Multi cloud and hybrid cloud are two terms that are frequently used interchangeably, but they don’t necessarily describe the same deployment strategy. Both hybrid and multi cloud provide similar advantages and disadvantages, but with a few key differences that could be critical to your organization. Let’s compare multi cloud vs hybrid cloud so you can determine which cloud deployment fits your data requirements and goals.
What is Hybrid Cloud?
A hybrid cloud deployment combines a public cloud with a private cloud and/or on-premises infrastructure. Your computing, storage, networking, and service resources are spread across multiple platforms, but with clear orchestration among them. The goal of a hybrid cloud deployment is to create a single, unified environment of applications and workloads that can easily move around as needed for performance optimization, failover, or to keep sensitive data close at hand.
To fully understand what makes a hybrid cloud different from a multi cloud, you need to understand the differences between a public cloud and a private cloud:
- A public cloud is hosted by a third-party provider, such as Amazon Web Service (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, who controls and manages all of the hardware resources.
- A private cloud uses data center infrastructure that may not be on premises, but you manage and control all of the hardware yourself (or pay for managed services so somebody else takes care of it for you).
- The key difference is that public cloud resources are shared by different businesses, whereas private cloud resources are dedicated to your organization.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both private and public cloud models, so many organizations choose a hybrid deployment to take advantage of the best parts of each. For example, if you need more control over physical and network security for a cloud database or application, you may want to keep it in a private cloud. However, building out a private cloud infrastructure can be very expensive, so you may want to keep less sensitive resources in a public cloud to take advantage of reduced hardware and maintenance costs. A hybrid cloud deployment allows you to have the best of both worlds while providing a seamless, unified environment.
What is Multi Cloud?
By comparison, a multi cloud deployment combines multiple public cloud platforms. There may or may not be any orchestration or unified management of a multi cloud deployment, but it’s definitely recommended. Often, a business will unintentionally end up with a multi cloud model after years of ad hoc migrations to whichever cloud platform happens to best support a particular workload.
There are many benefits to using a multi cloud model in addition to being able to choose the best cloud provider for your application or service:
- Deploying your resources across multiple providers and platforms allows you to avoid vendor lock-in, giving you more leverage to negotiate contract terms.
- You can potentially use a multi cloud deployment for disaster recovery and failover in case of an outage at one provider, or to provide load balancing for better application performance.
- You can implement multi cloud management tools and platforms to provide orchestration and management across all of your public clouds, giving you the same unified environment as a hybrid cloud deployment.
- Multi cloud deployments improve your security posture, because if there is a data breach at one provider, only your data on that platform is at risk.
- You can also distribute sensitive, regulated data across multiple compliance-certified cloud providers to further improve your data security.
Multi Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: Which is Right for You?
The challenge of comparing multi cloud vs hybrid cloud is that there is significant overlap in their advantages and disadvantages. In fact, they’re not even mutually exclusive terms—your hybrid cloud model can include multiple public cloud providers, turning it into a hybrid multi cloud deployment. However, if you’re on the fence about which deployment model to choose, you should consider the following:
- Cost. A private cloud is almost always significantly more expensive than a public cloud, because you’re paying for dedicated and, often, underutilized resources. Thus, a hybrid cloud deployment is typically more expensive than a multi cloud deployment.
- Orchestration. Though multi cloud orchestration is possible, it tends to be a little more challenging than hybrid cloud orchestration because not all public cloud platforms integrate well together. However, keep in mind that any orchestration across multiple providers is going to be difficult to manage whether you’re using a hybrid or multi cloud deployment.
- Scalability. Scaling up a private cloud requires purchasing, installing, and integrating more dedicated resources. Scaling up a public cloud can often be accomplished with a simple code change, making a multi cloud deployment model better for overall scalability.
Choosing the Right Cloud Deployment for Your Data Requirements
Overall, choosing either a multi cloud or hybrid cloud deployment will provide you with greater flexibility than keeping all of your infrastructure and services in one location. Choosing multi cloud vs hybrid cloud requires an analysis of your data requirements and business goals, as well as an in-depth evaluation of your potential public cloud providers to determine how you could best migrate your workloads.