Hybrid Cloud vs Multi Cloud
Going forward, CIOs are no longer facing the question as to whether or not to incorporate cloud into the IT strategy, but rather, “How much cloud?” The key options are hybrid cloud or multi-cloud, and each has a multitude of pros and cons.
What is Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud is a deployment based on two distinct cloud types, usually private cloud, and public cloud. This typically signifies a private data center that works in conjunction with a public cloud service, such as Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Oftentimes, the private data center serves as the principal site that serves production users, and the cloud environment service supports burst capacity requirements and/or disaster recovery. This approach is often the first adoption phase for any type of cloud technologies, and in some instances, it becomes the permanent approach.
Key Advantages of Hybrid Cloud
A key advantage of hybrid cloud relates to operational efficiencies. When marketing initiates a sales blitz or seasonal peaks occur, the chosen public cloud platform is invoked only when the private data center cannot support user load or is unavailable. Although uncommitted public cloud pricing carries the highest per-unit cost, these resources are only consumed temporarily and enabled, as necessary.
Because the public cloud component of hybrid cloud is an add-on service, disruption to the existing IT infrastructure is minimal. As a result, the IT staff continues to maintain and manage the existing environment as a well-known entity, and cloud services are appended. Thus, the learning cycle for the IT staff is gradual.
What is Multi-Cloud
Multi-cloud signifies implementations wherein in two or more cloud providers of the same type that are used collectively to provide the total solution. Because cloud services differ in offerings and cost, the “mix and match” approach enables enterprises to deploy the most appropriate and cost-effective components from each cloud provider.
Key Advantages of Multi-Cloud
A key advantage of multi-cloud is the efficiency of resources without dependency on a private data center. If one cloud provider can more efficiently address large database resources while another can more effectively address virtual desktop workloads, the two can be married to address the full spectrum of IT requirements, often at a better price.
Global entities can likewise from a multi-cloud approach because public cloud vendors may uniquely have a local presence in smaller countries. For example, if tasked with providing the best user experience for an upcoming acquisition in Stockholm, Sweden, AWS would represent the best choice because the other major providers do not locally support Sweden. But if that new acquisition were based in Santiago, Chile, Azure and GCP have announced service from that location.
However, network connectivity and security must be impeccably configured to ensure that these types of issues do not negate the benefits of multi-cloud. In addition, administrators must be completely up to date with knowledge of the services of each cloud provider because there could be an unexpected downstream impact due to a modification on the part of any single provider.
A distinct advantage of multi-cloud is reduced lock-in to each cloud vendor, as well as redundancy. However, architecting and moving cloud systems to support complex modifications requires well-trained IT personnel when resources are shifted.
Which cloud is right for your organization?
Because every IT organization is different, there is no simple answer as to whether hybrid cloud or multi-cloud is most suitable for your environment. By reviewing your own unique environment in detail, as well as future requirements, the answer will become clear.
The first step in making this decision is dependent upon taking a hard look at IT requirements. A small IT organization may consist of a few people that handle multi-faceted requirements that range from cabling the data center to integrating complex business applications. Especially where system upgrades are burdensome and current resources are at the tipping point, relieving the physical data center work effort and porting the compute requirements to a multi-cloud strategy focused on two public clouds would likely provide the functionality and redundancy needed to optimize IT operations.
Large enterprises have significantly more systems in place and any type of transition moves at a slow pace due to the number of people, resources, and processes in place. These organizations often have a significant investment in physical disaster recovery sites that maintain parallel resources, and an immediate cost savings can be realized by adopting a hybrid cloud strategy for DR. While a multi-cloud strategy may or may not be undertaken for the long term, there will be an immediate win associated with adopting a hybrid cloud strategy.
Cost factors into the total solution significantly. Cloud adoption estimates are frequently underestimated in terms of consulting resources and ongoing compute requirements. Be sure to query partners in depth regarding estimates and engage in conversation with technical community resources that have made a transition similar to your project plan to understand any unplanned costs and delays that were encountered.
In 2021, adopting cloud is no longer a question of “if,” but instead, “when.” Hybrid cloud–as commonly represented by a private cloud and a public cloud for DR and burst requirements–is often undertaken as the first step in cloud adoption. Some enterprises then move forward with a multi-cloud strategy, typically based on two or more public cloud providers, to offload all compute requirements. Which is best for your enterprise depends largely on the size and complexity of your organization and system resources, as well as the cost.