IT Innovators: Can We Talk Hybrid Cloud Versus Multi-Cloud?

What is a hybrid cloud approach? Keep reading; you might be surprised by the answer.

Cheryl J. Ajluni

January 21, 2016

3 Min Read
IT Innovators: Can We Talk Hybrid Cloud Versus Multi-Cloud?

As we continue our weekly discussions on one key topic—all things related to the hybrid cloud—I think it’s about time to address one simple question. What is a hybrid cloud approach? One might think this is an obvious question; one that has an obvious answer, but think again.

As it turns out, there’s quite a few people and markets out there who interpret hybrid cloud as a strategy wherein they consume resources from multiple cloud vendors, sometimes redundant to one another and sometimes splitting risk. Such resources might include infrastructure, platform and software services, security, and on-demand management, just to name a few. But that’s not a hybrid cloud. It’s actually a multi-cloud.

To be clear, a multi-cloud refers to multiple cloud services from multiple cloud vendors, whereas the hybrid cloud uses both private and public clouds for different functions within an organization.  People tend to gravitate toward a multi-cloud strategy out of a desire to reduce their dependence on any one vendor—the dreaded vendor “lock-in” scenario—and to ensure they get access to the “latest and greatest” solutions and capabilities. The approach also provides flexibility in terms of the choice of solutions available, one of which could in fact be a hybrid cloud.

The multi-cloud approach also carries risk; namely, the risk of consuming only the lowest common denominator from among the multiple providers. There is also the potential cost risk of having to re-implement the application component or implementing it multiple times in different ways. If you have an application specifically written to run on one particular cloud service, for example, where else could you actually run it? On top of that, multi-cloud deployments involving different technologies, interfaces and services are inherently complex and unfortunately, not typically interoperable.

A hybrid cloud strategy, on the other hand, is used to drive business innovation, improve competiveness, enable greater agility, open up new revenue streams, lower risk, and increase cost savings. These benefits come by blending the security and control of a private cloud with the speed and scalability of a public one. The flexibility that results makes it ideal for uses case where workloads are dynamic in nature.  

The hybrid cloud strategy can be implemented in a couple of different ways. A hybrid cloud solution can be purchased, either from a single cloud provider or as an integrated solution from separate public and private cloud providers working together. The other option is for organizations who already maintain a private cloud to secure a public cloud service and then integrate it into their existing infrastructure.

There are certainly many more details to be aware of when it comes to hybrid cloud versus multi-cloud then I have covered in these few short paragraphs. However, the key thing to remember is that they are definitely not the same thing. If you have any questions you want answered about the hybrid cloud, send them along to me at [email protected]. I’ll do my best to find you the answers you’re after. In the meantime, be sure to check back here each week for more information on the hybrid cloud and other exciting IT-related topics.

This blog is sponsored by Microsoft.

Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.


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