Multi-Cloud Strategy

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What Does Multi-Cloud Strategy Mean?

A multi-cloud strategy is the purposeful integration of cloud services from multiple service providers. The terms multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are sometimes used as synonyms, but technically there is an important difference — a hybrid cloud strategy also includes on-premises infrastructure and applications.


A multi-cloud strategy will support one of two types of cloud service architectures — composite or redundant. In a composite architecture for software as a service (SaaS), for example, a portfolio of software as a service (SaaS) applications that work well together will be hosted and served by two or more cloud service providers. A composite approach typically integrates basic cloud services for communication and storage with those from vertical cloud providers to meet specific types of business needs.

In redundant architectures, two or more instances of the same application are hosted by different providers for failover and application performance management purposes. In this type of multi-cloud architecture, if one provider has a service interruption, the other provider can take over.

Techopedia Explains Multi-Cloud Strategy

Companies pursue multi-cloud strategies for various reasons, but most overarching reasons to pursue multi-cloud are related to price thresholds or the need for special functionality. Small businesses, for example, may use multiple cloud providers to try to avoid pricing thresholds and metering limits by spreading their cloud service needs across more than one provider. Large enterprises, in contrast, may implement a multi-cloud strategy to improve the user experience (UX) for a niche group of employees.

Advantages of a multi-cloud architecture

A strategic approach to building a multi-cloud architecture reduces the chance of vendor lock-in and optimizes the alignment between tasks and tools. The process of sitting down and defining what the perfect multi-cloud architecture should look like can also help administrators make improvements to current management practices and application portfolios.

Other advantages of using a multi-cloud strategy include:

Increased agility — A strong multi-cloud architecture provides businesses with the flexibility they need to quickly respond to changing business requirements and customer demands.

Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) — Because cloud customers only pay for the services they use to run applications and handle data, they don't have to budget for all the hardware and software costs associated with an on-premises IT infrastructure.

Reduce risk — A multi-cloud architecture can help enterprise customers reduce some of the legal and financial risks associated with outsourcing multiple cloud services to a single provider and avoid having to purchase cyber insurance.

Disadvantages of a Multi-Cloud Architecture

The disadvantages of strategically deploying a multi-cloud architecture include:

Increased training costs — Companies need to plan training sessions that teach employees how to use tools and systems from disparate cloud providers.

Additional administrative burdens — Administrators will need to review each provider's ability to support the organization's security policies and automate workflows without creating data silos within each provider's infrastructure.

Financial inefficiency — Cloud waste can become a problem when employees are using multiple cloud providers without the knowledge of centralized IT. For example, two departments within the same organization may end up subscribing to two different applications that basically do the same thing and miss out on the opportunity to negotiate contract terms.

Network constraints — Latency can become a problem in a multi-cloud architecture and negatively impact user experience (UX).


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.