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05 Oct 2023

Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud – How Do They Compare?

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Sharon Duchin
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The cloud has revolutionized the way businesses operate, providing unprecedented scalability, cost savings, and flexibility. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know which cloud approach is right for your organization. Should you choose hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, or something else?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud, and how Teridion’s cloud networking solutions can help you maximize both approaches. We’ll discuss the features, benefits, and challenges of each so you can find the best solution for your needs.

Choosing the right solution: Hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud

Cloud computing is quickly becoming the go-to choice for organizations of all sizes that are looking to reduce IT costs and increase scale. Cloud computing involves the delivery of computing services over the internet, including storage, servers, databases, software, and networking. It can be used to provide a range of services from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms.

When it comes to leveraging cloud computing technologies and services from multiple providers, two different approaches have emerged: hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. Both hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures offer advantages over traditional on-premises solutions but differ in their approach.

At their core, hybrid clouds and multi-cloud implementations involve combining resources from multiple cloud service providers into a single architecture for maximum flexibility and control. The difference between them lies in how they use these resources: while a hybrid cloud combines resources from both public and private clouds within a single environment, a multi-cloud architecture leverages resources from multiple public clouds separately and manages them as one system.

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What is multi-cloud?

Multi-cloud is a cloud computing strategy in which an organization uses multiple cloud service providers for its various needs. This approach allows companies to get the most benefit from different cloud services providers with differentiated features and capabilities, such as storage, computing power, or security measures. Using multiple clouds lets organizations optimize performance, cost, and functionality. 

Additionally, a multi-cloud setup allows businesses to safeguard redundancy and reliability by having backup systems in place in case a vendor suffers an outage or other issue. By not being tied down to just one vendor, organizations have more flexibility to change their technology stack or scale up services without needing to completely overhaul their architecture. Furthermore, because data is spread across multiple cloud providers, chances of data loss are reduced as well.

Finally, adopting a multi-cloud approach enables organizations to use specialized cloud services that may be offered by some vendors but not others. This could include specific types of machine learning and analytics tools or enhanced security measures that are necessary for certain applications and workloads.

By leveraging the capabilities of several vendors through a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can gain access to more resources while ensuring better performance than if they were using just one provider’s services.

What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines the use of both private and public cloud infrastructure. This setup allows organizations to get the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud, while still having control over sensitive data and applications on their own private cloud. The hybrid cloud approach is particularly attractive for businesses that need to ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA or FERPA.

In a hybrid cloud setup, an organization can move workloads back and forth between its own dedicated data center infrastructure and offsite public cloud environments such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure with ease. This makes it easier for organizations to use existing investments in hardware alongside newer cloud technologies when needed while providing more control over where data is stored than a purely public or private deployment would allow.

Hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud: What are the key differences?

Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architecture

The main difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud lies in their respective architectures. Hybrid cloud combines public cloud infrastructure with private on-premise or private third-party resources. Multi-cloud involves public cloud providers only and uses multiple distinct public cloud providers for different purposes. This means that a hybrid cloud approach allows customers to integrate and manage resources across different cloud environments, while a multi-cloud approach emphasizes using multiple vendors to obtain additional services or to optimize performance.

Cost

When it comes to pricing, a hybrid cloud model often leads to increased expenses for a company, particularly if the private cloud infrastructure is on their premises because this involves acquiring, overseeing, and maintaining the necessary resources. In contrast, using public cloud services cuts the need for upfront financial commitments. As a result, opting for multi-cloud solutions that rely on public cloud resources proves to be a more economically viable choice for both deployment and ongoing maintenance. Leveraging the substantial purchasing power of public cloud vendors grants multi-cloud users access to cutting-edge technology at a more affordable cost.

Data storage

Data storage is another key area where there are differences between these two approaches. Hybrid clouds allow customers to store data both in public and private services, which provides better control over sensitive information. While multi-cloud models can’t provide this level of control, they excel in other areas of data storage, including infinite storage space, added protection against outages, stronger backup and disaster recovery possibilities, and other issues affecting single vendors.

Security

In terms of security, hybrid cloud environments often provide a higher degree of control and customization, as sensitive data can be kept on-premises while leveraging public clouds for less critical workloads. This can simplify compliance with regulations and reduce the attack surface. Multi-cloud security, however, involves navigating diverse security protocols and policies across different providers, increasing the complexity of managing identities, access controls, and data encryption consistently. As a result, a comprehensive security strategy is essential in a multi-cloud setup to ensure uniform protection and mitigate the risk of misconfigurations and potential vulnerabilities across various cloud platforms.

Control

One notable security edge of adopting a hybrid cloud infrastructure is the ability for organizations to exert control over physical access to their private cloud hardware. This is particularly relevant in industries subject to stringent regulatory frameworks. In contrast, in the realm of multi-cloud solutions, companies have diminished authority over individuals with access to the underlying physical infrastructure, although these resources are typically safeguarded by multiple layers of robust security protocols.

