Multi Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: Understanding Differences and Strategies

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, Cloud
Multi Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: Understanding Differences and Strategies 710 0

Cloud computing is not a new technology in the world of information technology (IT). But because it has revolutionized the way businesses run, it is still a hot topic in the industry, particularly as hybrid and multi cloud environments further enhance operations.

These terms are often used interchangeably because they offer many of the same benefits, such as mobility, cost savings, and access to leading hardware. But there are critical differences that are important for current and aspiring cloud professionals to understand. This article will take a deep dive into what hybrid cloud and multi cloud deployments are, what makes them important, and why more companies are using them. 

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Understanding Hybrid Cloud vs Multi Cloud

To really grasp what these things are, you have to first know the difference between public cloud and private cloud infrastructure. Public clouds are third-party platforms offered by prominent public cloud providers (aka large tech enterprises), such as Microsoft Azure, Oracle, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These companies offer a variety of computing resources over the Internet to their customers using the large data centers that they own. 

Public cloud platforms are often similar but are not directly interchangeable or interoperable. Each has its own set of computing resources and services that are accessed using unique APIs, which means they all have strengths and weaknesses. When a company migrates to the public cloud, that business may eventually adopt a multi-cloud strategy that engages multiple public cloud vendors.

Private clouds are services that are run on-site and used by a single company. Unlike the huge public cloud providers, which offer a ton of resources to their customers, private clouds are usually used for specific or specialist workloads. 

What is Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud environment is made up of three basic components: 

  • On-premises computing involves an organization running and managing computing resources, networking, storage, and software on hardware and servers at its own physical location, such as an office building or an on-premises data center.
  • A public cloud hosting resources like individual virtual machines (VM) and services over the public internet. They are usually used for:  
    • Computing, storage, and networking resources.
    • Developing, running, and managing cloud-native applications.
    • Running end-user applications
  • A private cloud combining many of the benefits of cloud computing with the security and control of on-premises IT infrastructure. 

What is Multi Cloud?

Multi-cloud environments use a combination of two or more public cloud services – but not a mix of both public and private. The most common multi-cloud strategy is for a company to combine services from different public cloud providers. An organization taking the multi cloud approach to be more flexible and risk-averse by avoiding becoming dependent on a single provider. It allows businesses to distribute assets, software, applications, and more across several cloud environments, utilizing different infrastructures depending on their specific performance and cost-effectiveness.

What is Multi cloud

Differentiating Multi Cloud and Hybrid Cloud

As cloud computing continues to evolve, businesses face critical decisions choosing between a hybrid and multi cloud deployment. Hybrid cloud computing involves integrating private cloud infrastructure, such as an enterprise’s own data center, with one or more public cloud services. These components typically work together to achieve business goals, offering a cohesive environment managed as a single entity. Multi-cloud computing involves integrating multiple public cloud services, usually to perform different functions. 

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud

  • Combines on-premises/private cloud resources with public cloud scalability to handle peak demands efficiently.
  • Optimizes costs by using public clouds for non-critical workloads while keeping sensitive data and critical applications in the private cloud.
  • Offers flexible workload placement, allowing data and applications to move seamlessly between private and public clouds based on requirements.
  • Provides greater control over sensitive data by keeping it in the private cloud, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Ensures high availability and disaster recovery capabilities by leveraging public clouds for failover and backup solutions.
  • Balances workloads between private and public clouds to optimize performance and resource utilization.
  • Facilitates rapid development and deployment of new applications in the public cloud while maintaining stability for core business operations in the private cloud.

Benefits of Multi Cloud

  • By distributing workloads across multiple cloud providers, organizations can avoid vendor lock-in, enabling them to choose services and features that best suit their requirements.
  • Access to a wide range of services and capabilities offered by different cloud providers allows organizations to select the most suitable services for each workload.
  • Distributing workloads across multiple cloud providers reduces the impact of potential service outages or performance issues, ensuring high availability and fault tolerance.
  • Leveraging multiple public cloud providers offers significant scalability, with each provider capable of handling large-scale workloads.

Use Cases and Scenarios

Hybrid Cloud Strategy

  • Regulated Industries: Industries such as healthcare, finance, and government, where data privacy and compliance are critical, benefit from keeping sensitive data in a private cloud while using public clouds for less sensitive workloads.
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Organizations can use the hybrid approach to maintain critical services in a private cloud with the ability to failover to a public cloud in case of a disaster, ensuring business continuity.
  • Application Modernization: Enterprises can modernize legacy applications by keeping them in a private cloud while developing new applications in a public cloud, facilitating a gradual transition to cloud-native architectures.
  • Edge computing: Hybrid cloud strategies are particularly advantageous for supporting edge computing, which involves processing data closer to where it is generated rather than relying solely on centralized cloud data centers. By integrating private cloud infrastructure and public cloud services, data is processed at the edge (closer to the data source) while still maintaining a connection to centralized cloud resources, reducing latency and improving response times for critical applications.

