IT Cloud Strategy: Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Strategies

Cloud technology is fast becoming the preferred choice amongst top-tier enterprises. And leaders are making the decision to include not only one, but multiple cloud platforms in their IT strategy.

In 2020, a study by Gartner found that a remarkable 81% of organisations surveyed make use of multiple cloud providers. 

This could be for a variety of reasons. Each cloud provider has their own unique selling points. Each solving different problems for the end-user. So depending on the needs and strategy of a company, a multi or hybrid cloud approach could drive greater results.

Let’s take a look at what makes these two approaches different. AND how using either of them can be of benefit.

The Difference Between Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud

To begin, it’s important to define each of these strategies. Both approaches are associated by their use of cloud technology, but differ in their choice of the cloud. One involves purely public cloud and the other, private cloud.

Hybrid Cloud 

Hybrid cloud strategies make use of private, as well as public cloud services. Instead of solely relying on public cloud providers, this approach gives you the benefit of increased privacy, better control and more freedom for customization. It’s unique in that it can also include an on-premises infrastructure or data center.

By including a private cloud service (one that is owned by the enterprise), either a third party vendor hosts the cloud for them, or it’s completely controlled, maintained and managed by an internal IT team. 

Multi-Cloud

Multi-cloud services refer to the use of multiple public cloud providers. These providers make use of their own hardware and offer virtual infrastructure, software, automation and other services to the user. 

Because of the costs needed to operate and maintain data centers and on-premises infrastructure, public cloud offers a cheaper and more efficient alternative. That’s why many opt for a multi-cloud strategy, as having more options can improve flexibility.

So Why Choose Either of Them? 

Essentially, everything depends on the needs of your company. 

You might find that you only require a simple cloud strategy with only a single public cloud platform. But if your systems and processes are a bit more complex, then you could benefit from this approach. 

According to Acronis, there are a number of benefits that can come from using these combination cloud approaches:

Access to Top-Tier Cloud Providers

With access to a large pool of highly revered and credible options, you’re able to pick and choose the services that best suit your enterprise.

Perhaps one cloud provider offers better compute power and another offers better storage. This approach allows you to choose as many providers as you want based on the company’s needs.

Improved Agility

The cloud brings with it much faster, safer and more efficient capabilities than traditional IT systems. So by using more than one cloud provider, you’ll find significant improvements in the overall agility of your organisation.

Business agility has a positive and direct correlation between customer satisfaction/retention rates, employee productivity and retention, cost reductions and competitive advantage.

Increased Innovation

Cloud technology allows for automation and other capabilities that make workloads easier to handle. The software development process is also made much quicker, opening the way to discover new features and improvements. 

With it, you’re also able to: better customise the user experience to suit their preferences; swiftly develop, test and deploy new products/services; discover and attract new customers; and compete in new industries or markets.

It Might Just Also Be The Future 

Seeing that using this approach offers more versatility and helps combat the risks associated with individual cloud providers, it might just be the better choice among enterprises looking to drive better outcomes.

Cloud Industry Forum compiled a variety of reasons why a multi or hybrid approach to cloud might provide huge promise for enterprises in the future. Other than reducing the risks associated with a single cloud strategy, organisations are also able to:

Optimise ROI

Each cloud provider has different capabilities and solutions to offer. So it makes it difficult to choose one that suits the exact needs of customers and employees.

Opting for a multi or hybrid cloud strategy, gives businesses access to a wider array of computing functionality and features. It allows for greater versatility and more of their needs to be met.

Reduce Latency

Due to the fact that cloud providers have data centers scattered across various locations, latency can become an issue. Because data needs to travel across several points before reaching the end-user, increased traffic can create minor delays.

With a multi and hybrid cloud infrastructure, your data requests and server requirements don’t have as much of an impact on the speed and time that it takes to reach the user. Using a variety of cloud options gives you greater global reach, so data centers that are in proximity to the user will reduce the delays that come with relying on a single (or on premise) provider.

Improve Security

Security is absolutely critical to any organisation. Protecting the data and software that proves essential to the operation and longevity of an enterprise is always of major concern. And it’s one of the reasons why many industries still rely on their legacy infrastructures.

While public cloud platforms aren’t necessarily the best at being fully transparent and at allowing full control of their infrastructures, a hybrid approach with a private cloud will prove a far more secure option.

Although a pricier solution, you can make use of an on-site private cloud environment that gives you visibility and transparency into your IT resources, granular control and far better security. A hybrid approach can have your most valuable workloads secured in a private cloud while running standard operations in the public cloud (which works out cheaper).

Consider A Multi- or Hybrid-Cloud Approach

In an article by ITWeb, the value and potential of multi-cloud will impact the future of all businesses in some way or another. Innovation, competition and overall efficiency will become the factors that drive more and more enterprises to adopt this new approach. 

“Local companies are investing heavily into Platform-as-a-Service while there is a big drive for hyperscale providers to deliver more innovative services to the market. Of course, much of this is reliant on the application architecture for customers who are increasingly looking at moving everything into a more public multi-cloud strategy. Yes, there will be a few instances where organisations will want to maintain their own environment, but they will likely leverage the multi-cloud for the likes of disaster recovery and business continuity,” said Ralph Berndt, sales and marketing director at Syrex.

Multi-cloud (along with hybrid) strategies are powerful options for enterprises of all sizes. Taking the necessary steps toward cloud migration is already a great achievement, so it’s almost impossible to go wrong with a strategy that caters to all of the needs your organisation has – whether its security, cost or efficiency. 

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Michael Cowen

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Michael Cowen is the CEO of teraflow.ai and co-hosts the Making AI Podcast. Michael is the Ex Deloitte Digital Director and Mindshare Digital Partner. He focuses on the way business models and culture shift and change to change the way people that they work in an AI-enabled organisation.

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