Data Centers
Expertise & Resources
Talk to a specialist

Multi-Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Difference?

Cloud computing has revolutionised the way businesses run. The advantages of cloud computing, like mobility, cost savings and access to leading hardware, give companies moving to the cloud a distinct competitive advantage. With almost 50 per cent of corporate data now in the cloud, there’s no better time to make the move.

But which cloud strategy is right for you? Multi-cloud deployment lets companies take full advantage of the flexibility, scalability, and cutting-edge technology offered by large cloud providers. Meanwhile, hybrid cloud gives companies a higher degree of ownership over specific elements of their IT infrastructure.

How do they do this? To understand the difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud, it’s first essential to understand public cloud and private cloud services.

Public Cloud vs Private Cloud

The difference between public cloud and private cloud infrastructure is who owns, controls and maintains the physical compute resources.

Public cloud environments offer their range of computing resources over the internet. Their servers often provide resources for many different companies. They are typically hosted in large data centres and offered by prominent public cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Private cloud infrastructure, on the other hand, is usually on-premises, privately hosted services used solely by one organisation. They are generally held behind company firewalls and dedicated to specific or specialist workloads.

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

What Is Multi-Cloud?

Multi-cloud environments use a combination of two or more public cloud services – but not a mix of both public and private. The most common multi-cloud strategy is for a company to combine services from different public cloud providers.

The advantages of multi-cloud include:

  • Selecting the best service for each task
  • Generally lower costs than having a private cloud setup
  • Flexible and scalable environments
  • Increased backup and redundancy options
  • Freedom of choice in public cloud and connectivity providers.

While the benefits usually outweigh any downsides, there are some potential multi-cloud challenges. Some limitations of multi-cloud strategies might be:

  • Using many different public cloud providers might prove complex to manage
  • Security can be a concern if care is not taken when combining different cloud providers
  • Costing models might differ across cloud vendors.
  • The multi-cloud approach allows businesses to select the most appropriate cloud services for different workloads while taking advantage of the many benefits of a resilient multi-cloud strategy. Whether price, choice or flexibility are most important to your business, multi-cloud lets you select the providers that best fit your needs.
What Is Hybrid Cloud?

Hybrid cloud architecture uses a combination of two or more different cloud environments. It combines at least one private cloud solution with at least one public cloud resource. Crucially, a hybrid cloud deployment must use at least two different types of cloud infrastructure.

The most widespread hybrid cloud strategy will combine on-premises or hosted resources owned and controlled by a company, with public cloud resources from a third-party provider. The company can then use orchestration to manage workloads hosted in these different environments.

The advantages of hybrid cloud architecture include:

  • The choice to manage tasks in either private or public clouds as needed
  • Using public cloud services for their increased power and resources
  • Managing peaks using techniques such as cloud bursting to utilise additional public cloud resources when needed
  • A combination of security and flexibility.
  • Hybrid cloud environments can be more difficult to configure, deploy and manage. There can also be security concerns if proper care isn’t taken to protect data and traffic, while the connection between private and public cloud services is a potential issue if disrupted. Companies might also incur significant costs to deploy and maintain their private cloud services, especially when on-premises.

In many situations, the ownership of private cloud and flexibility of public cloud is beneficial for companies with highly regulated data storage needs or legacy private-cloud systems.

Hybrid Cloud vs Multi-Cloud: What Are the Key Differences?

To compare multi-cloud and hybrid cloud services, it’s best to begin with the physical architecture – and then look at the impacts.


Hybrid and multi-clouds have a fundamental difference – their architecture. A hybrid cloud environment comprises a mixture of private and public cloud services, while a multi-cloud model includes two or more public cloud services.

The key difference is that hybrid cloud users own and manage a private cloud resource as part of their cloud infrastructure. This is usually hosted in-house, in on-premises data centres, or on dedicated servers in third-party data centres. The private aspect then syncs with public cloud workloads to create an overall business solution. Multi-cloud systems use only public cloud services.


A company employing a hybrid cloud model can often incur higher costs. This is especially true when the private cloud resource is hosted on-premises – the company would purchase, manage and maintain that resource.

Public cloud services do not require that initial spend. As such, multi-cloud solutions using public cloud resources are much more cost-effective to deploy and maintain. Taking advantage of the massive buying power of public cloud vendors gives multi-cloud users access to leading technology on a more affordable basis.


Multi-cloud environments are designed for high availability. The service levels and guarantees offered by large cloud vendors mean that public cloud resources give companies business-critical uptime. If one resource goes down, it can simply switch to another.

Hybrid cloud resources have some degree of management from the owner. Should the private resource go down, it will require maintenance – and possibly cause significant downtime should no backup resource be available.

Data Storage

One of the biggest benefits of hybrid cloud computing is that the private cloud resource lets companies operate their data storage. Often, it’s used to store critical, regulated, sensitive data. This can then connect to public resources which handle less-sensitive tasks.

Of the hybrid cloud advantages and disadvantages, data storage can be one of the most significant depending on your industry. It offers compliance for critical data, but is usually a finite resource with uptime and disaster recovery concerns. Meanwhile, a multi-cloud solution offers almost infinite storage space, backups, and disaster recovery possibilities.


