What is multi-cloud?

A multi-cloud infrastructure involves the use of multiple cloud providers to leverage the unique capabilities of each, instead of being tied to a single provider. The term multi-cloud implies the use of multiple public clouds with or without the use of private clouds, offering the unique benefit of customization and choice.

What’s the difference between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud?

Hybrid-cloud environments involve both public and private clouds, which share tools, services and applications that support each other to accomplish a task. Multi-cloud environments use multiple public clouds and sometimes incorporate private clouds, too. A multi-cloud infrastructure typically involves these different clouds working autonomously to complete discrete tasks.

Why use a multi-cloud strategy?

With a multi-cloud strategy, businesses have choices in providers and services whenever they need them. Choice creates a price-competitive environment that benefits businesses that choose a multi-cloud strategy.

Businesses that choose a multi-cloud strategy become more agile and have access to emerging technologies as they become available. In addition, with a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can optimize for both performance and cost because they are not locked in with one single cloud provider for services. To enjoy these benefits, organizations must remain diligent about latency, cost and other potential issues.

Multi-cloud advantages

In a multi-cloud strategy, businesses distribute their resources between cloud service providers for a number of advantages:

Agility

Businesses can choose the best computing tools, services or applications offered by third-party providers to meet their needs. These offerings change regularly. By working with multiple cloud providers, businesses can take advantage of the best offerings from each provider.

Cost

The costs of cloud services vary by provider and change often. Using a multi-cloud strategy allows businesses to take advantage of the best deals and the best capabilities at any time.

Governance

Maintaining data privacy is important for all businesses. Regulations and corporate policies may require that certain data you store must be maintained in specific locations. Using a multi-cloud system can help you accomplish this.

Risk reduction

When businesses employ a multi-cloud strategy, they also help to reduce risk. When the risk is spread across multiple public cloud providers, the risk that downtime will impact their organization lessens.

Vendor lock-in

Using a multi-cloud strategy allows businesses to be more cost-efficient. By choosing different computing services from different vendors, businesses avoid being locked into one single cloud provider’s offerings and pricing structure.

Multi-cloud disadvantages

There are some disadvantages to a multi-cloud strategy including complexity, redundancy, and security issues.

Complexity

Governance and control in a multi-cloud strategy can be complex because of the choices businesses have in the environment. A multi-cloud strategy works when companies are able to efficiently retrieve data from different platforms and maintain data across providers—all of which can be highly involved. In addition, managing various providers’ requirements and characteristics regarding formats, security models, and more can be time-consuming.

Redundancy

Redundancy in a multi-cloud environment is a two-edged sword. Businesses have the peace of mind knowing that their data is stored on different platforms and easily accessible should an issue arise. But duplication increases their costs and the management necessary to control those costs and contracts.

Security

Taking advantage of the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy requires an on-going assessment process to be sure the security framework is appropriate. By using multiple providers, companies may increase their exposure to attacks and security breaches.

Learn more about multi-cloud strategies

The power of choice with a multi-cloud platform

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