Guest Article

Key Differences Between Hybrid Cloud Vs Multi-Cloud – Which one to choose?

Madhu Kesavan, Founder & CEO, W2S Solutions.

Multicloud and hybrid clouds can be difficult to differentiate for organizations. The article offers a better understanding of cloud solutions and educates you on which architecture to choose from a stack of offerings.

The terms “multi-cloud” and “hybrid cloud” both describe cloud deployments that combine many clouds. The kind of cloud infrastructure that each one uses varies.

The IT industry is still flourishing as a result of cloud computing technology. Beyond just data storage and security, the cloud has offered other benefits. Private cloud infrastructures that could exclusively support a company’s data and workload were first recognized by the IT sector. With time, it became apparent that third-party companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft had developed the cloud-based solution, made it public, and were in control of it. The cloud now allows for the use of hybrid and multiple clouds.

Infrastructure, compliance, security, and many other elements are now part of the cloud ecosystem. Multiple clouds, either private or public, that are sourced from various vendors are included in a multi-cloud system. In contrast to a multi-cloud system, a hybrid cloud system is a cloud deployment paradigm that incorporates various cloud types. But what distinguishes a multi-cloud architecture from a hybrid one? The similarities and differences between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are thoroughly examined in this article.

Let’s dissect it.

What is a hybrid cloud?

Combining the public cloud with a private cloud that is only used by the end user is known as a hybrid cloud. Private clouds used to be housed inside the user’s firewall, on-premises, but nowadays they are more frequently constructed in rented, vendor-owned data centers off-site.

There are two key reasons that hybrid cloud differs from multi-cloud:

  • Typically, it combines both private and public clouds.
  • Instead of remaining in distinct silos, its processes and data frequently interact, enhancing one another.

Benefits and drawbacks of using hybrid cloud

What factors should businesses take into account before deciding on the hybrid cloud?

Scalability: Hybrid cloud offers many of the same benefits as multi-cloud does to an enterprise. Businesses may grow more quickly thanks to the combined computing power of public and private clouds, which enables them to swiftly create cloud architecture and scale computing up or down virtually instantly.

Computing speed: One advantage of hybrid cloud over multi-cloud is speed. Administrators can divide assets into segments when workloads are distributed across various cloud platforms. To meet particular demands, they might designate a private cloud platform, which would reduce latency and maintain the continuity of regular operations. They can develop in business while using public cloud applications like machine learning.

Alternatives: Over time, the definition of a hybrid cloud architecture has changed, and so have the available options for hybrid cloud computing. Organizations are combining hybrid cloud and edge computing more recently. This hybrid architecture combines edge devices with public clouds, employing the latter either in place of or in addition to private clouds. Edge computing describes data produced by an Internet of Things (IoT) device closest to its source. Additionally lowering latency and accelerating data retrieval is using edge devices in conjunction with cloud computing.

Security: On the public cloud side, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud both have advantages and downsides in terms of security. But in the private cloud, companies might be able to use more advanced encryption techniques and choose their configurations and standards for data security.

Personnel: With multi-cloud, employees who wish to master these platforms must put in twice as much or more effort to get certified and trained. For companies, however, that have experience with just one kind of public clouds, such as AWS or Azure, a hybrid cloud strategy might be a good fit.

Costs: When compared to running a data center, managed private clouds can help enterprises save money. Nevertheless, businesses who opt to design their private cloud that will need to hire personnel to build and maintain that environment. This results in more work needed to create and manage a private cloud.

What is multi-cloud?

Simply said, multi-cloud refers to a company’s use of a variety of cloud services, including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. These cloud services are open to the public and frequently come from a wide range of cloud providers. Public clouds are those where companies or individuals contract with a third party, such as Amazon, Microsoft, or Google, to host their infrastructure and/or applications.

A business could decide to use numerous clouds for some reasons, including

  • Obtaining best-in-class outcomes for various criteria and divisions
  • Lowering expenses and increasing flexibility
  • Preventing vendor monopoly
  • Reducing reliance on a specific provider

Whatever the motivation behind their multi-cloud approach, organizations typically need to operate their public clouds in conjunction with other kinds of cloud environments to completely meet all of their needs.

Benefits and drawbacks of using a multi-cloud platform

What should businesses think about before implementing a multi-cloud strategy?

