In 2018, cloud computing went mainstream. Virtually all organizations (96 percent) use it in one way or another. However, studies show that as users gain cloud maturity, they tend to move from hybrid cloud scenarios \u2013 which comprise both private and public clouds \u2013 toward multi-cloud landscapes spread across a multitude of service providers. Indeed, according to Rightscale\u2019s 2018 State of the Cloud Report, 81 percent of enterprises already have a multi-cloud strategy in place.\nThe Rightscale report highlights that many more enterprises view public cloud adoption as their top priority, up from 29 percent in 2017 to 38 percent in 2018. Hybrid cloud has decreased as a priority, declining from 50 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2018. On average, organizations use roughly five clouds, while advanced users leverage even more. Respondents typically run applications in 3.1 clouds and are testing 1.7 more, for a total of 4.8 clouds. Public cloud users use an average of 2.7 clouds. Companies that use private clouds use an average of 3 of them.\nSpend on the rise\nOf course, rising cloud use has financial ramifications. One out of five enterprises plan to more than double their public cloud spend in 2018, and 71 percent will grow their public cloud spend more by than 20 percent. In contrast, less than a quarter (23 percent) of enterprises will grow their private cloud by more than 50 percent in 2018. Today, 26 percent of enterprises spend more than $6 million annually on public cloud consumption, while a combined 30 percent spend anywhere between $1.2 and $6 million per year.\nIn addition to large organizations, small and mid-sized business are also leveraging the cloud to advance digital agendas. Predictably, SMBs have smaller cloud bills (half spend below $10,000 per month), but 17 percent of them plan to double that spend this year, and 62 percent will grow their cloud by at least 20 percent. Of course, the downside of this fragmentation is excessive complexity, which makes navigating the cloud landscape increasingly challenging.\nFor the second consecutive year, optimizing cloud costs is the top enterprise challenge, cited by 53 percent of respondents in 2017 and 58 percent in 2018. \u00a0It\u2019s a particularly important goal for mature cloud users, with 65 percent of intermediate users and 69 percent of advanced users citing it as a key initiative for 2018. It appears that cloud computing is a love-hate relationship \u2013 one that hasn\u2019t yet yielded the hoped-for economic benefits.\nGoverning and brokering clouds is critical\nEnterprises already run 77 percent of their workloads in the cloud. More use private clouds (45 percent) than the public cloud (32 percent), and SMBs run 80 percent of their workloads in the cloud; 48 percent use the public cloud, and 32 percent favor private clouds.\nIn 2018, the voice of enterprise central IT is growing stronger and assuming a greater governance role by advising on which apps move to cloud (69 percent vs. 63 percent in 2017), managing costs (64 percent vs. 55 percent), policy-setting (60 percent vs. 58 percent), and brokering cloud services (60 percent vs. 54 percent. Conversely, central IT is also playing a much smaller role in choosing public and private clouds and in building private clouds. Business unit respondents are less likely overall to delegate authority to central IT, but generally agree that central IT should manage and optimize cloud costs.\nConfiguration frameworks and containers ease cloud adoption\nMore and more, organizations are using containers and microservices to spur digital growth. Docker continues to soar, having increased to 49 percent from 35 percent in 2017 (a 40 percent growth rate). The AWS container service (ECS\/EKS) is close behind, at 44 percent adoption. Kubernetes has seen the fastest growth, almost doubling to 27 percent adoption. Azure Container Service and Google Container Engine each grew strongly to attain adoption of 20 percent and 14 percent, respectively. A higher percentage of enterprises adopt all container tools compared to SMBs. Among larger firms, Docker has reached 54 percent adoption.\nAmong all respondents, Ansible and Chef are tied at 36 percent adoption each, followed by Puppet at 34 percent adoption. Among enterprises, though, Chef (48 percent) and Puppet (47 percent) hold the top two positions, while Ansible is hard on their tail, at 42 percent adoption. Ansible leads handily among SMBs with 29 percent adoption, followed by Chef and Puppet. Ansible has shown the strongest growth since last year, up 71 percent in adoption.\nThe report suggests that multi-cloud remains the preferred strategy for most companies. Almost every organization is using cloud at some level, with both public and private cloud adoption growing. On average, companies use or are experimenting with nearly five public and private clouds, and most of their workloads now run in cloud.\nHowever, public cloud is increasingly becoming the top focus among enterprises. Consequently, public cloud use is growing more quickly \u2014 with the addition of new customers, increased workloads, and an increase in the number of services used. This expansion in cloud use is driving up the public cloud spend, and large increases are expected in 2018. Cost is the number-one cloud challenge for intermediate and advanced cloud users. As a result, spend continues to be the top initiative for 2018. Even more organizations are focusing their efforts on cost optimization, leaving ample room for improvements.\nAs organizations spend more and spread their investments across multiple providers, the need to ensure manageability and transparency becomes even more important. Fortunately, configuration frameworks and containers can help eliminating inefficiencies and untangling complexity.