Multi-cloud vs hybrid cloud - what is the difference?

The multi-cloud model

A multi-cloud environment is one in which multiple cloud services providers are used simultaneously. In this type of configuration, rather than choosing a single provider for hosting, storage, deployment, infrastructure, or any other requirements of a production system, several providers are used.

In this type of set up, a company’s added value applications and services are managed by several third parties, and can even be subject to different legislation.

Multi cloud schema

The hybrid cloud model

The hybrid cloud is a combination of at least one public and one private cloud, and is a way to extend private cloud infrastructure by using an existing public cloud. With this configuration, integration and/or orchestration functions split infrastructure deployment and management between different types of clouds (public or private).

The implementation of a hybrid approach improves workload portability between a public and private cloud environment, based on APIs or containers. Combining private and public infrastructures also makes any transition from dedicated architecture to purely cloud-native environments much simpler, as well as helping to avoid an abrupt migration to highly virtualized systems.

Hybrid Cloud schema

The multi cloud vs the hybrid cloud

The hybrid cloud is a specific use case of the multi cloud.

“Multi cloud” is a more generic term, and generally describes different use cases. It refers to the deployment of multiple public clouds, with different cloud services providers, and does not necessarily include the use of a private cloud.

The two approaches do, however, share the need for infrastructure orchestration, for integration, deployment and the day-to-day management of system operations.

Multi-cloud strategy benefits 

Choosing a multi-cloud environment offers several advantages, and there are many benefits for companies that decide to adopt this strategy. The multi cloud allows companies to build environments that correspond to current trends and issues.

Some of the advantages companies choosing a multi-cloud approach can expect to see include:

  • Decreased provider lock-in
  • Increased agility allowing for improved workload distribution across cloud providers and faster reaction times
  • The ability to choose the most appropriate public clouds for IT needs, whether in terms of storage or applications
  • Faster services/solutions development and automated DevOps
  • The possibility to develop redundant architectures with a real competitive advantage to motivate and empower teams
  • Recruitment made easier as it becomes possible to look for non-specialized profiles

Currently, no cloud provider can guarantee the hyper-customization of infrastructure. So, why make do with only being 60% satisfied by one provider, when you could be 100% satisfied by several?

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It’s time to weigh up the benefits and challenges of the multi cloud

The cloud has evolved a great deal over the last decade, and the once binary choice of “on premise, using self-managed servers” versus “public cloud with servers managed by a dedicated provider” has become far more complex.

Open standards and open source pave the way for the multi cloud. And, at Scaleway, the leading alternative multi-cloud provider, we are convinced that we are only at the beginning of the adventure.


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