Innovation: More companies are now utilizing multi-cloud architecture to address various issues and provide their workforce with new resources. With these new capabilities, organizations may pick the best tools and promote more innovation. For instance, a public cloud platform with machine learning capabilities, might be demanded by software engineers, but legal and financial departments may need more precise control over who can access critical data.

Processing power: Using an additional cloud platform might give a high-demand company access to more computing power.

Flexibility: If their needs change over time, some firms don’t want to be tied down to a contract with a single cloud provider. They can scale more readily and switch their attention from one platform to another if necessary with various public cloud environments. Users can migrate data and applications across or among platforms with ease thanks to multi-cloud, which makes use of two or more cloud platforms of the same type. This aids the organization’s disaster recovery efforts and data backup.

Security: Regardless of the architecture a company chooses, security in the cloud should always be given first consideration. Shared responsibility is the operating model used by public cloud computing platforms. The end user is in charge of maintaining the integrity of the data they store within that cloud platform, the cloud provider protects the security of the cloud itself. Administrators using a multi-cloud strategy must understand the security settings and identity and access management (IAM) rules for each platform.

Personnel: Cloud architects that are knowledgeable about each platform are needed for a multi-cloud approach. It will take twice as much labor to obtain certifications from two platforms, AWS and Azure. Additionally, if a company is growing, it can have a hard time finding new employees with multi-cloud experience.

Costs: Multi-cloud initiatives frequently leverage public cloud platforms, they may be less expensive for businesses to run than on-premises resources. But managing several cloud environments can be difficult. Businesses must constantly be aware of the costs associated with cloud computing to avoid overspending on any platform. By naming resources to link them back to the appropriate departments for payment purposes, a smart cloud tagging approach can help decrease complexity in public clouds. Administrators can discover cost-saving options and comprehend chargebacks by utilizing a cloud management platform.

Key Differences Between Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud

The existence of a private cloud, frequently hosted by on-premise data centers, is the primary distinction between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud computing. The term hybrid cloud refers to the use of a private cloud by a company. A private cloud that can be hosted on or off-premises is used in hybrid cloud computing in every case. Multi-cloud environments consist of two or more public clouds, so these phrases overlap quite a bit.

Diversifying providers became simpler as the number of cloud service providers increased. It became more difficult to control cloud solutions as businesses wanted to harness various configurations to maximize their business processes.

To achieve increased reliability, performance, and expansion, hybrid clouds use both existing infrastructure and public cloud providers, as opposed to multi-clouds which use a multitude of public cloud providers. Multi-clouds can include on-premise infrastructure and mix different types, but some providers offer private multi-clouds. On-premises infrastructure is complemented by various types of clouds (public and private) within a hybrid cloud.

By combining existing infrastructure with public cloud providers, hybrid clouds can increase reliability, and performance, and expand compared to multi-clouds that use numerous public clouds.

Over 30% of large-enterprise firms would need to justify anything other than a cloud-only strategy for new IT initiatives, claims Gartner. They also forecast that by 2021, more than half of cloud-using enterprises will adopt a cloud-first strategy.

Below is a table that illustrates how multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments differ

Multi Cloud Hybrid Cloud
The usage of two or more public clouds, such as AWS, Azure, and Google multi-Cloud, is referred to as multi-cloud. Private and public clouds are combined in hybrid clouds, such as an OpenStack private cloud and AWS.
Multiple public clouds are required Multiple public clouds are required, but it is based on the requirements.
Data security –  Cloud providers protect users’ data. Data security – Whether in the public or private cloud, user data is secure.
Data can be transferred from cloud to cloud It is possible to share cloud data between them
Operational tools from third parties should be prioritized. Priority should be given to native operations tools.
Using third-party clouds and controlling costs will be the focus of Multi-Cloud. Using native cloud technology and controlling costs will be the key components of the Hybrid Cloud.

When choosing a cloud strategy, what should you consider?

Each public cloud provider has unique cost structures, as well as unique strengths and drawbacks. It takes a lot of reflection to develop a cloud strategy, including evaluation of current workloads, databases, networks, SLAs, storage requirements, and other factors. After that, businesses can start mapping their present and upcoming workload plans to the services provided by public cloud providers.

