What is multi-cloud?

Multi-cloud is a cloud computing model where an organisation distributes assets over at least two clouds from different providers, whether public or private.

Why is multi-cloud so popular?

Nearly all organisations have outgrown a single cloud environment for their IT infrastructure. To keep their businesses running efficiently, most run a combination of public and private clouds from multiple providers. Deploying a multi-cloud virtual infrastructure makes many business goals easier, which has led to its dominance in computing.

In fact, according to a 2020 report, 93% of enterprises that have more than 1,000 employees are using a multi-cloud strategy. And another survey found that 98% are planning to make the switch by 2021.

What should companies consider when creating a multi-cloud strategy?

As organisations develop their multi-cloud strategies, they must consider each cloud’s API formats and encodings, user access and where data, applications and web services reside to create a seamless experience. Taking care of integrating resources, security concerns and varying privacy regulations is also critical to the design. But with careful planning, the resulting multi-cloud architecture should make it easy to access and manage data from any location with the lowest latency possible.

Why do companies use a multi-cloud approach?

Multi-cloud environments provide several advantages, but their real value depends on an organisation’s goals. Potential advantages include greater flexibility, risk mitigation, access to expensive technology without the capital expenditure, high availability and more. Each is covered in detail below.

  • Flexibility: A flexible, modular infrastructure helps companies develop software faster, adjust quickly to changing demand and only pay for what they consume. It also allows companies to rapidly take advantage of technology advances, select different vendors to combine services and create applications that are more custom and provide a competitive advantage.
  • Resiliency: By using multiple clouds, companies have limited exposure to just one vendor, which reduces the risk of outages/security failures. When one cloud fails, services from other providers can still run, keeping your business in operation. With such redundancies, organisations have an always-on, highly scalable backup for data, workflows and systems.
  • Costs: By using resources as a service, companies can avoid capital expenditures and an increased staff count to reduce the cost of data management. And with providers absorbing the cost of maintenance and upgrades, an enterprise can focus more resources to deliver new/more products and services to customers without increasing personnel to manage them.
  • Availability/performance: Once a new solution/service is identified, a cloud provider can get it up and running almost instantly, compared to longer on-prem timelines. Also, deploying workloads on clouds closer to where users reside can maximise response times and maintain high availability.
  • Innovation: With a multi-cloud environment, enterprises can develop new and enhanced products and services as well as create innovative business models and new revenue streams.
  • Data sovereignty: Regulations, laws and corporate policies can require data to physically reside in a given region or country. Organisations can use a multi-cloud solution to locate data storage within the areas being regulated.

What is the difference between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud?

The main distinction between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud is that hybrid cloud consists of different cloud types – such as public/private and on-/off-premises – while multi-cloud includes different service providers. Selecting between the two cloud models depends on the IT needs of an organisation.

Hybrid Cloud

hybrid cloud is actually just one object that joins the distinct environments of private and public cloud. The two are integrated together and act as one unit. The private and public cloud share resources and can move workloads from one to the other as demand fluctuates.

Multi-Cloud Environment

Working within a multi-cloud environment is much more complex. Essentially, it’s just like solving a puzzle with many pieces. A business can choose the components that work best for their requirements and either integrate them or not, depending on their goals. While it can be challenging, once the environment is assembled your organisation can reap the benefits of better resource utilisation, resiliency and potentially lower costs.

How are multi-cloud environments used?

Organisations achieve varying benefits from using multi-cloud environments, such as scalability and customisation, disaster recovery, application development and managing in-house “shadow IT” services. The following are a few examples.

SNP, Poland’s leading SAP services provider, expanded its customer offerings through advanced storage services from the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform. GreenLake’s platform delivered a multi-cloud solution that enhanced SNP’s built-in high storage availability while ensuring business continuity and non-disruptive operations for its European customers.

The world’s largest legal team, Garrigues, needed a budget-friendly solution that offered the agility and scalability to handle spikes in demand with the same speed, reliability and performance that their firm required to serve up any of their 70 million documents instantly. HPE GreenLake cloud services was the game changer for them. The multi-cloud service provided powerful processing capacity at a transparent cost.

An IT infrastructure-as-a-service provider offers a world-class private cloud for mid- to large-scale businesses to scale their applications globally. Looking to ensure constant availability with high application performance and end-user service quality, blueAPACHE was struggling with forecasting their hardware requirements, which led to excess capacity much of the time. Using HPE GreenLake to manage their cloud infrastructure has allowed them to scale flexibly and economically so their time to value is accelerated while their upfront expenses decrease.

A major life insurance firm, YF Life, wanted to be able to develop new products and services while driving process efficiencies. Another critical component was their need to strictly control regulatory compliance and respect data sovereignty laws. These needs led them to HPE GreenLakeHPE PointnextHPE OneView and HPE GreenLake Central. With these HPE solutions, YF Life was able to reduce their TCO by about 35%, support new electronic policy solutions and gain a clearer picture of IT expenses.

HPE and multi-cloud

As a long-time leader in technology innovation, HPE offers a full suite of products and services to manage multi-cloud environments with simplicity and enhanced data protection and availability. With HPE, customers can build their cloud strategy, implement multi-cloud environments and streamline costs and operations using consumption models.

The HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform provides the operational efficiencies and agility you need along with governance, compliance and visibility all in one as-a-service pay-per-usage contract. And with our cloud platform, you can quickly scale up infrastructure to retain financial flexibility, preserve cash flow, control spend and reduce the cost of over-provisioning resources.

HPE GreenLake also delivers multi-cloud and workloads as-a-service to help you gain more business value, control and adaptability. To maximise resource usage and manage spending, you gain a single view of usage and aggregate costs across multi-cloud with the visibility needed to handle every detail.

In addition, HPE GreenLake offers cloud data services to help customers protect their data and rapidly act on insights, from edge to cloud. Our subscribers are able to recover in minutes from ransomware, cyberattacks and other unplanned downtime, bringing data back to its original state just seconds before the attack or disruption.

And customers can use HPE GreenLake’s cloud platform for industry-leading intelligent storage services. Powered by HPE InfoSight’s predictive analytics, you can run mission-critical applications in a secure, always-on and agile data environment.