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Refcard #316

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multi-Cloud

Hybrid cloud infrastructure and multi-cloud environments are two different terms, but the two concepts aren't always completely distinct from one another. To help eliminate confusion, this Refcard aims to define "hybrid cloud" versus "multi-cloud." It also looks at some of the management challenges in a multi-cloud world and how best to address them.

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Written By

author avatar Harold Bell
Cloud Specialist, Nutanix
Table of Contents
Section 1


Hybrid clouds allow operators to perform a single task leveraging resources from two separate clouds. The key to remember is that hybrid combines the resources of two different clouds – could be two private, two public, or a mix of both. Referencing the Venn diagrams below, the overlapping space in the middle represents the encrypted, or “hybrid,” layer.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure provides notable flexibility for organizations. You enjoy the secure access of on-premises resources while also having the rapid scale and elasticity of the public cloud. But what about environments that utilize both public and private cloud infrastructures if data isn’t shared between them? How do we categorize this scenario?

A “multi-cloud environment” would be the right answer. These types of cloud environments differ from hybrids, as they suggest the presence and usage of many clouds without the guaranteed interoperability between them. According to Gartner, more than 70% of enterprises will be implementing a multi-cloud strategy by the end of this year.

One common misconception when comparing hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures is that the two are mutually exclusive. The explicit definition of a multi-cloud environment, i.e. more than one cloud, suggests that a hybrid cloud model is also a multi-cloud model.

However, the inverse is not always true. A multi-cloud configuration can be hybridized, but it can also exist without the need for individual clouds to talk to each other.

Enterprises are increasingly presented with business justifications for managing workloads amongst several cloud providers. Let’s look at some of the management challenges in a multi-cloud world and how best to address them.

This is a preview of the Defining Hybrid Cloud (vs. Multi-Cloud) Refcard. To read the entire Refcard, please download the PDF from the link above.

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