Nutanix Glossary

What is Multi Cloud?

March 15, 2023 | min

Multi cloud is a type of cloud computing architecture where organisations use multiple cloud computing services from different providers. The goal of multi cloud is to avoid vendor lock-in, reduce dependencies on a single cloud provider, and to take advantage of the strengths of different cloud platforms. Multi cloud can help organisations to optimise costs, improve reliability, and enhance their overall cloud computing strategy.

What is multi cloud management?

Multi cloud management is the process of managing and coordinating multiple cloud computing services across different providers. This can include managing resources, security, and compliance across different clouds, as well as ensuring that data and applications can be easily moved between different cloud environments. Multi cloud management can help organisations to increase flexibility, reduce costs, and improve disaster recovery capabilities. Additionally, it allows organisations to take advantage of the unique features and capabilities of different cloud providers to better meet their specific business needs.


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Why use a multi cloud strategy?

There are a number of reasons companies rely on a multi cloud infrastructure:

  • To prevent data loss or downtime due to a localised component failure in the cloud
  • To avoid vendor lock-in
  • To achieve broader business and technical goals which include the use of more price-competitive cloud services or taking advantage of the speed, capacity or features offered by a particular cloud provider in a particular geography
  • To achieve optimal performance and minimal latency through data sovereignty which enables organisations to locate compute resources as close as possible to end-users
  • To help organisations meet regulatory requirements by selecting from multiple IaaS providers' datacentre regions or availability zones

Is a multi cloud environment secure?

Security in a multi cloud environment depends on various factors such as the security measures implemented by the different cloud service providers, the security policies and procedures established by the organisation, and the level of due diligence performed when selecting cloud providers. A multi cloud environment can increase security compared to a single-cloud environment, as the use of multiple providers can reduce the risk of a single point of failure. However, it also presents additional security challenges, such as ensuring consistent security measures across all cloud providers, properly configuring and managing access controls, and preventing data breaches.

Multi cloud security best practices:

Multi cloud security is an important concern for organisations that use multiple cloud service providers. Here are some best practices for ensuring the security of your multi cloud environment:

  1. Centralised management and visibility: Implement a centralised management platform that provides visibility into all cloud environments and the ability to enforce policies and security controls across all of them.

  2. Access control and identity management: Establish strong identity and access management (IAM) practices to control who has access to your cloud environments and what they can do with that access.

  3. Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data both in transit and at rest in all cloud environments to protect against unauthorized access.

  4. Network security: Implement firewalls and other network security controls to protect your cloud environments from external threats, and segment networks to limit the damage from a breach.

  5. Compliance: Ensure that your cloud environments meet all relevant compliance and regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and GDPR.

  6. Risk assessment: Regularly assess the risk posture of your multi cloud environment and make adjustments as needed to address any vulnerabilities.

  7. Threat detection and response: Implement threat detection and response capabilities to quickly identify and respond to security incidents in your multi cloud environment.

  8. Regular security audits: Regularly audit your multi cloud environment to identify potential security issues and implement corrective actions.

  9. Training: Educate employees on best practices for using cloud environments securely, and make sure they understand the importance of following security policies and procedures.

  10. Zero trust data protection: Implement a security framework that assumes that all users and devices are untrusted until proven otherwise. This approach eliminates the trust assumptions that can be exploited by attackers and reduces the risk of security incidents.

By following these best practices, you can help ensure the security of your multi cloud environment and protect your sensitive data from potential threats.

What is the difference between multi cloud and hybrid cloud?

While multi cloud and hybrid clouds have been used interchangeably, they are indeed unique in their own right.

A hybrid cloud is a subset of the multi cloud. We already know that a multi cloud is a variety of cloud platforms that each delivers a specific application or service. A hybrid cloud combines on-premises IT (traditional infrastructure and private cloud) with off-premises Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or other services delivered by a public cloud—such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Microsoft Azure—or at a cloud service provider (CSP).