One of the most apparent hybrid cloud benefits is that companies control who can physically access their private cloud hardware. This can be desirable in highly regulated industries. With multi-cloud solutions, companies do not control who can access the physical infrastructure – although it is typically kept behind layers of robust security.

Online, multi-cloud solutions offer cutting-edge security. The state-of-the-art systems make automation, access controls, encryption and general security simple to configure and manage. In a hybrid environment, it is up to the company to configure and control online access to its private cloud resource.


Flexibility is where multi-cloud solutions shine. A business can choose exactly which resources they need, selecting the provider with the ideal services. While hybrid cloud users can choose their public cloud service provider, they are more limited with their private cloud resource.

Multi-cloud architecture also allows companies to scale as needed. Need more resources? These can be quickly deployed. There’s also no vendor lock-in, allowing companies to choose the right supplier for each task instead of being limited to a single cloud provider. A hybrid cloud resource may also have configurations or needs that limit choices or impact your cloud migration.

Can a Hybrid Cloud Be a Multi-Cloud?

A hybrid cloud can include a multi-cloud in its overall deployment. The key difference is that both multi and hybrid use public clouds, but only hybrid uses private clouds. This means that a hybrid cloud environment can technically be a multi-cloud solution if it contains two or more public cloud resources. A multi-cloud cannot also be a hybrid cloud as it does not include a private cloud resource.

How To Choose the Right Cloud Option for Your Business?

Your choice of cloud deployment strategy will depend on many factors. Consider:

  • What kind of workload will you migrate? Are you looking for software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or infrastructure as a service (IaaS)? Or will you need something more bespoke? Your workload needs will help you choose which cloud solution works best.
  • Will you have varying demands? Depending on your needs, you can scale a multi-cloud system up or down. A hybrid-cloud system might be more challenging. Likewise, if you expect peaks in traffic or demand, you could use a multi-cloud strategy or a hybrid with cloud bursting configured.
  • Do you need specific speeds? Companies requiring almost real-time information exchange might consider hybrid setups – although you can achieve very low latency with multi-cloud deployments to meet the vast majority of workloads.
  • What kind of data do you store? Hybrid clouds work well for sensitive data or highly regulated industries with strict data storage requirements. Other non-critical data can then be stored in public clouds. Bear in mind that public cloud also offers extremely safe data storage when regulation is not applicable.
  • Do you have a budget in mind? Companies choosing a hybrid approach might incur costs upfront. You may also need to hire staff to maintain the private cloud part of your deployment. With multi-cloud, you’ll save those costs – instead, paying for services as you use them.
  • Where are your users based? With a remote workforce or multiple offices, it’s often a good idea to use a multi-cloud approach spread over different data centre locations.
How Can We Help?

By weighing up your unique needs, you can narrow down your choice of multi or hybrid cloud. The perfect type of cloud service is one that delivers the resources you need, protects your assets, and fits your requirements. Interxion’s cloud services can be tailored to suit your individual requirements. Contact us today for more help making the right cloud strategy choice for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is a Multi-Cloud Example? A multi-cloud environment contains at least two different public cloud resources. It’s usually made up of services from major public cloud suppliers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

What Is Hybrid Multi-Cloud?

The hybrid multi-cloud definition is a hybrid cloud that also includes two or more public cloud resources. In this way, the hybrid cloud incorporates a multi-cloud, combining it with a private cloud service. A hybrid multi-cloud strategy lets companies pick services that fit their exact needs for many different workflows.

What Are Common Features to Both a Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud?

Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud systems both contain public cloud services, with hybrid clouds also containing a private cloud resource. The public cloud aspect of both systems provides high amounts of flexibility, scalability and redundancy – without the need to purchase costly IT equipment.

Why Do Organisations Use Hybrid and Multi-Cloud?

Hybrid cloud systems allow companies to combine private cloud services, which might be used for sensitive data storage or ultra-fast data transfer, with flexible, straightforward and less costly public cloud services. Meanwhile, multi-cloud systems give companies a vast selection of resources with simple access, deployment and management.

What Is the Difference Between Hybrid Cloud and Hybrid IT?

Hybrid IT usually contains an on-premises infrastructure. If that infrastructure runs cloud services, then it is also the private cloud aspect of the hybrid cloud service. Most hybrid IT contains a hybrid cloud element in its overall ecosystem.

What Is the Difference Between Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud?

A private cloud is a cloud service where the company owns, manages and maintains the infrastructure for their own use. This differs from a public cloud service, where a third-party vendor owns and maintains the physical infrastructure. Hybrid cloud systems combine a private cloud service with a public cloud service.

Why Do Companies Use Hybrid Clouds?

Companies use hybrid clouds because they offer a mix of private cloud’s security, speed and ownership with the flexibility, cost, and simplicity benefits of public cloud. By using both, companies can create a system that fits their specific needs.

Why Do Companies Use Multiple Clouds?

Companies use multiple clouds because they can select the best provider, resource and solution for each task. With different workflows, workloads and demands, this gives companies the opportunity to create the best system for each job.

*This content was originally published by Interxion: A Digital Realty Company.