Flexibility

The flexibility differences between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies are significant. Both can be flexible, but in different ways. Hybrid cloud offers flexibility by enabling easy integration of on-premises infrastructure with public cloud resources. This allows organizations to dynamically allocate workloads based on specific requirements, such as keeping sensitive data in a private environment while leveraging public clouds for scalability and cost savings.

A hybrid setup is particularly beneficial for scenarios requiring high control over certain operations while benefiting from the agility of the cloud. In contrast, multi-cloud provides flexibility by allowing businesses to choose and use multiple public cloud services from different providers. This approach optimizes performance, cost, and resilience by enabling organizations to select the best services for specific tasks and avoid vendor lock-in. Multi-cloud strategies allow businesses to tailor their cloud usage to best fit their diverse needs, taking advantage of different features, pricing models, and geographical coverage offered by various providers.

 

Ultimately, choosing between hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud solutions is a question of business needs. Hybrid clouds provide greater control for customers who need to keep certain applications or data within their own premises for security purposes while still utilizing the power and cost savings of public services. They are suitable for those looking for tighter integration among various systems. Multi-cloud offers more flexibility, agility, and redundancy with access to specialized services and customization from multiple providers.

 

Multi-Cloud

Hybrid Cloud

What are they?

Uses two or more public clouds, like Google, Azure or AWS

Combines the use of both public and private clouds

Security

Increases the complexity of managing identities, access controls, and data encryption

Often provides a higher degree of control and customization

Data Storage

Offers infinite storage space, added protection against outage and disaster recovery

Stores data both in public and private services for better control over sensitive information

Flexibility

Lets you select the best services for specific tasks and avoid vendor lock-in

Better for scenarios requiring high control over certain operations 

Analytics

Requires third-party performance analytics 

Uses native performance statistics

Cost Efficiency

More economically viable for both deployment and ongoing maintenance

If the private cloud infrastructure is on company premises, this can lead to increased costs due to capex

Can a hybrid cloud be a multi-cloud?

It is indeed possible for a hybrid cloud to incorporate multiple cloud service providers, which is often called a “multi-cloud architecture”. This approach can provide organizations with an even greater level of flexibility and security than just using a single provider. By employing multiple cloud services, businesses can maximize the unique offerings of different vendors while also ensuring reliability and redundancy in the event of an outage or other issue.

Organizations that choose to adopt this approach can utilize different cloud service providers for specific workloads or applications within their hybrid infrastructure. For example, they may choose to use one provider for their web hosting needs, another for storage solutions, and a third for database services. Conversely, a multi-cloud configuration cannot be classified as a hybrid cloud since it lacks the incorporation of a private cloud resource.

Teridion: Get the most from your hybrid cloud or multi-cloud deployment

Teridion is an AI-powered network as a service platform that specializes in the performance, reliability, and security of cloud-based environments. Our patented technology provides organizations with an enhanced experience when deploying any cloud-based architecture. 

As a cloud-native solution, Teridion allows businesses to accelerate to the cloud seamlessly. We connect hundreds of points of presence and 25 cloud service providers such as Amazon, Azure, and Google, through our agile network architecture. Our solutions improve connectivity and application performance across hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures by optimizing traffic routing, reducing latency, and providing easy integration across multiple cloud service providers. 

Additionally, our focus on security through encryption and secure connections improves data protection. We offer comprehensive solutions for optimizing network performance in distributed computing environments including remote and hybrid work setups, so businesses can keep their data safe while still taking advantage of the scalability of the public cloud.

Teridion’s experienced team is available to consult with organizations on how to best optimize their specific hybrid cloud or multi-cloud infrastructure with its offerings. By leveraging our expertise in this field, businesses can ensure that they are getting the most out of their investments in these technologies. Explore Teridion’s offerings to find out how we can help your organization increase efficiency while maintaining security requirements.

How to choose the right cloud option for your business

Assess current infrastructure

When considering the decision to use a hybrid or multi-cloud solution, it is important to first assess your current infrastructure. Take stock of the hardware, software, and cloud services already in place and identify any gaps or areas that may require improvement. This will help you determine if a hybrid or multi-cloud solution is the best fit for your current IT environment.

Evaluate business goals

It is also important to consider the business goals that will be impacted by your choice of cloud solution. Are you looking to reduce costs, increase data security, or improve scalability? Understanding the overall objectives of the business will help you determine if a hybrid or multi-cloud solution is the best option to meet those goals.

Analyze available cloud options

Once you have identified your business objectives, it is time to analyze the available cloud options. Research different providers and services to determine which ones are the best fit for your organization. Evaluate features such as pricing, scalability, security, customer support, and ease of integration.

