In recent decades, cloud computing and digital data storage have become an integral part of modern business. While this technology was often reserved for only the largest organizations, it has now become a widely accessible solution for many companies. Hybrid multicloud platforms can change the way businesses behave, and understanding their pros and cons can help organizations become more productive and secure.
In 2019, the Harvard Business Review published a study detailing specific strategies for deploying multicloud technologies. The data not only revealed useful information for adopting cloud computing, but also shed light on the complex nature of multicloud systems. Multicloud technologies can be complicated, especially as they evolve, but learning about them, and the hybrid models others swear by, can help organizations thrive in the long run.
How does cloud computing work?
Cloud computing is not easy to define. There are multiple ways to describe and use cloud systems, adding to the confusion surrounding the technology.
At its simplest, multicloud can be described as a collection of public cloud programs that run aspects of a business for the sake of improving operations and reducing costs. This approach allows companies to choose which tools to use in an effort to maximize productivity. Multicloud computing operates over a public platform-as-a-service (PaaS) network, allowing businesses to access cloud servers and change subscription data on the fly.
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Hybrid cloud systems use private clouds in addition to public software. This can be useful for larger companies or those dealing with sensitive information. While both hybrid cloud and multicloud technologies have their merits, they are both used in vastly different circumstances.
What is multi-cloud?
Multicloud technology involves using multiple cloud platforms to conduct business. This allows companies to manufacture, distribute and manage their business without having to invest in physical infrastructure and data servers. Multicloud is especially useful for small businesses. In previous decades, organizations would have been forced to purchase and maintain their own servers. That is no longer the case.
Multicloud systems operate on a pay-as-you-go basis. This, in addition to cost effectiveness, is one of the biggest benefits of using multicloud. Customers can pay for special tools if necessary and cancel at any time.
In addition, cloud platforms such as those from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft include options for organizations depending on what they produce. For example, companies that produce apps can take advantage of developer tools from the cloud.
These tools include the core components that make up multicloud and hybrid cloud technologies: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and PaaS. Multicloud itself is mainly centered around IaaS and PaaS.
Multicloud computing is therefore quite versatile. The benefits of using a single cloud platform are even more numerous when applied to multiple platforms working together. In fact, research shows that more than 60% of multicloud organizations use three or more public cloud platforms.
But multicloud isn’t perfect for every business, and the hybrid versus multicloud platforms debate is valid given the organizations that tend to operate in a hybrid cloud environment.
What is Hybrid Cloud?
As the name implies, a hybrid cloud model combines two different types of computing: public cloud software and private infrastructure. While similar to multicloud, hybrid cloud differs in one distinct way. With this approach, organizations can still leverage aspects of multicloud technology while maintaining control over their own data storage centers and internal management systems.
This is important for companies that keep sensitive data. Hybrid cloud models offer greater security than multi-cloud platforms, keeping medical and personal information safe when entrusted to companies that provide delicate products or services. Hybrid clouds can leverage intrusion detection systems (IDSs), which are constantly improving. These improvements, along with the physical servers that businesses can access, help ensure safe and secure data collection.
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However, hybrid clouds are often the preserve of larger entities. While multicloud computing allows companies to use infrastructure from other organizations, a hybrid cloud model forces companies to invest in their own servers, routers and interfaces. Therefore, it can be difficult for smaller companies to participate in a hybrid workplace.
A hybrid cloud model can also be used to complement business demands that some organizations may not be able to meet. In a hybrid structure, physical computing can be supported by cloud servers to provide relief during a retail peak, for example. This is most applicable to organizations that already have in-house computer technology. This option can also be useful for those who want more control over day-to-day activities; however, the need to provide private internet connections and data storage can be costly.
Key features to look for in a cloud strategy
When it comes to implementing a multicloud versus hybrid cloud strategy, there are a few essential questions to consider. First, almost every business has some form of network security. Organizations must determine the importance of their digital security needs before choosing a cloud model. These security aspects include:
- The nature of the data collected
- The amount of data collected
- The size of the organization
Security is extremely important for large companies that collect private information and large amounts of data. For other groups, a multicloud approach may be more appropriate. Either way, a successful cloud strategy involves strict security protocols. It’s also worth noting that multicloud approaches can include security options; however, its implementation can be left to organizations rather than the cloud provider.
Hybrid multicloud strategies should also include specific information about what kind of cloud will be used. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are all mainstream options. Other tech conglomerates such as IBM offer their own cloud services. Hybrid cloud technologies will also depend on personal servers, forcing companies to maintain and organize their own data. A cloud strategy should provide detailed information about the specific platforms organizations use to do business.
In addition, hybrid multicloud services will often require remedial actions to help restore and backup data. Adopting a cloud strategy should therefore include safeguards for private information. These basic aspects of cloud strategy are essential for organizations looking to move to a multicloud or hybrid cloud architecture.
But how can companies choose between hybrid versus multicloud technologies? The answer, which is largely determined by factors surrounding manufacturing, industry and business dynamics, is simple.
The benefits and popularity of multicloud
Cloud computing is becoming increasingly relevant. According to a report from Flexera, more than 50% of organizations will move their operations to a cloud platform by 2022. In fact, almost every company is incorporating aspects of multicloud into their day-to-day practices.
Multicloud has grown in popularity due to its ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and customizable tools. It enables organizations to develop a professional strategy while saving time and money. But hybrid cloud technologies are almost as popular as multicloud approaches.
So why are so many organizations adopting the hybrid and multicloud approach? And, most importantly, how can new organizations choose the right model for their business?
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The benefits of a multicloud approach are great. Multicloud is easy to implement, cheaper than investing in physical servers and very effective. Multicloud is best for small businesses that can’t afford private servers and for businesses almost exclusively engaged in digital commerce. It’s also suitable for organizations that don’t have to adhere to strict security regulations or that frequently fluctuate in user engagement. All these issues can be managed by multicloud providers.
Hybrid cloud systems, on the other hand, are better for organizations that need more control. Hybrid cloud approaches are generally more secure than multi-cloud computing, which is required by companies providing healthcare and financial services, as well as those working for government agencies. Hybrid approaches, which require more maintenance, also give organizations greater control over their interfaces and digital production.
That said, hybrid cloud is not an essential aspect of cloud computing and is often only feasible for companies with sufficient resources to develop private servers. Due to the hybrid cloud options available, it has great potential for future business use. Currently, however, it is most successful when applied to large or highly regulated organizations.
The debate between multicloud and hybrid cloud computing is not one to which there is a clear answer. The best option for your organization depends on a plethora of factors, all of which are important to doing business. Before adopting a hybrid or multicloud strategy, every company should think about the ways each strategy will affect their operations. In most cases, multicloud computing will be best. However, hybrid cloud has undeniable advantages. First of all, it is important to know the limits and requirements of your own company.