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From "Cloud-first" to "Cloud-smart" with Hybrid Multi-cloud
28 Aug 2021

From "Cloud-first" to "Cloud-smart" with Hybrid Multi-cloud

Cloud has been at the forefront of the digitalization of everything. It changed the way applications are developed, stored, and consumed. Factors like changing market trends, accelerated development demands, increasing pressure on existing infrastructure & processes, and creating environments that will improve cost-effectiveness further added fuel to the cloud adoption trend. Cloud providers are coming with newer feature-rich technologies, strategies, and delivery models to increase their respective market shares.

From the consumer's perspective, though, Cloud computing earlier had three versions, viz. Public, Private, and Hybrid. Everybody pretty much knows what these are; still, here is a short version in layman's terms -

  • Public: Cloud environments are usually created from IT infrastructure that the end user does not own
  • Private: Cloud environments created from IT infrastructure that a single end-user or a group solely owns
  • Hybrid: Single IT environment created from multiple environments, both private and public, connected by local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or APIs.

A hybrid cloud was the best thing to happen to the cloud. It helped modernize applications and processes incrementally as resources permit while addressing the most crucial cloud concern: security. According to a study by the IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV), a Hybrid cloud generates 2.5 times greater business value than a single cloud platform approach. No wonder the hybrid cloud strategy brought a new competitive edge to businesses. These benefits stem from the ability to leverage each cloud provider's unique strengths, flexibility, and alternatives by geographic region.

Then came a more pragmatic approach – multi-cloud. Multi-cloud connects more than one public or private cloud service from more than one or more cloud vendors. Having a multi-cloud environment helps better control sensitive data or as redundant storage space for improved disaster recovery. The multi-cloud approach improved security and performance through an expanded portfolio of environments.

The key to building a robust, scalable, dynamic, and cost-effective environment is choosing the right hosting platform that aligns with your needs. Enterprises are increasingly turning to a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud solution to build out such environments. One thing to remember here is that - all hybrid clouds are multi-clouds, but not all multi-clouds are hybrid clouds. Let me make it simple for you.

Hybrid cloud, Multi-cloud, and Hybrid Multi-cloud

The multi-cloud environment enables enterprises to utilize multiple public clouds, private clouds, or even physical and virtual infrastructures. You can choose to host multiple components of your application on any provider that you may find suitable. Organizations opt for a multi-cloud strategy since all cloud providers have different features and offerings that one may want to utilize. This helps them avoid vendor lock-in and take advantage of cloud arbitrage. Hybrid basically means heterogeneous. Hybrid cloud differs in one significant way from multi-cloud computing; it includes private infrastructure, physical, virtual, or cloud, along with one or more public cloud services, most often working in conjunction to achieve desired business goals.

In short, multi-cloud always incorporates more than one public or private cloud service, usually performing different functions. A hybrid cloud always incorporates a private component and is often managed as one entity. Multi-cloud may or may not have to include a private cloud component. But if it does, it’s a different recipe. This recipe can be concluded as a hybrid multi-cloud strategy.

A hybrid multi-cloud approach combines the heterogeneous nature of hybrid and multiple options of multi-cloud. No single system or technology is the right solution for every project. And this is the exact problem that hybrid multi-cloud addresses. It enables you to choose what makes sense for each component, task, and project that you tackle. It helps you maintain existing platforms to benefit from their rich heritage and, at the same time, integrate with new technologies and capabilities. To be precise, having a hybrid multi-cloud environment enables you to have the right platform for the right task. That being said, let’s see what benefits the hybrid multi-cloud enables you.

Benefits of hybrid multi-cloud

  • Avoiding Vendor Lock-In

    Vendor lock-in is one aspect that most cloud users are skeptical about. Freedom to run your applications along with the associated data on the cloud of your choice is the best thing that can happen to businesses in the competitive cloud environment that we have now. With hybrid multi-cloud, you can move from local to private to public to another cloud of your choice with the options available to you without having to worry about lock-in. With a hybrid multi-cloud strategy, you can plan for agility and portability between multiple providers and combine it with your traditional best practices.

  • Enhanced ROI and Reliability

    Every cloud is built differently based on the technology infrastructure, pricing models, and policies. The continuously evolving landscape is driving consumption prices down at the same time, providing better services and options. Running development and test workloads on one cloud and production on another is one of the best use cases to validate the value of hybrid multi-cloud arbitrage. You can choose what is best for your needs and may still end up paying less than ever before.

    A disaster or an outage can cost your business not only in financial terms but also on the trust value. The Hybrid multi-cloud approach enables organizations to set up DR on multiple sites, and you can always have DR at your private site. So, in case of a disaster, even if your one DR fails, you have your optional DR. This mitigates the risk involved with natural disasters and issues particular to one cloud provider. This increases overall reliability and adds reliance value.

  • Cloud Agility

    Cloud agility comes with some key challenges, such as security & compliance, lack of skills & knowledge, additional development complexities, and portability. Adopting a hybrid multi-cloud strategy gives businesses the flexibility to choose the right cloud for the right workload at the right price. Coupled with the avoidance of vendor lock-in, the hybrid multi-cloud approach allows enterprises to change providers based on economic or enriched capability reasons. Based on functional, non-functional, and business value criteria, businesses can evaluate what type of platform or service is ideal for individual applications.

Hybrid multi-cloud needs uniform solutions in terms of billing and provisioning, cost control, access control, performance analysis, and capacity management. There are many multi-cloud architectures, such as cloudification, re-deployment, relocation, rebinding, refactoring, replacement, and modernization. However, for hybrid multi-cloud initiatives, you need a specific approach where you can re-architect and deploy applications on multiple clouds or partially on multiple clouds and on-prem depending on feasibility.

Hybrid multi-cloud brings a new competitive edge to businesses. However, operationalizing and monitoring can be a cumbersome process for some of us. You need to integrate the existing setup with the new one in order to gain the desired business value. Get in touch with our cloud experts to see how you can start the hybrid multi-cloud journey.

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