Cloud computing is advancing in complexity with the introduction of cloud solutions that are tailored for business purposes. Although public cloud services are well-known to many businesses, there are two emerging cloud solutions that are gaining popularity: Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud. In this article, we are aiming to clarify the distinction between these environments and answer a question which cloud strategy is right for your company.
Understanding the Basics – What are the Main Types of Cloud Services?
Broadly speaking, cloud computing systems can be categorized into four types of environments:
- Public Cloud – the most popular form of Cloud solution, where customers share infrastructure resources. Each customer has their own separate instances of resources, but they are housed on hardware infrastructure that is shared among multiple users. Public Cloud environments are generally the most cost-effective and offer excellent scalability.
- Private Cloud – designed for a single customer, granting them exclusive access to both hardware and software resources. Traditionally, these environments were predominantly located on-premises, but some vendors now provide private cloud solutions. Private Clouds are more expensive and may present challenges in terms of scalability, but they offer greater control and security.
- Hybrid Cloud – combines the utilization of both public and private cloud infrastructure, providing users with flexibility (which is why 80% of companies which lately decided to move their services to the cloud chose this particular model). The typical configuration involves employing the Public Cloud for common tasks and data, while moving mission-critical or regulated data to the Private Cloud.
- Multi-cloud – is a conglomeration of various Cloud systems from diversified vendors working together to form a comprehensive and expansive infrastructure. In this case, a Cloud environment can consist of diverse Cloud platforms, involving different infrastructure types and objectives. Data shows that 90% of large organizations have been already using Multi-Cloud architecture.
What is the difference between Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud?
While Hybrid Cloud is built from different cloud systems (meaning Public and Private Cloud), Multi-Cloud is usually a combination of public cloud environments provided by different vendors. Despite being separate concepts, these solutions are not exclusive. If you combine more than one public cloud with private cloud resources, Hybrid Cloud can become a Multi-cloud system.
Both approaches provides considerable advantages to businesses. However, you need to consider which Cloud services will better suit your individual needs as both are also related to some possible issues related to the cloud security, migration, service providers, and strategy. For example, managing a multi-cloud ecosystem without a sound, future-proof strategy can bring you more problems than benefits. Let’s take a look at some specific benefits and challenges that go with each strategy to distinguish Hybrid and Multi-cloud solutions in a more nuanced way.
Hybrid Cloud: Pros and Cons
Advantages of Hybrid Cloud Strategy:
- Customization and Governance: the Hybrid Cloud allows for a heightened level of control, enabling tailored solutions that harmonize the advantages of public and private clouds.
- Enhanced Security: the Hybrid Cloud presents a more robust security model compared to exclusively public cloud solutions, permitting the storage of sensitive data within the private cloud.
- Scalability and Adaptability: the Hybrid Cloud offers the adaptability of public clouds to address scalable requirements, while retaining essential business applications within the private cloud.
- Reduced Cost: by integrating private and public clouds, cost efficiency can be achieved, resulting in improved resource allocation.
- Management of Compliance: the Hybrid Cloud also simplifies the adherence to data sovereignty and regulatory mandates, particularly relevant for large, multinational organizations.
- Integration of Edge Computing: the Hybrid Cloud is well-suited for harnessing edge computing, facilitating immediate, localized processing and analysis.
- Enhanced Options for Disaster Recovery: Hybrid environments provide more resilient and flexible disaster recovery solutions due to their combination of on-premise and off-premise resources.
Challenges of Hybrid Cloud Strategy:
- Elevated Complexity: adopting a Hybrid Cloud necessitates the management of two distinct setups, potentially leading to heightened complexity.
- Interconnectivity: ensuring smooth operation and seamless data flow between private and public clouds can be challenging to achieve.
- Heightened Management Demands: effectively overseeing a hybrid cloud environment might call for increased resources, such as dedicated personnel and more advanced management tools.
- Security Configuration: while hybrid cloud offers enhanced security, meticulous configuration is essential to sustain this security across both public and private environments.
- Network Performance: inadequate network strategy can result in performance issues during data transfers between public and private clouds.
- Latency Concerns: depending on data center locations, latency problems might emerge, impacting the processing of real-time data.
- Reliance on Internet Connectivity: lastly, the viability of the Public Cloud component in a Hybrid Cloud strategy hinges on Internet connectivity, which can be problematic in regions with limited internet infrastructure.
