Cloud strategy: hybrid and multi cloud are not the same

IDC tells us that most companies are using more than one cloud and that cloud usage isn’t just about cost savings. Three out of every four companies are using cloud to chase additional revenue in the form of new customers, risk mitigation, IoT enablement or time to market gains. Most are using multiple external cloud services.

However, especially as microservices become the dominant approach to new application development because of the iteration speed improvements that it provides, it has become important to distinguish the different ways that more than one cloud can be utilized. Specifically, the differences lie in where you sit in an organization and what you are trying to optimize from that seat. Although historically we’ve used the terms interchangeably, hybrid and multi cloud are not the same.

Multi cloud is for the CIO

The view from the CIO’s chair hasn’t really changed compared to prior technology waves. Avoiding vendor lock-in while balancing the feature benefits of multiple platforms has been the name of the game from that perch for more than 30 years. Many CIOs resisted blessing usage of public cloud in favor of private alternatives, but 55 percent of the respondents from that IDC survey admit to utilizing multiple public clouds.

So, from a CIO perspective, it is a multi-cloud world. The simplest way to explain why is because IT is fundamentally a cost center, so the CIO looks at how many vendors they are writing checks to every month or year. IT manages large portfolios of applications, some of which run best on private cloud due to security concerns or lack of varying demand that would be able to utilize public cloud elasticity to its fullest. Other applications might run best on a particular public cloud and might have publicly facing data and wildly fluctuating audience attention.

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