To recap, the most important thing to consider when deciding between a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud option is the specific business requirements. Depending on the size of the organization, the types of applications and workloads that need to be supported, as well as the specific security and compliance requirements, different cloud options may be more appropriate.

Time and effort spent on cloud migration

Hybrid cloud migration typically involves moderate time and effort, as it requires integrating existing on-premises infrastructure with a public cloud, and often necessitates custom configurations and ensuring data consistency across environments. Multi-cloud migration can be more time-consuming and complex, as it involves moving workloads and data across multiple public cloud providers, each with different architectures, tools, and services, requiring detailed planning and orchestration. While hybrid cloud may involve less frequent migrations after initial setup, multi-cloud demands continuous management and optimization across diverse platforms.

Reliability

Hybrid cloud boosts reliability by keeping critical apps and sensitive data on-premises or in private clouds while using public clouds for less critical tasks, reducing the risk of downtime from public cloud outages. Multi-cloud takes reliability a step further by spreading workloads across multiple cloud providers, so if one goes down, others keep things running smoothly. Both setups add redundancy, but multi-cloud shines with its extra resilience thanks to multiple independent clouds.

Vendor lock-in

Hybrid cloud can still lead to some vendor lock-in since it often relies on a primary public cloud provider alongside on-premises infrastructure, making it harder to switch away from that cloud service. Multi-cloud significantly reduces vendor lock-in by spreading workloads across multiple cloud providers, giving businesses the flexibility to switch providers or use the best features from each. This approach prevents dependency on any single vendor, offering more freedom and negotiation power.

Performance

Hybrid cloud offers optimized performance by allowing sensitive or latency-critical workloads to run on-premises or in private clouds, while less demanding tasks can leverage the scalability of public clouds. Multi-cloud enhances performance by enabling the selection of the best-performing cloud provider for specific tasks, ensuring workloads run on the most suitable infrastructure available. However, managing performance across multiple providers can be more complex in a multi-cloud setup due to variations in service architectures and capabilities.

When to use multi-cloud?

An organization that requires a high degree of scalability and flexibility is likely to benefit from a multi-cloud option. This is because a multi-cloud approach allows the organization to access different cloud providers and choose the best solutions for their needs. Multi-cloud is also more cost-effective because it doesn’t require upfront capital expenditures or maintenance.

Example of multi-cloud

Microsoft is a notable example of a company that employs a multi-cloud strategy. Despite having its own cloud platform, Azure, Microsoft recognizes that its customers often use services from multiple cloud providers. To cater to this need, Microsoft has developed tools and services that work across different cloud environments. For instance, Microsoft’s Azure Arc allows customers to manage their Windows and Linux servers, Kubernetes clusters, and Azure data services across environments—on-premises, at the edge, or in public clouds like AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). A real-world example is how Microsoft helped Siemens Healthineers, a medical technology company, use Azure Arc to manage and govern their globally distributed Kubernetes applications running on Azure, AWS, and their own data centers. This multi-cloud approach enables Siemens Healthineers to choose the best cloud services for each workload, avoid vendor lock-in, and maintain a consistent management plan across their complex, distributed infrastructure. Microsoft’s embrace of multi-cloud demonstrates how even cloud providers are adapting to the reality of heterogeneous cloud environments.

When to use hybrid cloud?

On the other hand, if an organization requires a high degree of control and security, a hybrid cloud option is typically the more appropriate choice. This is because a hybrid cloud allows an organization to privately maintain some of its infrastructure on-premise and still get the scalability and flexibility of public cloud services for data and applications that don’t demand strict regulation or compliance measures.

By following these steps and considerations, you can be sure that you are making an informed decision regarding choosing between a hybrid or multi-cloud solution.

Example of hybrid cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a prime example of a company that utilizes a hybrid cloud approach for its own operations and offers hybrid cloud solutions to its customers. AWS recognizes that many enterprises have existing on-premises infrastructure or specific data residency requirements that prevent them from fully migrating to the public cloud. To address this, AWS provides services like AWS Outposts, which extends AWS infrastructure and services to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility. This allows companies to run AWS compute, storage, database, and other services locally while seamlessly connecting to the broader range of services available in the AWS cloud. For instance, a financial institution might use AWS Outposts to keep sensitive customer data on-premises to comply with regulations, while leveraging AWS’s public cloud for compute-intensive tasks like risk modeling or customer analytics. This hybrid approach enables organizations to enjoy the flexibility and scalability of the cloud while maintaining control over critical data and workloads.

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Sharon Duchin

Head of Marketing

Sharon Duchin is the Head of Marketing at Terdion. Prior to joining Teridion she was the CMO of several startups, as well as a Business Unit Manager at Keter Plastic and a Marketing Manager at General Mills USA. Sharon Holds an MBA from Chicago Booth and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Economics from the Hebrew University.
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