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Multi-Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024

Multi-Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024Multi-Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: A Comprehensive Guide in 2024

Figure: Interest in multi-cloud and hybrid clouds is increasing.1

Cloud computing is becoming more sophisticated as more business-focused cloud solutions are released. While many businesses are familiar with public cloud services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, two other cloud solutions are gaining traction: hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. 

In this article, we explain the difference between hybrid and multi-cloud environments. These concepts are widely confused, but their difference can be important when companies consider investing in one or both technologies. By 2023, the hybrid cloud is expected to grow by 72% compared to 2021, and the multi-cloud will have grown by 67%. Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages, and we prepared this guide to guide buyers with:

  • Insights on hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud.
  • Their differences, pros, and cons.
  • Cases when companies should prefer one cloud solution over another.
  • Benefits of using workload automation tools to manage cloud environments.
According to the figure, multi-cloud usage is expected to increase by 67%, while hybrid cloud usage will increase by 72%.

Figure: The use of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud is expected to increase.2

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud

To understand how hybrid and multi-cloud work, first, the readers must be familiar with the terms private and public cloud.

What is a private cloud?

A private cloud is a computing environment where the cloud infrastructure is built and run by a single company. This infrastructure can be on-site or in a third-party data center, and the IT members of the organization usually run it.

What is a public cloud?

A public cloud is a computing environment in which a third-party provider makes cloud infrastructure available to the general public via the Internet. Large corporations, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, own and run multiple clouds.

What is a hybrid cloud environment?

In a hybrid cloud, an organization can use a mix of: 

  • on-premises 
  • private cloud 
  • third-party 
  • public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. 

This enables businesses to use the best parts of different deployment methods while meeting the requirements of:

  • security 
  • compliance 
  • performance
  • cost

What are the benefits of hybrid cloud computing?

Some benefits of hybrid cloud computing can be listed as follows: 

  • Flexibility: Organizations can choose the best deployment strategy for each task based on the abovementioned requirements. IT members can use public clouds for large computing operations. They can store sensitive data in private or on-premise data centers to comply. This can help align resources with business goals.
  • Scalability: Hybrid cloud systems let companies scale up and down. They can use public clouds during peak demand and private clouds off-peak. This can help businesses save on IT while handling demand fluctuations.
  • Security: By keeping sensitive data and applications on-site in a private cloud, organizations can increase data security and control. This is crucial for regulatory-compliant companies. For example, Turkey’s BRSA (Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency) requires IS Regulations (“Information Systems and Electronic Banking Services Regulation on Banks”).

Redwood’s Cloud Management Platform provides a comprehensive solution for seamless integration. It helps businesses orchestrate automated tasks across their hybrid cloud and run them with the ERP ecosystem. Users can automate a wide range of tasks and overcome the limitations of built-in ERP tools. Multinational companies such as Epson, Experian, Halliburton, and AMD use Redwood services.

What is a multi-cloud environment? 

The multi-cloud solution uses multiple cloud services from more than one public cloud provider, like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. Organizations can use multiple public cloud providers to: 

  • host 
  • manage
  • store their applications and data.

This helps organizations create a cloud architecture that meets their needs by leveraging each provider’s strengths.

What are the advantages of a multi-cloud strategy?

  • Flexibility: Instead of being confined to the ecosystem of a single provider, multi-cloud enables enterprises to select the optimal cloud provider for each workload.
  • Cost savings: Organizations can benefit from various pricing models and strike better bargains using numerous cloud providers.
  • No vendor lock-in: Organizations can reduce their risk of becoming tied into a specific vendor’s technology or pricing strategy by depending on many providers.
  • Improved security: By distributing workloads among several providers, businesses can lower the chance that a security breach could damage their data and applications.
  • Better disaster recovery: Multicloud enables businesses to store data and run applications in multiple locations, improving disaster recovery capabilities.
  • Better compliance: Organizations can ensure that their data and applications comply with different regulations in different regions by using multiple cloud providers.

Are multi-cloud and hybrid clouds compatible?

Yes, multi-cloud and hybrid clouds are compatible. While multi-cloud refers to using multiple cloud service providers, hybrid cloud combines both.

What are the characteristics of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud?

