Multi-Cloud Vs Hybrid Cloud: The Future of Data Management

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Multi-Cloud Vs Hybrid Cloud: The Future of Data Management

Businesses are looking for more innovative, effective ways of investing in data management solutions. Cloud service providers offer numerous ways to ensure secure and efficient ways of managing data, but clients are often confused with multi-cloud and hybrid cloud offerings. 

This article will discuss critical definitions and differences between hybrid and multi-cloud to help you decide on the suitable cloud model that suits your business.

What is a Hybrid Cloud?

To understand a hybrid cloud, let us first explore two basic types of cloud deployment models, namely, public and private

A public cloud such as AWS, GCP, or Azure is an on-demand IT environment hosted by the vendor and is available as a service that you can consume.

A private cloud is your own IT infrastructure hosted in your data center or that of a data center service provider. 

The hybrid cloud model combines the two types.

Organizations using a hybrid cloud model have their applications and data managed both off and on-premise. They get the benefits of managing and securing specific data in a captive environment (on-premises) while enjoying the on-demand services, reliability, and scalability delivered by the cloud service providers (off-premises). 

An organization may also use the public cloud as a backup for its private cloud. 

A hybrid cloud model generally shares the workload and data across the two environments to deliver a unified infrastructure for a single IT solution. 

Most organizations choose a hybrid cloud: (a) as a temporary step toward a full cloud deployment or (b) as an architecture that extends the on-premise setup to eliminate the scalability, durability, and availability limitations and achieve a more robust platform.

What is a Multi-Cloud?

A multi-cloud model is better understood when you review the different cloud services, namely, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

The multi-cloud service model enables an organization to avail of one or more of the mentioned services across different cloud service providers. 

For example, AWS (Amazon Web Services) (IaaS) may host the business application of the organization that may be using Microsoft Office 365 for workplace productivity and business communication (SaaS).

That same organization may develop and deploy some business applications on the Microsoft Azure Cloud services (PaaS). 

Multi-cloud deployments typically span different cloud vendors. 

We also find multiple private cloud models where organizations may create separate on-premise data centers to store data belonging to various applications. A similar finding extends to implementing multiple hybrid cloud models in the organization. Multiple clouds (public or private, or hybrid) handle different IT solutions, so the processes and data are not shared across multiple clouds. Each cloud manages its workload.

Is a Multi-Cloud Strategy the same as a Hybrid Cloud strategy?

While an organization can extend a hybrid cloud strategy to integrate services from multiple cloud providers, the reverse is not valid. 

Typically, a multi-cloud deployment will not have any on-premises element. It will be a fully cloud-hosted application.

But then, if a multi-cloud strategy and a hybrid cloud are not all that similar, what are some of the significant differences? 

Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud

In the multi-cloud vs hybrid cloud debate, while an organization cannot directly map strategies, the following table may help clarify any remaining confusion:

Criteria

Hybrid Cloud

Multi-cloud

Deployment model

Combines private and public cloud. Combines public clouds to design a solution.

Can combine multiple private or a mix of public-private clouds.

Workload management

Data and processes are shared across the public and private cloud to manage a single task.  Each cloud handles separate tasks, so the data and procedures are not shared across multiple clouds. 

In the case of multiple hybrid clouds, each hybrid cloud may share data across its public-private cloud combination.

Data security and regulatory compliance

Note: Every organization must take data security seriously; however, in this context, we highlight the primary responsibility of data security based on the service-level-agreement.

  • Shared responsibility of the organization (private model) and the cloud service provider (public model).
  • Improved comfort with privacy when implementing it in a hybrid fashion (store sensitive data on-premises)
  • Responsibility of the cloud service providers.
  • Organizations can ensure that the cloud service provider stores and manages sensitive data in geographic locations as mandated by the specific regulation.

Data management

(Includes maintenance)

The organization and the cloud service provider are responsible for their specific data workloads. Responsibility of the cloud service providers for their respective data workloads.

Expenditure

Costs are higher if the organization manages a lot of data on-premises. 

The investment plan may differ depending on the nature of the public model, uni-cloud vs. multi-cloud.

The organization can negotiate well to avail the best plan across different service providers. 

Comparatively lower than finalizing one vendor alone.

Vendor lock-in

Switching between other vendors is relatively complex because data and processes across the public-private cloud environments are highly integrated. It offers more flexibility in switching between other vendors since each cloud handles a different workload.

