Businesses moving to the cloud quickly discover that cloud computing offers a multi-faceted solution to their IT requirements. Multiple large and small public cloud vendors offer a tremendous variety of products and services designed to meet the needs of any size organization. It can be difficult to identify the right solution that solves pressing business problems while optimizing a company’s IT budget.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the terms used to differentiate alternate approaches to cloud computing infrastructure are sometimes confused. Let’s look at the answers to some common questions about multi-cloud that help clarify their differences and determine which is the right strategy for your company.

What’s the Difference Between Public and Private Cloud?

The two basic types of cloud infrastructures are public and private. The public cloud is under the control of a public cloud service provider (CSP) and offers its services to any customer willing to pay for them. Public cloud customers share resources provided by the CSP. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are two examples of large public CSPs.

Advantages of the public cloud include:

  • Flexibility and scalability to meet changing business requirements;
  • Geographic diversity to enhance resiliency;
  • Reduced infrastructure cost;
  • Simplified infrastructure management.

Private clouds are controlled by a single company or organization. Its resources are not shared with other entities. Constructing a private cloud requires an organization to provide all infrastructure components and network connectivity.

Private cloud advantages include:

  • Reduced complexity for stable workloads;
  • Makes use of legacy infrastructure components;
  • Complete control can provide enhanced security and compliance.

What is a Multi-Cloud Approach?

A multi-cloud infrastructure is built using the offerings of multiple public CSPs. It offers organizations the ability to choose the best solution to address business objectives from the diverse portfolios of public cloud vendors. Multi-cloud dynamically mixes and centrally manages the most appropriate solutions available.

Multi-cloud infrastructure enables an organization to be more agile and address evolving customer demands and expectations. Companies can select best-of-breed solutions from any CSP to address specific requirements. This allows an organization to adopt cutting-edge technology as it becomes available to the public.

Are Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud the Same?

In a word, no! While both solutions make use of multiple and distinct cloud infrastructures, they have very important differences that influence how they are used.

We have already discussed the multi-cloud approach using the combined resources of more than one public CSP. A hybrid cloud is constructed using resources from both public and private clouds. Both the public and private segments of a hybrid cloud can have multiple components. The public portion of a hybrid cloud can be a multi-cloud solution.

A hybrid cloud enables companies to segregate specific workloads from exposure to the public cloud. The private cloud may be used to process sensitive information with a public cloud used to provide for other IT needs. Companies may also use a private cloud for proprietary applications that would be difficult to migrate to a public cloud infrastructure.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Multi-Cloud Infrastructure?

Several clear benefits accompany a successfully implemented multi-cloud infrastructure. The advantages of multi-cloud include:

  • The capacity to respond quickly in a dynamic business environment;
  • The scalability that enables a business to capitalize on opportunities while controlling costs;
  • The ability to choose the best and most innovative products from among the offerings of competing CSPs.

A multi-cloud approach is necessarily more complex than working with a single CSP. This can pose challenges to an organization including:

  • Complicated management of multiple cloud platforms;
  • The possibility of increased costs;
  • Additional security concerns with data spread across multiple infrastructures.

How Does a Company Deploy a Multi-Cloud Environment?

Successfully implementing a multi-cloud strategy requires a methodical approach. The plan should encompass the following three steps.

  • Align business needs with infrastructure requirements. Adopt cloud components that address these needs and further business objectives.
  • Develop a migration plan that includes measures to address the company’s current IT environment and the proposed multi-cloud solution.
  • Measure progress by using a multi-cloud management system.

What is Visibility and Why is it Important?

Information blindness is one of the major risks inherent in the complexity of multi-cloud infrastructure. Without visibility into the infrastructure, it’s impossible to manage it effectively. Providing the required level of visibility into the environment requires a tool with three critical characteristics.

  • The tool should be an integrated platform that provides visibility into all workloads through a single interface. Ideally, this tool integrates with a company’s legacy IT tools.
  • The tool needs to provide detailed analytics reading issues like cost, performance, usage, and security. These reports can help with capacity planning and identifying trends.
  • Reporting is an essential component of managing a multi-cloud environment. Delivering timely information to the appropriate personnel will keep the multi-cloud strategy moving forward and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Identifying the Right Cloud Solution for Your Business

It can be challenging to determine the correct cloud approach for your organization. Your company may have never considered a multi-cloud strategy, preferring to work with a single CSP. This could be the result of CSP marketing or a reluctance to engage in the complexity of working with multiple vendors.

Whatever the reason, the benefits of moving to a multi-cloud infrastructure are too great to ignore. The flexibility of multi-cloud meshes well with the demands of a dynamic marketplace. Companies determined to remain competitive need to look at all cloud computing options.

VAST can answer your questions regarding the benefits of adopting a multi-cloud approach. VAST will perform an infrastructure assessment to help an enterprise develop and execute a multi-cloud strategy to address its unique business objectives. The company also offers VAST View to facilitate the visibility into and management of multi-cloud environments. Partnering with VAST is a great first step toward reaping the benefits of multi-cloud infrastructure.