Multi-Cloud is a model of cloud computing where an organization utilizes a combination of clouds, which can be two or more public clouds, two or more private clouds, or a combination of both public and private clouds.
Multi-Cloud is the superset of multiple public cloud, hybrid, on-premises, and edge. A multi-cloud deployment model relies on the use of more than one public cloud service provider for compute or storage resources, independent of the use of other private cloud or on-premises infrastructure. A multi-cloud deployment that includes private cloud or on-premises infrastructure is considered a hybrid multi-cloud.
A multi-cloud strategy not only provides more flexibility for which cloud services an enterprise chooses to use, it also reduces dependence on a single cloud hosting provider.
There are several reasons to adopt a multi-cloud platform, including:
Multi-cloud Management is the set of tools and procedures that enables an organization to monitor, optimize, and secure applications and workloads across the data center, edge, and any cloud environment.. Ideally, a multi-cloud management solution allows cross-functional teams to manage multiple clouds from a single interface, including different cloud providers (e.g. AWS, Azure, and GCP), and supports multi-cloud deployment and container orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes.
Benefits of a multi-cloud management platform include:
A multi-cloud strategy is increasingly common, with a typical organization utilizing over two public clouds as well as private clouds. Our latest research shows that 80% of organizations have a distributed model for cloud apps across public, private, and edge environments, and expect to support this combination in three years’ time. Since 53% of all applications are expected to be modernized by 2024, the growth of multi-cloud is expected to grow in concert.
Although many organizations are utilizing traditional broadband pipes into their cloud providers, many enterprises are utilizing network function virtualization (NFV) providers from third-party edge network providers such as Megaport and Equinix, utilizing a single pipe from the organization that leverages the interconnection between major cloud providers offered by these companies.
Ideally, organizations should keep multi-cloud in mind when designing their cloud architecture by engaging all of the cloud service providers at once and planning for a multi-cloud management platform from the outset.
Since this is not always practical, there are many tools available for managing multi-cloud environments, and Gartner regularly explores the best of these multi-cloud solutions in their Magic Quadrant reports.
Although there are many multi-cloud management strategies and solutions, the best ones share a number of common features. Perhaps the most powerful is compatibility with containers, which enable workloads to be seamlessly moved across multiple cloud providers. Thus, support for containers and Kubernetes is key to a robust multi-cloud management platform.
Automation is another feature of effective multi-cloud management solutions. Automation allows IT teams to deploy, monitor and secure applications quickly and reliably, and to scale their operations without becoming overwhelmed. In this way, automation helps businesses manage the complexity of multi-cloud environments.
It is easy to confuse hybrid cloud with multi-cloud, but there are two key differences.
With these differences in mind, it’s possible (and common) therefore, to have a multi-cloud environment that is also hybrid cloud by having at least one private cloud, at least one public cloud, and some level of interoperability between the private and public cloud environments. Put another way, hybrid cloud is always considered multi-cloud, but multi-cloud is not always hybrid cloud.
Enterprises might choose to use a hybrid cloud to get consistent operations across environments, and because a private cloud is less expensive than using a public cloud but does not scale as easily. If a business needs the ability to handle spikes in demand, it might use a private cloud to run most of the workloads, accessing the public cloud only when necessary. Or, if a business offers services that collect customer data, they can host the services on a public cloud or clouds while keeping sensitive information on a private cloud.
Some organizations take advantage of multi-cloud capabilities to manage very large amounts of storage that is frequently accessed by a broad variety of users. For example, streaming media behemoth Netflix leverages both AWS and Google Cloud to reduce its dependency on a single provider, to take advantage of disaster recovery and business continuity services between providers, and to leverage those capabilities unique to each cloud.