The risk grows if one cloud vendor carries multiple related workloads, e.g., backing up data hosted by the primary app.

Benefits

  • Benefit from the individual strengths of private and public clouds.
  • Full control over specific regulatory compliance while enabling greater privacy comfort for specific data
  • Combines Opex and Capex model for more flexibility.
  • Minimize the dependency on a single cloud service provider
  • Can optimize costs and cash flow by combining the most suitable pricing models across vendors.
  • Typically, Pay-per-use helps to optimize costs and cash flow.

Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud Approach Benefits

Organisations must realize that when choosing the most appropriate cloud deployment strategy, it all boils down to understanding the differences between a private vs. public vs. hybrid cloud model. 

A private cloud environment allows the organization more control and flexibility in handling data. 

A public cloud environment, on the other hand, provides better scalability, higher reliability, and robust security for managing the organization’s data and applications. 

A hybrid cloud combines the benefits of using a private and a public cloud.

If your organization is confident about proceeding with a public deployment model, take time to think about the individual strengths of each cloud vendor. See which workload is most suited for a specific cloud platform. For example, a workload needing to store large volumes of data would benefit from an elastic store that offers storage tiering and is cost-effective. 

If the organization chooses to balance the private and public deployment models, think of using a multi-cloud public model to realize benefits from the strengths of multiple vendors. We also advise maximizing the use of the public cloud to reduce maintenance costs and improve your applications’ reliability, security, and performance.

Why do many Organizations use the Hybrid and Multi-cloud Approach?

In 2021, enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services grew by 37 percent to 178 billion U.S. dollars compared to the previous year.

The 2019 State of the Cloud Survey by Flexera identified that nearly 84% of enterprises have now adopted a multi-cloud strategy that includes a hybrid, multi-cloud model. 

The survey also noted that more organizations are investing in hybrid multi-cloud strategies over multi-public and multi-private clouds.  

Investing in a multi-cloud deployment strategy helps the organization maximize its benefits by selecting the best vendors for each public cloud deployment project.

Multi-cloud helps in reducing any vendor monopoly that may creep in.

On the other hand, hybrid models have always served best when organizations deal with specific critical data governed by regulatory compliance. It also helps the organization to have improved privacy, flexibility, and control over their on-premise data. 

Multi-Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: Which to Choose?

When choosing hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud, the decision primarily depends on the data the organization handles and the IT environment's roadmap.

Hybrid cloud: A step to a full (multi)cloud deployment.

Organizations use the hybrid cloud approach to prevent disruption by migrating the application and data in parts/batches while keeping both systems in sync and functional. This gradual approach allows the organization to learn of any challenges in the new environment and fix them along the way, ultimately leading to a well-worked cloud solution.

Multi-cloud: If you have a flexible data storing and handling policy.

Suppose the organization has minimal to no regulatory obligations in managing its data across different applications. In that case, a multi-public cloud model will provide more benefits where the organization can avail of the most optimal plan for each application.

Hybrid cloud: If you need Strict Governance, Control, and Privacy of specific data/workloads.

Suppose the organization has moderate to high regulatory compliance requirements and may not be able to manage all the data on-premise. In that case, a hybrid model will work best where the data that needs strict governance can be collected on-premise in a private cloud while allowing the public cloud to manage the remaining data. This approach is extendable to have multiple hybrid clouds if the organization has multiple applications with different regulatory requirements.  

Multi-cloud: If you lack the resources or capacity to manage a private cloud.

Suppose the organization does not have the infrastructure support to handle sensitive data on-premise. In that case, it can carefully assess cloud service providers who comply with various data privacy regulations and laws and ensure that the data is stored in specific geographic locations as mandated by the statute.

To sum up:

Organizations globally are gaining the cost advantage, reliability benefits, and higher performance by adopting public cloud services and their variants. 

While your organization's IT deployment depends on your specific data and application needs, it’s clear that for you to gain a competitive advantage, your strategy must include a public cloud leading to a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud architecture.

With all the information on the differences between hybrid and multi-cloud, if you still aren’t sure what suits your organization, talk to our experts today.

Vaultastic delivers a SaaS service hosted on AWS, a public cloud, to help you manage your data and gain agility as a business. Vaultastic is deployed as a hybrid cloud for on-premises mail solutions like Zimbra, CPanel, etc., or as a multi-cloud solution for cloud workplace and business communication environments such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and more.

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