In step with the trend toward digital transformation, the global public cloud services market is projected to grow by 21.4 percent in 2018 to total $186.4 billion, up from $153.5 billion in 2017, according to research by Gartner.\nInfrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the fastest-growing market segment; it\u2019s set to grow by 35.9 percent in 2018 to reach $40.8 billion. As the digital trend matures, more organizations are moving from hybrid to multi-cloud scenarios spread across a number of different providers. Since cloud computing is all about scale and volume, the market leaders will only become more dominant and make it ever harder for new kids on the block to grab a slice of the pie.\nAccording to Gartner\u2019s estimates, the top 10 providers will make up nearly 70 percent of the IaaS market in three years\u2019 time, up from 50 percent in 2016.\nWanted: Simpler models\n"The increasing dominance of the hyperscale IaaS providers creates both enormous opportunities and challenges for end users and other market participants," says Sid Nag, research director at Gartner. "While it enables efficiencies and cost benefits, organizations need to be cautious about IaaS providers potentially gaining unchecked influence over customers and the market. In response to multi-cloud adoption trends, organizations will increasingly demand a simpler way to move workloads, applications and data across cloud providers' IaaS offerings without penalties."\nCloud computing was initially intended to simplify IT through standardization, consolidation and centralization. However, today\u2019s enterprises are operating in more fragmented IT landscapes that combine both on-premise resources in addition to a variety of private and public cloud providers. Recent findings from Microsoft and 451 Research indicate that nearly one-third of organizations work with four or more of the latter.\n\u00a0\u201cMore than ever before, customers are looking to a single trusted advisor to provide transformation-oriented managed services and hybrid implementation,\u201d says Melanie Posey, Vice President at 451 Research, in a related Microsoft blog post. \u201cCustomers are looking to service providers to not only transform IT but also transform their entire business \u2013 to rewire the building and support new requirements, all while keeping the lights on.\u201d\nGreater choice produces serious complexity\nSixty-nine percent of respondents plan to be operating implement some kind of multi-cloud environment by 2019, according to a 451 Research press release. However, innovation and new pricing schemes are making things ever more complex and the cloud landscape more challenging to navigate than ever.\nAs organizations adopt multi-cloud approaches, new challenges have begun to rear their heads. Most notably, IT administrators are finding that security, agility, performance, and costs can be difficult to manage or control across varied cloud platforms. Making matters worse is that maintaining consistent regulatory compliance, confidentiality, and data segregation now eats up more time and money than ever before.\nOvercoming speed bumps\nTo tackle the above problems, enterprises work on putting into place policies and decision frameworks that simplify the cloud landscape, consolidate purchasing power and workloads, manage data and applications, and enforce tight security.\nSelecting the right target platform\nWhile multi-cloud environments are becoming standard practice, remember that each target platform comes with different pros and cons. Thus, it\u2019s essential to implement a decision framework that maps needs against pre-approved target platforms to ensure a quick, trouble-free migration.\nAchieving Agility\nAs applications are moved to the cloud, they require differentiated and dynamic services to keep them up and running smoothly. As a result, many firms are using agile development frameworks to accelerate time-to-market by combining development, quality assurance and operations tasks. Mircoservices and containers can be used to great effect in these areas.\nDelivering Network Performance\nBeing able to run, migrate, scale, and spin up cloud resources at any time means that the solution must offer quality failover and performance. Today\u2019s routing solutions require large computing resources to scale up to the number of tunnels they can maintain at once, which can be extremely costly.\nKeeping a Lid on Costs\nSome public cloud providers claim to offer cost-effective virtual machines, but for network-intensive applications, the price of data transfer into and out of the cloud can quickly skyrocket. Users are often clueless how much data they are using and how much it costs to deliver it to the cloud. Whether it\u2019s about super-sizing an environment or setting aside high-performance storage for non-critical data, managing the cost effectively remains a major challenge. Capacity planning and monitoring are essential tasks.\nEnsuring Security\nWhether it\u2019s about access management, denial-of-service attack mitigation, web application firewalls, threat intelligence or encryption, cloud computing needs rock-solid, cloud-based security. Since cloud providers offer different uses and connectivity options, there\u2019s a need for continuous security, advanced identity and access management, sophisticated logging capabilities, and stringent policy enforcement across the entire IT landscape.\nFor today\u2019s cloud buyers, the world is a cornucopia of capabilities and possibilities \u2013 but it comes at the price of greater complexity. Workloads and applications have complex architecture, storage, data management and networking requirements\u00a0\u2014 they are simply not interchangeable, like car parts.\nCloud platforms are helping organizations grow and manage their global computing infrastructures rapidly and efficiently, while minimizing capital expenses and delivering a superior end-user experience. The downside happens when multiple cloud platforms come into play: used together, they can create unique challenges to security, performance, agility, and cost. Service providers untangling this complexity will give themselves a serious competitive edge; cloud buyers are eagerly waiting for it.