Multi-Cloud Strategy:

  • Global Reach and Performance Optimization: Companies with a global presence can deploy services in multiple public clouds closer to their user base, reducing latency and improving performance.
  • Cost Optimization: Organizations can choose different cloud providers based on pricing models, taking advantage of cost savings offered by various providers for different services.
  • Risk Mitigation: By distributing workloads across multiple public clouds, organizations can enhance resilience and reduce the impact of a single cloud provider's outage or service disruption.

Both hybrid and multi-cloud strategies offer substantial benefits, but realizing these advantages requires a skilled workforce, and today the personnel just aren’t there. These are extremely complex environments to manage. Organizations must invest in training their existing staff and hire skilled professionals when they can who understand the intricacies of hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. 

Security and Governance

Large companies operating in different regions encounter diverse regulatory requirements. Smart organizations are using a few techniques to effectively navigate these complexities amd ensure robust protection and compliance, regardless of the type of cloud infrastructure they have. These include:

  • Automation and orchestration tools to streamline security and governance processes across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
  • Security training and awareness for staff to ensure they are knowledgeable about security best practices and protocols.
  • Vendor collaboration to leverage their native security tools and expertise because most vendors constantly update their security capabitliies.

Now let's look at a few tactics cloud teams can take based on the type of cloud deployment they have to manage. 

Hybrid Cloud

  • Use federated identity management to provide seamless access controls across different environments.
  • Ensure data is encrypted both in transit and at rest across all environments. Implement robust backup and disaster recovery plans.
  • Implement consistent security policies across private and public clouds to ensure compliance and data protection.

Multi-Cloud:

  • Apply standardized security frameworks and best practices across all cloud providers to maintain a consistent security posture.
  • Utilize centralized monitoring and management tools to maintain visibility and control over security across multiple clouds.
  • Continuously monitor and audit cloud environments to ensure adherence to compliance and regulatory requirements.

Case Studies and Real-World Examples

Equinix and Microsoft Azure

Equinix provides Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute™ deployments to deliver faster connections to Azure, with superior data privacy and security. A major integrated health system provider, which includes 7,300 physicians and over 45 ambulatory, needed a capable cloud platform to host its Epic EHRs system. The health system provider chose to go with a collaboration of Microsoft Azure and Equinix for Azure ExpressRoute and cloud adjacency support. The partnership between Equinix and Azure offers advanced interconnection solutions that allow the provider to achieve digital transformation with enhanced data privacy, agile transformation, and optimal performance. 

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola moved to the cloud in 2013 when it signed a partnership with AWS. It has since reduced its operational costs by 40 percent and IT ticket volume by 80 percent and accelerated its digital transformation. And just recently, Coca-Cola adopted a multi-cloud strategy by expanding to Microsoft Azure. Part of its $1.1 billion deal with Azure includes experimenting with Azure OpenAI Services for generative AI use cases and testing for Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Ampersand

Ampersand provides multiscreen TV inventory and viewership insights, and now uses Pure Storage's platform to increase data resilience, flexibility, and performance in support of its hybrid cloud strategy, optimizing TV campaigns and delivering unparalleled data insights to customers. Today, its cloud infrastructure strategy involves migrating on-premises data to AWS while using Pure Storage's platform to simplify data storage and enable seamless scalability.

Future Trends and Considerations

The need for companies to embrace multiple cloud and hybrid cloud environments is only going to grow. They can now choose from the best services a provider has to offer rather than relying on a single vendor for everything. When done right, businesses become more agile and profitable. But the startling trend standing in their way is the serious lack of professionals skilled in cloud management.

If you’re in the midst of trying to make your cloud infrastructure more flexible, you need the personnel to do it. When you can’t recruit the right people for the job, it’s up to you to ensure your team learns the necessary skills. You can either develop a learning and development program to keep up with the evolving cloud technologies and best practices, or partner with an organization that specializes in certification training for different cloud platforms. 

Conclusion: Navigating the Multi Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Landscape

Cloud computing has dramatically reshaped the IT world, and hybrid and multi-cloud environments represent the forefront of this transformation. They are the solution to an array of business needs, but the potential of these advanced cloud strategies often remains untapped due to a significant skills gap within the industry.

The hybrid cloud combines the security and control of private cloud infrastructure with the scalability and cost-effectiveness of public clouds. Multi-cloud strategies provide vendor flexibility, service diversity, and risk mitigation by distributing workloads across multiple public cloud providers, optimizing global reach, and performance. Despite their benefits, bthey introduce complexity that requires a skilled workforce to manage effectively. 

The shortage of cloud professionals is a pressing issue, with millions of cloud-related roles projected to remain unfilled in the coming years. New Horizons offers specialized training and certifications designed to equip your staff with the necessary skills to efficiently manage and navigate these complex cloud environments. Take the next step in securing your company's future—contact New Horizons today to explore training options and empower your team.

 

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