By Vicky Glynn, Product Manager at Brightsolid
Defining cloud computing is becoming increasingly complex, with a plethora of terms and acronyms being used to support different ways of thinking and delivering cloud solutions. Many businesses looking to establish an enterprise cloud strategy are faced with common challenges, with security and cost being at the forefront. But no single cloud solution will meet the needs of all organisations, or indeed a single organisation that has a range of different needs and business requirements.
This has led to the inception of a range of definitions to describe what cloud computing is, which in turn has led to confusion in the market. A lack of clarity around terminology is a problem because it can impact on the decision-making process.
We have seen how buzzwords and shiny new things in the tech industry can be used as a strategy for change, without a firm underpinning of what the strategy is for, and fundamentally addressing why and how we would use cloud.
A clear example of this involves two popular terms in the industry – hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. These terms are similar, and are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they offer different solutions.
So, what’s the difference?
The Gartner IT glossary defines hybrid cloud as “policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services”. Put simply, hybrid cloud is a modern infrastructure solution that uses a blend of on-premise, private cloud and public cloud services with orchestration between the platforms.
We find that hybrid cloud is growing in popularity in our customer base. As organisations progress their cloud journey, they often realise that a single cloud model may not realistically meet their needs, and that a blended approach to cloud is a more achievable goal.
Hybrid cloud is the perfect solution for organisations seeking to maximise their legacy infrastructure investment, as legacy equipment can be incorporated into a hybrid solution, thus developing a future proof plan.
In contrast, multi-cloud seems to be the ‘new kid on the block’, with varied definitions and little in the way of clarity. Interestingly, this is one cloud term you won’t find in Gartner’s IT glossary. However, the most widely accepted definition is using multiple public clouds for different tasks, with no connection or orchestration between them.
Multi-cloud also infers ‘multi-vendor’. Organisations may follow this path to prevent vendor lock-in, avoid single points of failure, or to get the best innovations or support from different providers.
It’s important to remember that one cloud doesn’t fit all, and that proper planning and migration is essential to keep costs down. A robust cloud strategy is about how cloud enables your business, and that means it needs to be intrinsically linked with your business strategy. It should incorporate interconnected-ness, as well as organisational business continuity, disaster recovery, and data growth and storage.
A trusted partner can support this and navigate through the industry hype and buzzwords to establish the right path for your business.