While most Federal agency IT decision makers say their agencies are already edging into using multi-cloud platforms, the learning curve to getting comfortable with multi-cloud appears to remain steep, and most say that managing the multi-cloud environment is likely to be a top challenge over the next five years.

That’s the top-line takeaway from a new MeriTalk study – “Juggling the Clouds – What Are Agencies Learning?” – underwritten by Affigent, an Akima company, and Dell Technologies.

Based on an online survey of 150 Federal IT decision makers, 81 percent say their agencies are already using more than one cloud platform. And almost as many – 75 percent – respond that multi-cloud management will remain an important management challenge for the next five years. But nearly half say their agencies are not preparing adequately for their multi-cloud future.

Incentives to adopting multi-cloud infrastructure are clear: better performance, increased reliability, and cost savings.

But what are the primary challenges to getting a better handle on multi-cloud management? Survey respondents identified issues of security, data governance, and interoperability across cloud systems, with nearly 90 percent saying that consistency is critical to connecting teams and processes across cloud platforms. They also said they need better integration of cloud services with legacy infrastructure, and more advanced encryption and security features.

“As agencies modernize, they are increasingly deploying more artificial intelligence and IoT devices that collect vast amounts of data across public and private cloud environments,” says Cameron Chehreh, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Presales Engineering, Dell Technologies Federal. “One of the best ways to future proof your environment while avoiding data silos is to provide consistent infrastructure and operations across public, private, and edge environments. This is how Dell Technologies is helping Federal agencies solve for the multi-cloud challenge.”

One intriguing survey outcome identifies use of hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) as a useful factor in gaining more comfort with multi-cloud infrastructure. A larger share (62 percent) of respondents from agencies already using HCI believe they are better prepared for multi-cloud than agencies not using HCI (44 percent).

“Federal agencies are managing three, six, and in some cases 20+ clouds,” said Carol Rivetti, President of Affigent, an Akima Company. “Integration and technologies like HCI help create a flexible, efficient, and secure environment for mission success.”

Federal agencies are already pursuing a range of strategies right now to get ready for multi-cloud infrastructure. Read the full report to find out more.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.