The basic features of hybrid and multi-cloud are the same such as: 

  • data storage
  • scalability
  • cost savings

However, the hybrid cloud has extra benefits and differences like: 

  • Data security and compliance: Public and private clouds help organizations comply and protect data. Organizations can store sensitive data on private clouds instead of public clouds. Private clouds can provide multiple security layers, such as:
  • Resilient data storage: Hybrid cloud data storage may be more resilient than multi-cloud. The hybrid cloud allows organizations to store data in public and private clouds. This can prevent data losses in case of failure.
  • Flexibility: Hybrid clouds give organizations more flexibility. Hybrid clouds allow organizations to quickly scale up or down storage resources to meet ever-changing needs.

Hybrid cloud vs. multi-cloud: What is the key difference?

Linking and management

Hybrid and multi-cloud differ in cloud service management. Hybrid clouds combine on-premise and public cloud services. Multi-cloud involves multiple public cloud services. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are some possible examples.

How to choose between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud

Organizations should consider which cloud services are best for their specific needs when deciding between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud: 

What are the challenges of hybrid and multi-cloud environments?

8 challenges of hybrid and multi-cloud environments

1. Complexity

Workload management and maintenance across multiple cloud providers may require special skills and tools. For example, a company may have an AWS application, use Azure for data storage, and use Google Cloud for machine learning. Each cloud provider has its own tools and management interfaces, which can be challenging to navigate and use.

2. Integration

It might take a lot of time and effort to integrate cloud providers and the services they offer. For example, a company may use AWS for computing and storage but Azure for data analytics. The organization might have to create its integration tools or employ specialized custom code to transfer data between the two systems with consistency and accuracy.

3. Security 

Because different cloud providers may have different data security procedures and regulations, safeguarding data across numerous cloud providers may be more challenging than securing it in a single environment. For example, an organization can store data on both AWS and Azure, but the security controls and policies on each platform may be different. To ensure that data is secure on both platforms, the organization may need to develop and implement additional security measures.

4. Cloud usage costs

Managing costs across multiple cloud providers can be challenging, as providers have different pricing models and cost structures. For example, a company may use AWS for computing and storage but Azure for data analytics. Because AWS has a pay-per-use model and Azure has a reserved instance model, it may be difficult to predict and manage costs.

5. Compliance management

It can be difficult to ensure compliance with various regulations and standards across multiple cloud providers because providers may have different requirements and certifications. An organization, for example, may be required to comply with the GDPR for data stored in the EU and HIPAA for data stored in the US.  Some cloud providers may have various certifications and compliance programs, making it difficult to ensure that all platforms are compliant.

6. Cloud performance

Ensuring consistent performance across multiple cloud providers can be challenging, as different providers may have different infrastructure and service offerings. 

For example, a company may use AWS for computing and storage but Azure for data analytics. The performance of the data analytics service on Azure may be slower than on AWS, affecting overall application performance.

7. Governance

Governance and control over data and applications across multiple cloud providers can be challenging, as providers may have different policies and procedures. A company, for example, may use AWS for computing and storage but Azure for data analytics. Because AWS and Azure may have different data retention, backup, and disaster recovery policies, the organization must ensure that its data is safe and secure across all platforms.

8. Data portability

Data portability between cloud providers can be difficult because different providers may use different data storage and management technologies. For instance, a company may use AWS for computing and storage but Azure for data analytics. To move data between platforms, the organization may need to write custom code or use specialized tools, which can be time-consuming and expensive. 

How do workload automation tools help overcome multi- and hybrid cloud challenges?

Workload automation tools can help manage and scale workloads across hybrid cloud and/or multi-cloud environments in a unified and automated way. These tools can be used to integrate hybrid and multi-cloud environments, including:

  • Cloud provisioning: Workload automation tools can automate the provisioning of resources across different cloud providers, making it easy to deploy and scale workloads as needed.
  • Cloud orchestration: Workload automation tools can orchestrate and manage workload movement across cloud providers to ensure optimal performance.
  • Cloud monitoring: Workload automation tools can monitor and control workloads across cloud providers in real-time.
  • Cloud cost optimization: Workload automation tools automate resource scaling and shut down to reduce cloud provider costs.
  • Cloud migration: Workload automation tools can automate cloud provider migrations, reducing risk and effort.

If you have further questions about hybrid and multi-cloud best practices, don’t hesitate to contact us at:

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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