Multi-cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Difference, & Why Does It Matter?


Apr 21

Multi-cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Difference, & Why Does It Matter?

Finally, enterprises are achieving a global awareness of the benefits of cloud computing, and these companies’ cloud environments are described in innumerable ways using terms like: Distributed Cloud, Cloud bursting, Multi-cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and many more. Let’s look at two terms that are often confused: Hybrid Cloud and Multi Cloud. While either of these represents enough topics for entire series of articles.

The two terms mean very different things, and it is essential to understand, and to ensure the right cloud solution which can be provided based on their requirements.

Sounds complicated? Actually, It is not! Let us start with looking at definitions, which will help us in drawing a line between the two.

So what’s the difference?

Hybrid Cloud

If the goal is to migrate entirely to a Public cloud provider such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure, no matter how ill prepared, enterprises can just leap to cloud. The way to understand Hybrid Cloud is to understand common interoperability during transition period when the enterprise will have some resources in the enterprise data centers or solo hosting centers and meanwhile other resources, systems, and workloads are migrated to Public Cloud.

Every enterprise’s cloud journey must include preparation for supporting both legacy and cloud infrastructure simultaneously unless it is literally “born in the cloud.” But to support and maintain integrity of the level of integration versus isolation, enterprises needs to take a conscious decision that it will achieve as a balance between the data center side and the cloud side.


Depending on the needs of each company, a Multi-Cloud strategy can employ Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud solutions. Often to meet specific workload needs, a mix of cloud services from different providers. While the services being provided, would not be connected or orchestrated among them. This concept is termed as Multi-Cloud.

Basically, in many cases, a Multi-Cloud solution may be using Hybrid Cloud depending on the requirement of the organization – but Multi-Cloud does not inherently mean that they must be using a Hybrid Cloud.

Multi-cloud can also support multiple cloud storage services that are independent of the APIs and interfaces used to access those services. They also have an extensible data workflow engine that supports full data-lifecycle management capabilities effectively.

Why Does It Matter?

Enterprises have different needs for different applications and may opt for Multi-Cloud or Hybrid Cloud solution. To minimize disruption of the existing internal operations and the introduction of new tools into existing environments, it may sometimes be tempting to graft a separate cloud environment along with traditional data centers. To develop and deploy integrated platforms and architectures wherever practical, it is a best practice to anticipate the need, while hybrid cloud architectures vary.

However, the target of every enterprise is to reduce complexity and more functions to simultaneously performed in multiple environments.

Here are some characteristics of Hybrid Cloud environments:

  • Unified monitoring and resource management
  • A single overall network infrastructure but segmented
  • A centralized identity infrastructure that applies across multiple environments
  • Secure and persistent Connectivity between the enterprise and the cloud environment
  • Safe extension of the corporate network with integrated networking.

Yet, the motivation for WHY companies might consider multi-cloud approaches, and architectures are where things get interesting. Let’s see what are in the buckets while using a Multi-Cloud environment.

  • Minimize perceived risk by using more than one cloud provider
  • Choose to extend workloads into public Cloud based on the ease of migration
  • Take advantage of the best service and feature advances and reap the full benefits of the Cloud.


Of course, every enterprise is different, and they build a cloud strategy that meets their needs. It may be On-premise, Off-premise, or a mix. There may be a specific case that indicates a different approach that has compelling reasons and priorities.

At the end of the day, both the environments effectively provide business services. While the terminology may be complicated, but this provides a solid baseline to understand the difference and how it is being used by the dominant enterprises.

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