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Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud: How to Find the Right Cloud Computing Approach for Your Business
It's hard to imagine a modern business that doesn't rely on cloud computing to some degree. Holding data on the cloud has transformed today's workplace and business operations. 

From the ability to securely store, access, and share information to the advantages of a cloud-based order management system, cloud computing is an indispensable component of business life.

The functions of cloud computing have developed greatly in recent years, with companies relying on it to boost their competitive advantage, cut costs, and streamline communication with technology such as an 8x8 cloud-hosted phone system.

The forms of cloud computing have also expanded. Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are two different models that are available to modern businesses. While hybrid clouds combine several different types of cloud environments, multi-cloud environments integrate two or more public cloud services.

The differences may sound small, but there are important distinctions that we'll explore in more detail.


Public cloud vs. private cloud

Before we look at the difference between the hybrid cloud and multi-cloud in more detail, it's important to first clarify the distinction between public and private cloud services. This is important because it concerns who owns and manages the cloud systems.

The public cloud refers to computing services that are offered via the internet. Many global cloud storage solutions work this way. Large data centers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, all offer their own versions of these services.

Private cloud infrastructure, on the other hand, is privately hosted on a company's premises. The data stored on the private cloud is protected by a business's own firewalls and often deals with very specific functions and workloads.

So, why are private clouds and public clouds relevant to hybrid cloud vs. multi-cloud computing?

A hybrid cloud structure combines two or more cloud-based environments. One or more of these will be private, and one or more will be public.

A multi-cloud structure, on the other hand, combines two or more public cloud environments.


What is a multi-cloud approach?

A multi-cloud approach is a great option for a company wanting plenty of choice in terms of providers. It also offers more flexibility to meet the demands of different workloads within business divisions. With the multi-cloud model, firms can choose the most appropriate provider  based on price, flexibility, or their needs in terms of scalable volume storage.

The advantages

The main advantage of the multi-cloud option is that the cost can be much lower than setting up and hosting a private in-company cloud. There's also less day-to-day maintenance, as the cloud-based system is hosted by an external provider.

The disadvantages

Of course, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Security is one. Most providers have heavy-duty security in place, but your company's sensitive information is ultimately being held outside your business.

Also, if you use several different public-cloud providers, this can be challenging to manage.

What is a hybrid cloud approach?

The hybrid cloud approach means that a company will use both public and private cloud environments. This means a firm might choose in-company storage and computing for some aspects of the business but also have the option to make use of third-party hosting where appropriate.

The advantages

The obvious advantage is being able to decide what data and which business activities to host publicly or privately. This flexibility and adaptability are very attractive to some businesses.

For example, it could be that a company is responsible for some highly regulated data as part of its business operations. This information may need to be held securely in-house to fulfill regulatory obligations. 

But a firm may not require this for all its functions. Therefore, the flexibility to also use public cloud architecture is an advantage.

The disadvantages

But there are disadvantages too. This model can be expensive, as hosting in-house can be costly. There can also be issues of integration and compatibility when you have both public and private cloud computing working together.


The right cloud option for your business

Deciding between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architecture will depend on your individual business profile.

For example, if your workforce is partly home-based or entirely remote, a multi-cloud approach can be very effective and convenient.

If scalability is a factor, it's easier to scale up or down with a multi-cloud approach, whereas this isn't possible to the same degree with a hybrid-cloud approach.

How sensitive is your business's data? Hybrid clouds are a safer option where regulations and legal obligations surrounding data are concerned. But multi-cloud solutions are extremely secure where you have data that's very important to your company and clients but isn't regulated by an official organization or government.

Lastly, the most important factor of all can often be cost. With a multi-cloud approach, you can spread the financial outlay by paying for services as you go, while choosing hybrid will mean paying upfront to install, set up, and run.

Ultimately, making the right choice will mean carefully weighing up the advantages and fit of each cloud-based option for the needs and wellbeing of your business.



Alwayne Powell - Director of International Digital Marketing, 8x8


Alwayne Powell is an experienced performance marketing leader with an extensive background in the digital space, working client and agency side to provide paid search, SEO and CRO solutions in the B2B and B2C sectors. They are the current Senior Digital Marketing Manager at 8x8, VoIP system for small business and leading communication platform provider. You can find them on LinkedIn.

Published Wednesday, February 01, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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