Cloud is becoming a complete necessity for the modern enterprise, giving them a distinct competitive advantage and there’s no better time to make the cloud-move. But which cloud deployment model is right for you? Every organization has its unique set of workloads, operational practices, and infrastructure. Hence, it is important for you to choose the cloud environment which best suits your specific business needs.  

When it comes to different types of cloud deployment, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are the most known and at the same time most confusing terms. Even though certain semantic assumptions tend to use these terms interchangeably, there is a real difference between the two.

So how does a hybrid cloud differ from a multi-cloud? How will your enterprise find the right cloud deployment model? This post breaks it down. But before we analyze the difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud, it’s essential to know about public cloud and private cloud.

Public cloud vs private cloud: What is the difference?

A public cloud is a cloud deployment model that multiple customers use to host their applications and/or infrastructure via an internet connection. This model is offered by third-party public cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

On the other hand, a private cloud, also known as internal/corporate cloud is a cloud infrastructure dedicatedly provisioned for a single organization. It can be hosted in your organization’s on-premises or an external data center. As the private cloud is only accessible to a single party, it offers an enhanced degree of control over the cloud environment.

By understanding private and public cloud services, it’s possible to choose between multi and hybrid cloud strategies.

Parameters Public Cloud Private Cloud 
Definition A third-party provider that makes compute resources available to the public via the internet A cloud computing infrastructure dedicated to a single party. 
Scalability Very high Limited 
Security Lesser security Higher security 
Cost Flexible pricing, pay-as-you-go model,  Expensive with high TCO 
Access Access via internet Access via internet or private network 
Top Vendors  AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP IBM, VMware, HPE, Openstack, etc. 


Now that you know what a private and public cloud is, it will be easy to understand the two cloud deployment strategies, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud.

What is multi-cloud computing?

In a multi-cloud environment, an enterprise utilizes a combination of two or more public clouds, mostly from different public cloud providers. Thus, a multi-cloud strategy helps enterprises to choose cloud service providers based on the price and the services offered. In addition, a multi-cloud computing model can enable businesses with a broader resiliency plan and drives the performance of their applications.

For instance, a business might host its web front-end application on AWS, put its database on Azure and use Google Cloud to process data analytics. Likewise, businesses adopt a multi-cloud strategy to select the best-of-breed services for each task.

What is hybrid cloud computing?

In a hybrid cloud environment, there is the inclusion of a private cloud or an on-premises data center along with one or more public cloud services from a third-party provider. Hybrid cloud computing model always includes a private cloud, a major point that makes it distinct from the multi-cloud computing model.  

An example of a hybrid cloud strategy is an organization running an app code on on-premises infrastructure and burst the extra workloads to public cloud environments as it reaches peak capacity.

A hybrid cloud system can be slightly more difficult to configure, deploy and manage and hence incur significant costs. As the internal team handles the private cloud or the on-premise data center, there can also be security concerns if proper care isn’t taken to protect data and traffic.

Hybrid cloud vs multi-cloud: Key differences explained

Based on the needs of your business, you can adopt a hybrid cloud deployment model or a multi-cloud deployment model. It’s imperative to understand the significant differences between these deployment strategies before initiating your cloud move. The main difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud computing is the usage of a private cloud. Let’s analyze some of the other differences between these two computing models.

Parameters Multi-cloud Hybrid Cloud 
Concept Usage of two or more public clouds such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure Uses the combination of private and public clouds 
Cost cost-effective in terms of upfront investments and architectural set up Implementation and management are expensive 
Vendor lock-in Enables vendor-independent existence  The high-level integration between an on-premises system and public cloud makes it difficult to move to a new vendor 
Availability High availability ensured with a reliable cloud backup system Assuring 24×7 availability is solely dependent on the in-house teams 
Security Security is a shared responsibility between the cloud provider and the organization Internal teams are responsible for protecting data in private clouds, whereas the CSP offers public cloud security  
Flexibility Allows enterprises to scale as needed, choose exactly the required resources from the provider of their choice.  Limited choice associated with private cloud component  
Data Storage Commonly used to handle less-sensitive data Private cloud is often used to store regulated and sensitive data 

A hybrid cloud can also be a multi-cloud but not vice versa

If a hybrid cloud environment integrates two or more public clouds, then it can be considered a multi-cloud solution. Due to this reason, these terms are used interchangeably, even though they refer to slightly different things. However, a multi-cloud cannot also be a hybrid cloud as it doesn’t have the presence of a private cloud.  

Which cloud computing model is right for your business?

Common use cases and instances where multi-cloud computing is a better choice

  • If cost is the deciding factor for your enterprise, then you might want to opt for a multi-cloud deployment.
  • If you’re already using the services of a public cloud and face performance and latency issues with your existing provider and you want to try more efficient services offered by other vendors.
  • When your company has a global customer base and needs multiple customized cloud strategies.
  • If your organization demands a 24×7 high data availability requirement, then multi-cloud should be your computing choice.
  • Each of your departments has a unique requirement from the cloud. For this reason, you can decide to invest in multiple public cloud services that meet the specific needs of each department.
  • If your team needs to manage several decentralized services, then multi-cloud computing will work best for you.
  • When your enterprise decides to expand its infrastructure to enhance its productivity, efficiency, and security all the while controlling costs.

Common use cases and instances where hybrid cloud computing is a better choice

  • If your organization is not willing to retire from its internal environment or on-premise data center, then opt for a hybrid cloud model.
  • When your enterprise is uninterested to migrate its entire range of services and data to the cloud.
  • When your organization needs both the services available from public cloud providers and also custom architecture needs that can be fulfilled only by a private cloud.
  • If your applications are running on a legacy on-premise infrastructure and migrating them to the cloud is not viable at present.
  • When you have applications hosted in a public cloud, but also want to keep certain sensitive or critical data in a private cloud for a higher level of security.
  • If your team is not interested in working with different vendors, resources, and tools, but rather demands a centralized infrastructure across disparate systems.

In short, multi-cloud deployment allows businesses to take full advantage of the flexibility, scalability, and cutting-edge technology offered by large cloud providers. Whereas hybrid cloud gives companies a higher degree of ownership over specific elements of their IT infrastructure.

As per Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud Report, around 89% of organizations employ a multi-cloud strategy, and 80% have a hybrid cloud strategy, combining the use of both public and private clouds. It is important to carefully analyze your organization’s needs before deciding which cloud model is best for your business. With over two decades of expertise in driving successful cloud transformation, SecureKloud helps enterprises with both hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies.

Not sure which cloud computing model will work best for your business? Contact our cloud experts today!