Multi-Cloud: Pros and Cons
Advantages of Multi-Cloud Strategy:
- Customized Offerings: choosing a Multi-Cloud approach enables you to utilize the advantages of various cloud service providers (that often offer different services and applications through their marketplaces), ensuring optimal handling of each workload.
- No Vendor Dependency: this tactic grants you greater autonomy and adaptability by avoiding complete reliance on a single provider.
- Cost-Optimized Scaling: through the selection of diverse providers for distinct requirements, businesses can enhance cost efficiency related to the expansion of their IT infrastructure.
- Enhanced Reliability: the utilization of multiple cloud platforms results in heightened reliability and uninterrupted service during outages.
- Geographic Versatility: for companies operating across multiple countries, adhering to diverse data regulations becomes achievable by employing different cloud providers for specific regions.
- Advanced Innovations and Functionality: leveraging multiple cloud providers enables access to the latest innovations and functionalities offered by each of these providers.
- AI and Data Analytics Future: sizeable enterprises can capitalize on the Machine Learning and AI capabilities of various cloud providers to maximize the efficiency of their data analysis.
Challenges of Multi-Cloud Strategy:
- Management Complexity: overseeing various vendors amplifies the intricacies in terms of technical administration and managerial responsibilities.
- Compatibility Hurdles: ensuring seamless harmonization and effective communication among distinct cloud platforms can pose difficulties.
- Heightened Security Considerations: with a larger potential attack surface spread across multiple clouds, the risk of security breaches becomes greater.
- Concealed Expenditures: while the strategy may appear cost-effective, concealed expenses can arise due to variations in pricing models among vendors.
- Skills Discrepancy: navigating different cloud environments might necessitate diverse skill sets, potentially resulting in a skills gap within the IT team.
- Challenges in Data Governance: enforcing consistent data governance policies across numerous platforms can present a formidable challenge.
- Irregular Performance: diverse cloud providers may deliver varying performance levels, leading to irregularity, which is an often overlooked predicament in Multi-Cloud environments.
Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud: Key Factors for Decision-Making
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each approach is, unfortunately, not enough to make the right decision on cloud architecture. There are multiple important factors that might influence your choice between Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud solutions. Remember to take into consideration:
- Concordance of Business Goals
Alignment with business objectives such as cost reduction, flexibility, and the transition towards innovative solutions. Your overarching ambitions should be the central guiding principle in determining your cloud approach.
- Adherence to Regulatory Standards
Depending on your industry, contemplation of data protection and compliance holds significant weight, particularly when seeking a cloud solution for a sizable enterprise.
- Geolocation Issues
First, cloud infrastructure availability in the given regions might differ. Second, if your organization has offices in multiple countries with data residency regulations, a multi-cloud strategy with separate data centers may be more efficient.
- Technical Cohesion
A frequently overlooked benefit is that choices between Multi-Cloud or Hybrid Cloud approaches should factor in the technical coherence with existing systems and applications.
- Availability of Expertise
The competencies and proficiencies of your internal team should also play a role in the decision-making process, as certain skills may align more suitably with one form of cloud strategy over another.
- Cost Evaluation
Conducting an in-depth and precise cost assessment can be intricate but is pivotal in making informed decisions. This evaluation should encompass not only immediate expenses but also enduring ones such as migration, management, and potential expenditures related to shifting vendors.
- Security and Privacy Deliberations
Navigating the security implications and ensuring data privacy during the transition to cloud services is intricate yet indispensable.
- Potential Vendor Dependence
The vulnerability to vendor entrenchment and the appraisal of its potential impact on the enterprise can be challenging.
- Long-Term Provider Viability
Lastly, gauging the long-term stability and sustainability of the selected cloud providers can be difficult yet imperative to safeguard uninterrupted business operations.
How Comarch can help
Regardless of the Hybrid or Multi-Cloud model you decide on, selecting the appropriate cloud provider entails numerous challenges and hazards, which many companies have already encountered and fallen into. Comarch is developing its data center services for 20 years and has become an experienced, reliable IT partner for many well-known brands. Thanks to our Comarch Cloud, a powerful, constantly developed suit of cloud computing services, we provide all the tools and professional support to help businesses build and manage cloud environments, no matter their complexity. We can help you make a decision between cloud models and tailor the solution to your specific requirements.
Explore Comarch Cloud to see in detail how it can help you overcome cloud challenges and leverage the full potential of Hybrid and Multi-cloud.