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The term multi-cloud is sometimes used synonymously with hybrid cloud, but in fact they are not the same thing. The difference actually has nothing to do with the number of clouds in your environment, but instead, with the way they interact to perform a function.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), hybrid cloud is “two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).”
Said another way, a hybrid cloud solution is a mixture of clouds tasked with supporting a common goal. Hybrid cloud uses a combination of public and private cloud that interface between the public cloud and your on-premise infrastructure. These elements all have a one job: they work together to support a single task. Their cooperation results in workload optimization with correct timing in the right environment.
A multi-cloud solution is employed to serve a variety of purposes. It diversifies an entity’s environment by deploying multiple clouds from various vendors to perform more than one task. This approach makes sense for companies that have departments with different data management needs. The project management team may need to create a collaboration hub that supports secure document sharing, while the finance department is looking to glean insights from Big Data analytics. These departments both need a cloud solution but in different ways, so bringing in more than one provider with different features and software offerings could make sense.
A multi-cloud strategy might include hybrid cloud as a component, but a hybrid cloud solution isn’t always a multi-cloud one. Which one is right for you? Your decision to use more than one kind of cloud separately (multi-cloud) or a mixture of your own cloud infrastructure and third-party providers (hybrid cloud), or both, all depends on your unique application needs.Some organizations like a multi-cloud solution so they can experience working with different vendors and compare the levels of innovation offered and the quality of the relationships they develop. They may use this approach to try to create the lowest budget environment possible by picking and choosing offerings to combine from different providers. However, the complexities that arise from managing multiple environments can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s likely more cost effective for them to move their infrastructure to a service provider who can integrate the different environments into a single portal.
Hybrid cloud is slowly but surely becoming the new model for IT organizations and service providers. That means a mix of public and fully managed clouds that quickly enable scalability and growth while providing consistent uptime and cost management. The best solution for many businesses is a fully managed hybrid cloud, where the provider acts as a cloud aggregator and manages all your cloud environments for you within a single service. The benefits shouldn’t be ignored: The ability for an organization to see all of its cloud services in one window eliminates confusion between the different providers and gives the CIO more control over their IT spend, as well as clear visibility into current costs and uptime.
Whether you’re pursuing a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud strategy, Otava can help. Visit our cloud page to learn more, and reach out to us to talk through which cloud environment is best for your business.