Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud. What's the difference?

Amy Gregory, Product Marketing Director

2017-11-17_multicloud_blog.jpgIn today’s digital world, terms like Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud are thrown around interchangeably.  But there is a difference, and understanding it is key to getting the most out of your cloud strategy.

Gartner has predicted that by 2020, a corporate “no cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no Internet” policy is today. Similarly, IDC predicts that, by 2020, 67% of enterprise IT infrastructure and software will be cloud-based offerings.  

Both hybrid and multi-cloud solutions have their use cases, but a new breed of applications and services is driving the need for highly flexible service delivery, pushing multi-cloud to the forefront of today’s cloud conversations. But which approach is most appropriate for your unique needs?

Multi-Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Difference?

TechTarget defines Hybrid cloud as a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of an on-premises, private cloud and a third-party, public cloud, with orchestration between the two. The intent is to enable the flexible deployment of workloads, applications and data across private and public clouds.

On the other hand, Multi-Cloud refers to a combination of multiple public cloud services and providers.  These aren’t necessarily managed through orchestration software and could very well be separate deployments where never the twain shall meet. 

When Does a Hybrid Approach Make Sense?

While there are still many misconceptions around hybrid cloud, hybrid cloud deployments are frequently found in large enterprises with significant investments in IT infrastructure and large, skilled IT teams. This approach provides the flexibility to leverage the existing IT infrastructure to test a cloud deployment without the risk of making a full switch.

The approach is ideal for organizations that already have a virtualized environment. It allows for a slow migration to the cloud by retiring old equipment as it reaches end-of-life and using an orchestration solution to switch virtualized workloads.

But... Multi-Cloud Sounds Good Too.

It’s hard to argue with one of the big benefits of mult-cloud – CHOICE. The ability to operate from anywhere and move and deploy workloads to any cloud brings a plethora of options to a cloud strategy. You don’t have to change your business requirements to fit a specific provider’s processes, but multi-cloud allows you to shop around and find a provider that matches each part of your business.

One of the big benefits of a multi-cloud approach is the risk of being locked into a single cloud provider can be avoided. If you’re not housing all your data, apps and workloads with a single cloud vendor, you’re not at the mercy of that provider’s pricing and exit fees, or should you outgrow them, you’re not locked into just their cloud.

Additionally, we all acknowledge the reduced capital expenses that cloud offers, but downtime can be extremely costly to the bottom line. This is where finding the right cloud provider for specific areas of your business can help alleviate costly downtime – cloud provider services can vary, so the right combination of providers can be the ideal mix for your business needs, not to mention that in the case a provider fails, you’re not locked into just one cloud.

Businesses that are less locked down in terms of technology have more freedom to rapidly grow (and shrink) technology services in alignment with business need. Those businesses will have a lot more options and flexibility. This is perhaps the most compelling business case for a multi-cloud environment which incorporates multiple cloud vendors.

Is Hybrid Cloud or Multi-Cloud Right for You?

Ultimately, for most organizations it’s a combination of hybrid and multi-cloud that offers true flexibility in terms of cost, resilience and elasticity – especially for enterprises with existing on-premise data centers or private-cloud deployments. There is no “one size fits all” in a multi-cloud world, so no need to force-fit your workloads into one cloud. After all, your cloud starts with YOU.

Ready to look for a multi-cloud provider?  Get practical advice from this eBook.

Selecting a Best-In-Class Multi-Cloud Provider

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