Gone are the days of cloud environments being a luxury for the modern enterprise—today they are a complete necessity. For organizations across all industries, having the ability to choose the cloud environment that makes the most sense for the business is important.
But when it comes to the different types of clouds, it can quickly get confusing, specifically with names like hybrid cloud and multi-cloud.
The confusion between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud is compounded by the fact that they’re often used interchangeably. Although it can seem like a semantic argument, there is a real difference between the two, and the distinction will only continue to grow more important as multi-cloud models become the norm.
So, what are the differences between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud? Why would a company choose one or the other? Let’s break it down.
Simply put, multi-cloud means that an organization uses multiple cloud services—services like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. These cloud services are public, and are often from numerous different cloud providers. Public clouds are those in which businesses or individuals outsource application and/or infrastructure hosting to a third party, like Amazon, Microsoft, or Google.
There are a variety of reasons that a company might choose to use multiple clouds, including:
Whatever the reason for their multi-cloud strategy, an organization’s multiple public clouds usually need to operate in combination with other types of cloud environments to fully encompass all of the organization’s needs.
Enter: the hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud combines the public cloud with a private cloud, which is solely dedicated to the end-user. Traditionally, private clouds were located within the user’s firewall, on-premises, but now they are more commonly built on rented, vendor-owned data centers off-premises.
Hybrid cloud differs from multi-cloud in two big ways:
Similar to multi-cloud, there are some common reasons why businesses would choose to utilize a hybrid cloud:
Finding the right variety of cloud deployments and services comes down to a number of factors, such as:
A majority of the time public clouds come with less overhead than other types of similar infrastructures, making a multi-cloud model a good option for those looking to cut costs. The cloud vendor itself handles the responsibilities that come with maintaining a data center such as security updates and provisioning servers. This helps take those tasks, and expenses, off of the end-user.
As mentioned, a hybrid model allows businesses to utilize the scaling benefits of a public cloud with the privacy and security assurances of an on-premises infrastructure.
For institutions with highly confidential information—healthcare providers, financial firms, corporations, legal entities—it makes sense, and minimizes risk, to secure this data on private clouds.
At the end of the day, while the terminology may be complicated, both models offer organizations the precision to provide business services in an efficient and effective way. No matter what you call it, the use of multiple clouds is here to stay.
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