Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud

Understanding the different cloud infrastructures is important for planning out your organization’s data strategy and knowing what resources are available to you to help manage it. Our data & analytics consultants break down two and how they differ: hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud.

Multi-cloud. Hybrid cloud. They sound kind a similar, right? These terms are often used interchangeably, but it turns out the two are quite different. First, we’ll tackle the concept of a hybrid cloud. Then, we’ll dive into multi-cloud, what a multi-cloud strategy is, and why making use of all these options is a good idea.

Hybrid Cloud

What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud approach is defined by an enterprise’s use of both public and private cloud technology. By combining on-premise infrastructure with public cloud services, an enterprise can both optimize their cloud environment by workload as well as balancing costs.

Traditionally, companies that have opted to use a private cloud over a public cloud have done so for data security as well as more control over computing services. However, with the use of private clouds comes limitations. Companies are required to front a large upfront investment in hardware with finite resources. On top of that, scaling up and staying current with new technologies can become expensive. This is leading companies to integrate their own private infrastructure with public cloud computing resources. This is known as a hybrid cloud approach.

Why use a hybrid cloud?

By using a hybrid cloud approach, a company can take advantage of the relative strengths of both public and private cloud models. From security to scalability, a hybrid model allows an enterprise to move workloads between environments as computing needs change.

A hybrid cloud approach provides:

  • Control

    A hybrid approach offers a company more control over their resources. Rather than entrusting all data and infrastructure to a third-party provider, an enterprise can keep all applications and data behind the company firewall and utilize newer technologies from the public cloud for workload deployment.

  • Scalability

    By leveraging both private and public clouds, an enterprise can easily scale their resources depending on workloads. Rather than investing to scale up an on-premises data center to handle larger workloads, sensitive data can be kept on the private cloud while the public cloud can be temporarily used for increased operational capacity.

  • Compliance

    Not all data can be stored in the public cloud given compliance regulations which vary by industry. Hybrid environments allow you to satisfy regulatory requirements with data in private cloud storage while workloads operate in the public cloud.


What is multi-cloud?

The use of cloud technology is growing at an exponential rate. With this growth, more options are becoming available when it comes to which platform companies store their data on and which cloud technologies they use. Multi-cloud is exactly what it sounds like, multiple cloud platforms.

Some current cloud providers include:

hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud

Within these platforms we also find different services:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) – Virtual computing, storage, and networking

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Development and deployment environment. Includes the above while adding in other resources like development tools, BI services, and database management systems

  • Software as a Service (Saas) – Includes the previous two services, along with the use of cloud-based apps that are offered on the platform

Why use multi-cloud?

Some platforms may offer more, others may be more specialized or have a technology that functions more to a firm’s liking. With so many options available, it may be difficult to settle on which is right for any given company. The good news is businesses have the option to use multiple platforms. This is where the multi-cloud strategy comes in. A multi-cloud strategy is one where a business leverages the capabilities of these various cloud platforms to their needs all on a single network.

A multi-cloud strategy provides:

  • Improve Business Agility

    A multi-cloud approach lets the business stand up the necessary resources in any of their clouds, in any format required, and can have these resources ready for use in a matter of minutes.

  • Freedom of Choice

    In using more than one platform, a firm can avoid being dependent on a single vendor for products or services.

  • Reduce Business Risk

    By using multiple clouds, downtime can be minimized should one provider have an outage. If one provider network goes down, workloads/apps/processes can be run on another cloud provider.

  • Reduce Costs

    By 2020, approximately 60% of businesses have moved workloads to the cloud with many of them reporting cost reductions.

Over 90% of companies using the cloud in 2020 have also engaged in using multiple cloud platforms.

Though they differ, the concepts of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud aren’t mutually exclusive. Many assume you must choose one type of model and stick to that path, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. A business may choose to keep some data in a private cloud environment while having some data uploaded in a public cloud environment across multiple platforms. When the latter occurs, having the means to track the costs across these platforms is a good practice to avoid overspending. Tools like our Multi-Cloud Cost Management dashboard make that possible.

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