As cloud computing continues to proliferate in both scope and popularity, the use-cases of the cloud for businesses are also evolving. From SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, today’s cloud ecosystem includes a variety of different deployment models designed to suit organizations’ unique requirements around infrastructure, workloads, security, and more. In this blog, we will be highlighting the characteristics and differences between two emerging cloud deployment models- Multi-Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud Solutions. But, before that let us understand the differences between a public and a private cloud.
A public cloud is a cloud service that makes resources available over the public Internet to anyone who wants to purchase them. Resources vary by provider but may include storage capabilities, infrastructure, or applications. The public cloud allows for scalability and resource sharing that would not otherwise be possible for a single organization to achieve. Public clouds include SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS services.
As opposed to a public cloud, a private cloud is a cloud computing model where services are offered either over the Internet or a private internal network and only to select customers instead of the general public. An organization can either build and maintain a private cloud themselves, or they can pay an external service provider to host a private cloud for them.
What is a Multi-Cloud Solution?
Multi-cloud refers to the deployment of cloud infrastructure on more than one public cloud provider, with or without an existing private cloud. In a multi-cloud solution, an organization uses multiple public cloud services, often from multiple providers. The different clouds are used for various tasks for achieving best-of-breed results or to reduce vendor lock-in.
The goal behind the multi-cloud approach is to reduce the risk of relying on a single cloud service provider. Workloads can be distributed across multiple clouds which improves independence.
Benefits of Multi-cloud Environment
1. Strength of Multiple Clouds – By choosing multiple cloud providers it’s possible to play to the strengths of each provider’s services to suit the needs of your business requirements. By having multiple options, users can achieve a high level of agility and match each part of their business to a specific provider’s setup and execution terms.
2. Avoids Vendor Lock-in – When you confine yourself with only one cloud vendor, you make it both time-consuming and expensive to move your systems anywhere else. Having a multi-cloud plan lets you take control of managing workloads when one cloud providing service is down.
3. Risk Management – A multi-cloud arrangement can also help protect a company’s critical business data by offering redundant backup and recovery capabilities providing business continuity when an emergency strikes, be it a case of a power outage or a natural disaster.
What is a Hybrid Cloud?
Although many adopters of the cloud service rely on the public cloud, the “right” cloud solution differs for different businesses, where the requirement for the cloud is neither strictly public nor private, but both. Traditionally, this means running a hybrid cloud.
A hybrid cloud combines public cloud computing with a private cloud or on-premises infrastructure, both being connected with a persistent virtual private network (VPN). Unlike a multi-cloud strategy wherein admins manage each cloud environment separately, a hybrid cloud relies on a single plane of management.
Hybrid cloud deployments have become fairly common nowadays. It is useful for businesses that have migrated partly to the cloud but find it expensive or resource-intensive to opt for a fully-public cloud environment. This results in businesses preferring some processes, and data storage to take place in on-premises servers. It is also adopted by enterprises that prefer to keep confidential data in a secured environment (a private cloud or on-premises infrastructure) while taking advantage of the greater resources and low overhead of public cloud computing services.
Characteristics of a Hybrid Cloud Environment:
- A centralized infrastructure that is applicable across multiple environments
- Hybrid cloud platforms ensure persistent, secure high-speed connectivity between the enterprise and the cloud environment
- Single integrated and secure networking infrastructure
- Unified monitoring and resource management
What should I opt for- Multi-cloud or Hybrid?
The kind of cloud deployment model you choose would depend on the following parameters:
1. Cost restraints – Businesses that are tight on budget may choose to move to a public, and perhaps a multi-cloud deployment. That’s because public cloud solutions require less overhead involving minimal direct management than a hybrid cloud infrastructure. The multi-cloud provider handles most of the maintenance responsibilities like provisioning servers, applying security updates, and so on.
2. Security – For businesses that deal with confidential data demanding tight cloud security and have high regulatory standards for any subset of their data or business logic, a hybrid cloud deployment works best. With a hybrid cloud, businesses can keep crucial data in a more secure private cloud or on-premises data center.
3. Cloud Migration – Migrating data and business operations fully to the cloud can be a resource-intensive task for many businesses and may not be an immediately feasible option causing them to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy.
4. Reliability – For businesses like online streaming platforms, deploying multiple clouds can be a safe option in order to keep websites and applications up and running even during peak surge hours. During situations involving traffic spikes using a backup cloud can take on some of the workloads if one cloud is overwhelmed- a strategy known as “cloud bursting”.
Multicloud vs Hybrid Cloud: The Difference
Hybrid cloud platforms always combine private and public clouds working towards the same purpose. This differs from multi-cloud in two main ways:
1. While hybrid clouds always include a private and a public cloud, a multi-cloud platform always includes multiple public clouds but can also incorporate physical and virtual infrastructure (including private clouds.)
2. In a multi-cloud model, different clouds are used for different tasks- they do not work in unison whereas the components of a hybrid cloud typically work together. As a result, data and processes intersect in a hybrid environment, while in a multi-cloud situation, there is no dedicated link, single IdM system, unified LMA stack, or an integrated network. Instead of using a single cloud, a vendor uses at least two clouds at the same time.
While terminologies may look complicated at first glance, both hybrid and multi-cloud services aim to accelerate business operations in an efficient way. According to Gartner, by 2021, more than half of global enterprises already using cloud today will adopt an all-in cloud strategy.
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