According to this blog, Hybrid Cloud vs Multi Cloud: What’s the Difference?, "One common misconception when comparing hybrid and multi cloud infrastructures is that the two are mutually exclusive. The explicit definition of a multi cloud environment suggests that a hybrid cloud model is also a multi cloud model. However, the inverse is not always true. A multi cloud configuration can be hybridised but it can also exist without the need for individual clouds to talk to each other." The main thing to keep in mind is that in a multi cloud deployment there are typically two or more public clouds, which is not the case in a hybrid cloud deployment.


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What is multi cloud storage?

Multi cloud storage is a data storage strategy that allows organisations to store and manage data across multiple cloud storage services from different cloud providers. This approach provides organisations with greater flexibility and choice in how they store and manage their data, as they can choose the most appropriate cloud storage solution for each specific use case based on factors such as cost, performance, security, and data management requirements.

Multi cloud storage enables organisations to take advantage of the benefits of multiple cloud storage services, such as improved performance, enhanced resilience and disaster recovery, increased security, and better compliance with regulations. By using multiple cloud storage services, organisations can ensure that their data is stored and managed in the most cost-effective, secure, and reliable manner possible.

How does multi cloud storage work?

Multi cloud storage is typically managed with multi cloud controllers. These controllers combine all your resources under a common namespace and API. This centralises management enables you to monitor and manage services from a single dashboard. Multi cloud controllers often use a combination of cluster, security, and storage manager agents.

What are the benefits of multi cloud storage?

There are several benefits to using multi cloud storage, depending on your configurations. The most common include:

  • Increased data protection: Since applications and data are separated across services, breach of one service only affects a limited amount of data. This enables you to easily isolate attacks and to reliably store data backups in remote locations.

  • Elimination of vendor lock-in: Using storage services from multiple vendors enables you to avoid vendor lock-in and increase data durability through duplication. 

  • Best features from each cloud: Combining services also provides you greater access to specialised, proprietary services.

  • Cost efficiency: The ability to piecemeal storage services enables you to customise cost and performance options according to your needs. Multi cloud environments enable you to take advantage of the best possible prices and pricing structures for each service.

  • Increased flexibility: Multi cloud storage allows you to choose the type of storage you need whether it’s for private cloud, multi cloud, hybrid cloud, or public cloud and only use what you need when you need it.

  • Innovative technology: Multi cloud allows organisations to innovate and experiment with new technologies and services, which can drive business growth and improve their competitiveness in the marketplace.

  • Advanced security and regulatory compliance: By distributing data and applications across multiple cloud providers, organisations can reduce the risk of data loss or downtime due to a single point of failure. Organisations can use different cloud providers that are compliant with specific regulations, such as HIPAA or PCI-DSS, which can help them to meet their compliance requirements.

  • Increased reliability: Redundancy across multiple providers improves availability and reduces risk of data loss or downtime. Geographic diversity of multi cloud infrastructure allows for better disaster recovery and business continuity. Flexibility to move between providers enables better load balancing and adaptability to changing needs.

What are the challenges of multi cloud storage?

While multi cloud storage can provide a host of benefits, it can be challenging to manage, protect, and deploy storage in a unified way. Some common challenges include:

  • Integration: To integrate smoothly into a single environment, storage services need to be compatible across clouds. This means services need to accommodate the same data structures and allow integration with the same tools.

  • Multiple APIs: Cloud services communicate via APIs. While there is some standardisation with RESTful APIs, different providers create different API structures. This can include different rule structures or different languages. These differences require application customisations to enable communication across services.

  • Complex management: Visibility across cloud services and environments can be difficult to ensure. It requires centralised monitoring and federation of services, such as identity and access controls. Without centralisation, services are likely to have configuration differences or errors, and increased vulnerability.

  • Security: Securing data across multiple cloud storage services can be challenging, as different cloud providers may have different security measures and protocols.

  • Cost management: Managing costs across multiple cloud storage services can be challenging, as different cloud providers may have different pricing models and data storage requirements.

  • Interoperability: Ensuring that data can be easily transferred and used across multiple cloud storage services can be difficult, as different cloud providers may have different data storage and retrieval methods.

Overall, while multi cloud storage offers many benefits, organisations need to carefully consider these challenges and plan accordingly when implementing this strategy.

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