Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud vs. Mixed-Cloud: What’s the Difference? | SUSE Communities

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud vs. Mixed-Cloud: What’s the Difference?


Albert Einstein reportedly said, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” When it comes to hybrid cloud, it appears many of us would struggle to meet that lofty standard.   According to a recent research study 1, 4 out of 5 IT professionals believe hybrid cloud is misunderstood by customers and the term is often misused by vendors.

So, why all the confusion?

Cloud computing is pretty much omnipresent these days, with most organizations using more than one cloud platform. Many are taking advantage of both private and public clouds to accomplish different tasks. But that’s not a true hybrid model—it should instead be called multi-cloud or mixed-cloud. To clear things up, let’s take a closer look at multi, mixed and hybrid cloud to identify the differences and more importantly why they matter.

What is a multi-cloud or mixed-cloud solution?

According to the 2017 State of the Cloud Survey by RightScale, 85 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, in which they use more than a single cloud platform.  58 percent of these organizations are adopting a mixed-cloud approach, where some workloads are run on a private cloud, with a separate, public cloud being used for others. In these multi or mixed cloud deployments, cloud users were running applications in an average of 1.8 public clouds and 2.3 private clouds.2

Why do so many enterprises depend on multi or mixed cloud solutions? Because, as we describe in more detail in “Cloud Computing: Make the Right Choice for Your Organization,” private and public cloud solutions serve different needs. Maybe one team at your business needs to share highly sensitive data and another needs powerful processing for app development or big data projects—those teams might be best served by different types of cloud solutions.

What is a hybrid cloud solution?

If the use of multiple cloud types is called a multi-cloud solution, what is a hybrid cloud? One answer is that hybrid cloud is the future—but let’s first dig into what exactly it is before explaining why we believe it offers the most likely future cloud strategy for enterprises.

A true hybrid cloud involves much more than simply using private and public clouds independently to accomplish separate tasks. Rather, it is a solution that will provide the flexibility to combine private and public clouds as needed to achieve optimal performance, efficiency, and economy across the enterprise.

Hybrid clouds will provide access to mixed private and public cloud resources, ideally controlled through a single management environment. Enterprises that use a hybrid cloud model will be able to use different clouds as needed, even moving a given workload from one cloud to another and having some solutions span multiple clouds.

The reason we think hybrid clouds are the future is that the potential business benefits are immense. Imagine using powerful cloud bursting capabilities to immediately expand or shrink cloud usage to meet shifting workload demands. And then imagine moving workloads dynamically between private and public clouds as your needs and requirements change, using a centralized management solution.

That kind of agility will dramatically lower costs and give businesses with a true hybrid cloud a decided competitive advantage.

Are you ready for hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud solutions are expected to grow rapidly over the next 2 years, with many organizations seeing it as their preferred future option for business-critical workloads.   Enterprises can take steps now to make the eventual move to the hybrid cloud as quickly, painlessly, and cost-effectively as possible.

Whether your strategy is a mixed, multi or hybrid cloud, SUSE has you covered.  We’re committed to delivering the enterprise-grade Linux, container and cloud solutions, tools and support to enable your workloads to be run wherever you need them.

Learn more

For more detailed information about hybrid clouds and other enterprise cloud options, download “Cloud Computing: Make the Right Choice for Your Organization.

1Independent market research commissioned by SUSES and conducted by Insight Avenue, August 2017.

RightScale, 2017 State of the Cloud Survey. www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/cloud-computing-trends-2017-state-cloud-survey



  • Avatar photo amar says:

    that was good details on the next level of cloud computing technologies. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Thanks for clarifying this long-prevailing confusion that most people have regarding the cloud. The business world is gearing up for hybrid cloud and almost every business is adopting it progressively.

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    Terri Schlosser Terri recently joined the SUSE team as the Head of Product and Solutions Marketing. Prior to joining, Terri was at Rackspace where she was a Senior Marketing Manager for their OpenStack private cloud solutions, responsible for developing the solutions messaging framework and delivering a comprehensive integrated product marketing program. And before that Terri spent 16 years at IBM primarily within the Tivoli and Power Systems Software teams as a manager and individual contributor in marketing, product management, development, sales enablement and business development. She was even lucky enough to spend 2 years on assignment in the IBM software lab in Krakow Poland. Terri currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and 2 boys and loves spending time with her family, traveling and skiing.