Multi Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud solutions, it’s all really the same thing, isn’t it?
In a world where it seems that the different terms for (and types of) Cloud solutions are increasing exponentially, many users find it difficult to differentiate between solutions that sound, to the layman, like they mean the same thing. RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud report indicates that the average business using Cloud is accessing at least 6 different Clouds – but is that a Hybrid or Multi Cloud solution?
When considering Multi Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud, the differences may seem insignificant, and many people, including those who ostensibly know what they’re talking about, use the terms interchangeably. To ensure your team is getting the Cloud solution that best suits your needs, it’s important to understand that while a Hybrid Cloud solution may involve a Multi-Cloud strategy (and vice versa), the two terms mean very different things.
Sound complicated? It’s not really. Let’s start with definitions to help draw the distinctions between the two.
What Does Multi Cloud Mean?
Multi Cloud is exactly what it says on the tin. Simply put, a Multi Cloud strategy involves using multiple Cloud services from multiple Cloud hosting providers. Basically, as Cloud adoption increases and businesses find new and innovative ways to leverage the technology, we’ve begun to realize that different Clouds are more suitable for different projects.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: not all Cloud is created equal. A team using Cloud for sharing sensitive data and collaborating on workloads has very different needs than a group that needs the powerful processing power of the Cloud for development or big data projects. One needs their Cloud service optimized for products like Exchange, SharePoint or Office 365 while that functionality means almost nothing to the other. Even two teams that are part of the same company may find they have very different Cloud needs, and therefore gravitate towards very different Cloud providers.
As Cloud technology moves to the mainstream and companies grow more comfortable in their new Cloudy world, many businesses recognize that not all Clouds are created equal, and employ multiple Cloud solutions to maximize the benefits they can reap from the technology. Others adopt a Multi Cloud solution to minimize their dependence on any one provider, and ensure they’re not locked into a single contract, lest they miss out on some new development from a competing Cloud provider.
So is it Public Cloud then? Or Private? Not necessarily either. A Multi Cloud strategy can employ Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud solutions, depending on the needs of individual companies. Basically, organizations relying on a Multi Cloud solution may be using Hybrid Cloud – in many cases, they are – but Multi Cloud does not automatically mean they must be using Hybrid. Get it?
So Isn’t Hybrid Cloud Automatically Multi-Cloud?
Nope. Hybrid Cloud refers to the strategy of using any two types of Cloud or hosting infrastructure in a single organization. Some Hybrid Cloud solutions use Public and Private Cloud to gain power and scalability while maintaining security. Some may use colocation servers to address redundancy and stability concerns. Other hybrid solutions may leverage dedicated servers for customized performance – the beauty of hybrid is that there are many combinations to choose from, meaning every company can find a solution that meets their specific needs.
Still sounds like Multi Cloud to you? Remember, a Multi Cloud solution is one where different Clouds from different providers are used for separate tasks. Hybrid Cloud is more like creating a solution that uses more than one Cloud or server option to perform a task that accesses both. One could say that in a Hybrid environment, the data gets intermingled between two different hosting infrastructure types, while in Multi Cloud, you are simply using multiple Clouds.
Multi Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: Which is Better?
It’s not really a case of better or worse, per se. Remember, we determined earlier that companies using Multi Cloud may also be utilizing Hybrid Cloud solutions. But if all the benefits of Hybrid Cloud – the security of Private and the scalability and power of Public – can be gained from a single provider, why are more and more businesses turning to a Multi Cloud strategy?
Sometimes, as we discussed earlier when differentiating Multi Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud, enterprises will opt for a Multi Cloud solution because they have different needs for different applications. Using one infrastructure for a system where compliance and security are key and a different, completely separate one for applications that need more scalability and power, for example, eliminates any compromises that a single Cloud solution would include. Other times, however, the answer comes down to dollars and cents.
Have you ever heard of arbitrage? It’s a term more frequently thrown around on Wall Street than in the world of IT, but it’s one of the key reasons more and more businesses are favoring the use of multiple Clouds in the Multi Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud debate. Arbitrage refers to combining services with different price points to profit from the difference. What does that have to do with Cloud, you ask? Good question.
Cloud technology is still relatively young, and as it develops and evolves, Cloud providers must adapt and update their offerings and price points to stay competitive. Companies relying on a single provider lack the ability to take advantage of price fluctuations and new offerings and are simply out of luck if their service experiences an issue or failure. In contrast, those employing a Multi Cloud solution can leverage the service that provides them with the most cost-effective solution, exactly at the time they need it. By reducing their dependence on a single provider, companies with multiple Clouds can be assured of the best price and access to the latest and greatest tech developments – which all adds up to a better bottom line, regardless of whether their Cloud needs are Public, Private or Hybrid. This is especially true for companies using hyper-scale clouds like AWS, Google, Azure and also general Public Clouds.
Want to learn more about Multi Cloud solutions, or how to market to companies relying on a multiple Cloud strategy? At Total Product Marketing, we specialize in market technology for the Cloud and hosting industries and we can help you. Get in touch with our team today.