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

Terri Schlosser

By: Terri Schlosser

September 12, 2017 7:41 am

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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

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Categories: Cloud Computing, Cloud Solutions, OpenStack, SUSE Cloud, SUSE in the Cloud, SUSE OpenStack Cloud, Technical Solutions

Disclaimer: As with everything else in the SUSE Blog, this content is definitely not supported by SUSE (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).  It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.

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