When using a multi-cloud strategy, the location of the other business IT components must be taken into account. For instance, if using a hybrid strategy, the database servers, authentication resources, monitoring, and management processes would all normally be placed on-premises. These resources would need to be housed somewhere and have access to all enterprise-wide resources to enable seamless operations if using a multi-cloud but not hybrid-cloud approach.

  1. Cloud-first and multi-cloud: Moving to a cloud-first strategy involves the entire organization, not just IT, and calls for a comprehensive approach to the rapidly expanding field of business technology that aids in defining objectives and results. Enterprises should be aware that not all applications are appropriate for the cloud, and that adopting a cloud-first strategy does not necessitate the instant abandonment of all on-premises workloads. Until they are thoroughly refactored, certain enterprise apps won’t ever be moved to public cloud providers.
  2. Continuous placement assessment: The best provider for a workload now could not be the best provider for that workload a month from now since cloud provider offerings are continually evolving. Furthermore, technology vendors are also providing subscription pricing schemes that can change the OpEx/CapEx debates that in the past led many firms to adopt cloud services. Determining whether workloads are candidates for migration to a new cloud provider or even whether they should be migrated to a private cloud to take advantage of favorable vendor pricing requires constant evaluation of workloads.
  3. Make future plans: Moving to the cloud is a continuous process. As apps, on-premises resources, and cloud provider architecture expand, tasks such as learning new skills, understanding how different providers differ from one another, and creating process improvement plans based on cloud provider capabilities must be continually iterated.
  4. Focus on governance and management: Multi-cloud governance is considerably more difficult due to its complexity. Many businesses are unaware of the full footprint their IT departments have within the cloud because business units can launch their own services with simply a credit card. Businesses that can monitor cloud service use can start to manage their multi-cloud, hybrid IT system as a single entity, or at the absolute least, make sure that everything under their control is appropriately managed to satisfy regulatory requirements.
  5. Discover the ideal tools for the ideal cloud: Organizations can create a tool strategy that spans many clouds by abstracting the tools layer provided by each cloud provider. Despite the fact that each cloud provider has their own unique set of management and deployment tools. Kubernetes can offer cloud orchestration capabilities that enable the deployment of applications on a single cloud, a hybrid cloud, or a hybrid multi-cloud environment. Enterprises can cut down on the time needed to train both IT personnel and users by investing in a coordinated tool strategy for management and orchestration. This eliminates many of the issues that arise with multi-cloud deployments.
  6. Think of the cloud as a whole, including SaaS: Applications hosted on-premises, on an IaaS platform, or on a PaaS platform may eventually become obsolete or be replaced by less expensive SaaS solutions. Every business should regularly assess its cloud computing needs to determine how to improve its overall cloud computing positions. Whether a workload should be hosted elsewhere, and whether it needs to refactor older or legacy applications to benefit from more agile, cloud-native ones that are better suited to current cloud environments.

In the end, both models give firms the accuracy to offer commercial services in an effective and efficient manner, despite the fact that the language may be complex. Whatever name you give it, using many clouds is a trend that won’t go away.

Conclusion

Which choice is the best? It’s really challenging to respond to such a question. Ultimately, IT has become a strategic resource that supports the business. Choosing the right cloud model for your business requires careful consideration of your needs.

Ideally, your IT department should thoroughly evaluate the business’s requirements. A cloud-based environment was typically chosen by businesses aiming to scale and significantly modify their goods and processes. On the other side, a hybrid cloud environment may be preferred by stronger, more complicated, and more seasoned businesses. However, these requirements will vary for each business with the same qualities.

Different cloud deployment strategies, such as multi-cloud and hybrid cloud configurations, are tailored to particular use cases. Both models provide excellent corporate services and easy access to cloud computing platforms. However, be sure to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of various cloud deployment models before choosing one for a workload or moving data to a new cloud.

As a result, before choosing a model that is best suited to their particular company objectives, interested stakeholders and decision-makers should be aware of the distinctions between the hybrid and multi-cloud strategies.

Profile:

Madhu Kesavan is the Founder & CEO of W2S Solutions, a globally recognized digital transformation company empowering enterprises and governments in their digital journey. With 20+ years in the IT market, he makes his vision for a sustainable future come true by leveraging technology.

By Madhu Kesavan, Founder & CEO, W2S Solutions

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