certification on multiple platforms can pay off. “Having two certifications shows you’re into it,” says Brown. “If I am going to hire someone for an AWS position and notice they also have an Azure certification, that gives me an idea they have a deeper understanding of what’s going on with the cloud in general, so there is a benefit to having a second certification from a second vendor.”
Most of the certifications for cloud architects and cloud operational specialists are currently tied to specific cloud providers and platforms, such as: