Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: Which is Better for Your Business?

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: Which is Better for Your Business?

July 12, 2021 0 By Hoofer

So you’re planning to migrate to the cloud to boost the flexibility and availability of your business services? Well, you’re right. Deploying a single cloud is not an option for any business looking to scale its offerings.

That leaves you with two options: either embrace a multi-cloud strategy or set up a hybrid cloud. 

This article explores the main differences between the two deployment strategies. And recommends the most common case scenario to deploy either of the cloud computing strategies.

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: Definition

Hybrid and Multi-cloud deployments solve different business needs, which could explain their unique definitions.

Understanding hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud environment combines a public cloud with an on-premise data center or private cloud. Most businesses run an app code on a private cloud or data center before bursting into public clouds in cases of high traffic.

A hybrid cloud deployment demands a unified environment where separate systems communicate seamlessly and handle the same tech workloads.

Understanding multi-cloud

A multi-cloud environment uses multiple yet similar cloud services from different providers. Employing cloud services from multiple vendors has its benefits, such as:

  • No risk of vendor lock-in
  • Leveraging the best of most cloud worlds for each task and app
  • Having the right cloud solution for each team
  • A chance to select the most affordable cloud services

Multi-cloud infrastructures include providers such as:

  • IBM
  • Microsoft (Azure)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Bare Metal Cloud (BMC), and
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: Overview

Both hybrid cloud and multi-cloud deployments enable you to:

  • Achieve high levels of IT/tech flexibility
  • Scale cloud services as needed, with ease
  • Mix clouds to create an ideal structure for each use case 
  • Increase redundancy

While similar, the two cloud computing strategies differ in their architecture and other aspects – as discussed below.

Architecture

A hybrid cloud always consists of one or more on-premise systems or private cloud and one public cloud. To ensure a unified environment, the hybrid cloud infrastructure shares:

  • Unified logging, monitoring, and alerting stacks
  • Integrations between internal IT networks
  • One identity management system (IdM)

The resulting interconnectivity makes the public cloud an extension of the on-premise data center. levels

Unlike the hybrid cloud, multi-cloud infrastructure relies on a mix of multiple yet similar clouds without inter-cloud communication.

Furthermore, while the hybrid cloud stores sensitive data on in-house data centers or private clouds, multi-cloud stores its data on the public cloud. So you cannot use the multi-cloud system to store vital records.

Security

A hybrid cloud provides direct control over data and processes. It has a low risk of a data breach. You can keep the data more secure through:

  • Custom access control
  • Endpoint security
  • Data encryption
  • Reliable network security

The security of data in public clouds depends on the measures laid out by cloud service providers. When adopting multi-cloud, therefore, you must understand the IAM policies and configurations of each public cloud offering – to gauge the security of your stored data.

Storing regulation-bound data

A hybrid system is ideal if you have high regulatory standards for sensitive data. However, the security of the stored data largely depends on your in-house team capabilities.

Before storing sensitive data on public clouds, ensure the storage meets HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI regulations. IBM and other providers have available regions and zones that are legally suitable.

Vendor lock-in

The multi-cloud strategy makes changing providers easy and quick. You can change the service provider based on:

  • Geographical location
  • Service costs
  • New technological opportunities
  • And more.

The said flexibility is vital if you’re looking to respond to market changes promptly. The hybrid system lacks this flexibility due to the full integration between its systems.

Cloud migration

If you’re not ready to fully transition to the cloud, consider adopting a hybrid strategy. Here, you can leave some processes and data running on in-house data centers to make the migration less labor and time-intensive.

Availability

The multi-cloud strategy provides high availability and reliability. You can set up cloud backups in that; if one vendor has temporary issues, your workloads seamlessly shift to another cloud system. You can also set up personal public clouds as per user location – to prevent latency.

A hybrid system, on its end, has varying availability depending on your team’s ability to maintain the infrastructure and mitigate potential threats promptly. The system does not offer the flexibility of setting up public clouds as per user location.

Costs

In multi-cloud, you won’t incur any costs relating to in-house data centers; however, keep in mind the cloud deployment costs to avoid overspending.

A hybrid system has a relatively low risk of overspending; however, you must employ IT experts to develop and monitor the complex environment.

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: Selection Criteria

Selecting between the hybrid and multi-cloud systems comes down to your needs. Consider the following factors in your direction making process:

  • Security requirements

(If you have sensitive data, a hybrid cloud will suffice. However, you must train your in-house team on how to maintain the hybrid environment secure.)

  • The set budget

(If you’re tight on budget, choose a fully public cloud environment. Public clouds are relatively cheaper.)

  • Cloud migration readiness

(If you’re unable to fully move to the cloud, consider adopting a hybrid cloud system.)

  • Reliability

(Opt for a multi-cloud solution if your business is sensitive to any delays and downtime.)

  • Dependency on providers

(If you want to respond to market changes promptly, don’t lock yourself into a contract with a single vendor. Then multi-cloud is the way to go.

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: Which is Better for Your Business?

Although similar, multi-cloud and hybrid solutions fit different use cases. Both deployments will improve your business efficiency, but you understand the main differences between the two strategies to deploy the right solution for your needs.

Use hybrid cloud if:

  • You’re not ready to fully migrate to the cloud
  • You want a test run before you can migrate your workloads and resources
  • You want to maintain your in-house data center
  • You prefer a unified environment across multiple systems
  • You’re not ready to work with different providers yet
  • Your business can tolerate some downtime without affecting customer experience

Use multi-cloud if:

  • You’re already using public cloud services, only looking to expand
  • You want a public cloud as a part of your backup strategy
  • Your customer to reduce latency for customers in different locations
  • You have a big business, with each department having specific needs

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Henderson, Content Creator at Eleven Fifty Academy.

Angela-Henderson