Cloud Technology

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi Cloud: What CIOs Should Know

More organizations are dividing their workloads between multiple public and private clouds. Here are three things to consider before you move to a hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud environment.

The cloud revolution is gaining momentum.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “the cloud is in hypergrowth mode” as enterprises “depend on mixed networks composed of multiple cloud service providers, third-party cloud platform vendors, and on-premises systems.”

And the cloud adoption rates show no signs of slowing down. Forrester stated that the public cloud market will hit $236 billion by 2020. This number is 23 percent higher than Forrester’s previous forecast.

Meanwhile, LogicMonitor predicts that 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. In fact, 41 percent of these workloads will be in the public cloud, while 22 percent will run in hybrid environments.

You can also take advantage of a new, multi-cloud strategy. In this model, you distribute workloads across different public clouds. According to the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report, 21 percent of enterprises now use multiple public clouds.

What Is the Multi Cloud? How Is It Different from the Hybrid Cloud?

In a multi-cloud environment, you use multiple public clouds.

One of the biggest benefits of a multi-cloud model is the ability to switch providers as your needs change. For example, you can move some of your public cloud workloads to a different vendor to lower your costs. Or you may have turnover in your IT team, and your new hires have extensive experience in Google Cloud. You can quickly move workloads to Google to make better use of your team’s expertise.

Using multiple public clouds also minimizes your risks, as you don’t have everything locked in with a single vendor. This makes it easier for you to change providers if one of your public clouds doesn’t meet your needs. It also reduces your chances of downtime and allows you to respond quickly if a public cloud provider has an outage.

In a hybrid cloud model, you divide workloads between public and private clouds.

The hybrid cloud is a practical option if you want greater agility but have security or compliance restrictions that prevent you from storing some data in a public cloud.

Another benefit of the hybrid cloud is that you can integrate technologies and gain greater control over your systems. Multi-cloud environments keep your data in silos, as you can’t integrate competing products.

You can achieve the highest level of flexibility by using hybrid and multi clouds at the same time.

For example, you can split your website between multiple public clouds – using Microsoft Azure for compute and networking and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for storage. You can also tap into a hybrid model by storing your customer e-commerce data in a private cloud.

3 Challenges You Need to Address Before Moving to a Hybrid-Cloud or Multi-Cloud Environment

The more cloud services you use, the more your complexities will increase. If you want your transition to the cloud to flow smoothly, you must go in with a plan.

Here are three challenges to consider before you divide your workloads across clouds:

1. Cybersecurity

Public clouds are often more secure than legacy environments. However, a problem in a public cloud is a public problem. If you have a wardrobe malfunction at home, you’ll limit your exposure to a few people at the most. But if you have a wardrobe malfunction at a major sporting event, everyone will talk about it for years to come.

Securing your data with a hybrid or multi cloud is no different from securing any other cloud environment. But the stakes are higher, as you’re one human error away from exposing your data to everyone on the internet.

For example, some public cloud services have secret loopbacks that can pull your logs. At Black Hat USA, William Bengtson, senior security engineer at Netflix, demonstrated how this works. He used the interface to break into AWS, pass credentials to management, and start servers as an unauthenticated machine on the web browser. Netflix has recently developed a way to detect credential compromise in AWS so you can prevent unauthorized users from building servers and billing them to you.

Before you put any data in the public cloud, learn about any back doors that might let hackers into your systems. That way, you can address vulnerabilities before they become a problem.

Here are three more questions to ask before you move workloads to the public cloud:

  1. Can you modify your security strategy, so you can use it across multiple public clouds? Or is your strategy specific to a single vendor?
  2. Is your cloud security in line with your internal security controls?
  3. As you prepare to run a new workload in the cloud, where in the process should you place security and compliance requirements around your data?

2. Vendor lock-in

Not all public cloud providers are on board with the multi cloud. Your vendor may discourage you from using other services – making it difficult for you to gain efficiencies and cost savings in the public cloud.

It also might be impossible to apply your security solutions and orchestration to a different cloud.

If you are with a single cloud provider but need more resiliency, ask how using another public cloud provider will impact your relationship with your current vendor.

Also, get clear on how it will affect your reliability, security, and performance.

3. Integrating with other clouds

The lack of integration between clouds is one of today’s biggest cloud challenges. Companies sometime underestimate the effort involved with cloud integration.

Enterprises should better understand the relationships between their cloud vendors and any underlying complexities. It is important to get clear on which clouds run each of your applications. This will help you identify where you need integrations. Also, find out if your legacy environments have integration capabilities or APIs. Ensure your integrated systems meet your security requirements. And finally, standardize as much of your cloud environment as possible, as this will make the integration process easier.

Cloud integration should be included in any company-wide cloud strategy and should be considered when selecting cloud providers.

How Leading Organizations Succeed with the Cloud

If you’re just starting your journey to the hybrid cloud, you don’t need to move to a multi-cloud model right away. You can consider a multi-cloud environment in the future, especially if you want to take advantage of different services from different public cloud vendors.

The fastest path to both the hybrid cloud and the multi cloud is to work with an experienced partner. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), leading organizations recommend using third-party support for a successful transition to the cloud. In fact, 90 percent of companies have partners who manage their cloud vendors. The HBR report states that a partner can help you manage service level agreements, as well as understand the policies, procedures, and architectures of each service.

Next Steps

Check out more advice and best practices on running multiple clouds. Get your copy of the white paper on how to integrate different cloud services, read the guide on how to reduce your risks from rogue public cloud and learn how to achieve real business value with the hybrid cloud.

You can also contact us today to discover how we can simplify your move to the cloud.