Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 75% of organizations will have deployed a multicloud or hybrid cloud model. TierPoint’s Tony Rossabi talked about hybrid cloud vs. multicloud at the PTC’20 conference. Hybrid cloud and multicloud are different, but the differences are less important than the importance of forming your IT strategy based on the goals of the business. You can then look to see if the goals are best met with one cloud, multiple clouds, or a hybrid mix of one or more clouds and other non-cloud infrastructure. You may end up choosing a hybrid cloud, a multicloud, or a combination IT strategy.

Hybrid cloud vs. multicloud: how they differ

What is hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud is the use of cloud with other technologies, cloud or non-cloud. It refers to a broader strategy. A hybrid cloud strategy may include multiple clouds, but a multicloud strategy isn’t necessarily hybrid. Specifically, the phrase non-cloud in the hybrid cloud definitions includes on-premises infrastructure and hardware. Hybrid cloud includes multicloud and non-cloud technologies.

What is multicloud?

Multicloud computing is the use of multiple cloud platforms independently or dependently to support business functions. It is a type of hybrid cloud. Multicloud does not include any non-cloud technology.

Hybrid cloud and multicloud: similar drivers, benefits and roadblocks

Businesses are adopting cloud computing at a staggering rate, and many use more than one cloud platform. Although hybrid cloud and multicloud differ, their adoption is driven by similar requirements and the two strategies share some of the same benefits and roadblocks.

Key drivers of the adoption of hybrid cloud and multicloud computing include the ability to pick and choose the best execution venue (BEV) for each workload and application, to access new and innovative technologies, and to place workloads geographically. Hybrid and multicloud strategies can also diversify risk, improve operational efficiencies, and help businesses comply with regulatory requirements.

The benefits of hybrid and multicloud include the following and more: 

  • Cost control: A monthly operating expense (OpEx) for cloud services can replace the capital expense of new hardware. The economies of scale and expertise offered by cloud service providers can speed return on investment (ROI).
  • Performance optimization of workloads: Does a workload need high-performance computing, fast communication networks, or edge computing resources? You can match the workload to any of a variety of clouds with specific capabilities.
  • Flexibility: Up, down or off, you can right-size your compute, cloud storage, and network bandwidth as business demands change.
  • Reliability: Clouds build in redundancy and make it easy to replicate systems and data for quick failover to another cloud when needed to bypass disruptions.

You can expect similar roadblocks, too. Specific skill sets are needed that you may not have in-house, and leadership may fear loss of control or visibility – so education may be required. Your hybrid cloud or multicloud will create a larger attack surface, which will require broadening your security domain. In addition, managing multiple types of computing and clouds can increase the complexity of cost management and service integration.

Flexibly choose the cloud platform by workload

Different clouds and on-premises platforms have different strengths. A hybrid or multicloud strategy can help you meet a variety of application and end-user demands. Both hybrid and multicloud are a big step forward from forcing all your workloads to fit on a single platform.

Hybrid cloud vs. multicloud: which approach is best for your cloud strategy?

First, “the cloud” isn’t a place – it’s a design, a strategy – and you don’t need to limit your business to one cloud. You can find the right mix of clouds and non-cloud infrastructure for your business. Expertise is available from a managed cloud provider such as TierPoint to help you get where you want to go.

Making a hybrid cloud or multicloud strategy work for your business is less about the terminology and more about your business goals and strategy. You can have both in one cloud strategy, if that’s what works for your organization.

Re-evaluate your cloud strategy

Many businesses stumble into hybrid or multicloud through a merger or acquisition – or legacy decisions to use what were the best tools at the time. What you have now may not meet your current and future business goals. This reality often drives businesses to reexamine their cloud strategy.

TierPoint designs solutions that combine technologies to achieve the specific goals of each of our clients. Reach out to see how we can help you achieve digital transformation with an effective cloud strategy, regardless of your current IT infrastructure.

The Strategic Guide to Cloud Computing - read now

Learn more about the various flavors of cloud computing in The Strategic Guide to Cloud Computing: From virtualization to digital transformation.


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