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Hybrid vs. Public vs. Multi-cloud: Which stage of cloud evolution is right for your business?

Depending on your organization’s current needs and future vision, there’s plenty to consider when deciding how your business will use the cloud:

  • Are you looking to modernize your network architecture?

  • Do you have in-house expertise you’re able to dedicate to the cloud?

  • Are you merging with or acquiring a company that’s already committed to a cloud service?

  • Does the nature of your business require some sort of failover or disaster recovery?

While the list of questions could go on and on, the three prevailing phases of cloud evolution — hybrid, public, and multi-cloud — are a great place to start. There’s no right answer, in fact, you might find the need to move between these three stages as you grow or your needs change. To help decide where your business falls on the spectrum, let’s dive into each stage’s pros and cons.

Hybrid

This strategy involves combining both on-premise private servers and the public cloud, so you get the pros and the cons of both worlds. The big pluses are control and adaptability. Not only do you understand the capacity and capabilities of your on-premise server, but you also have the option to offload anything beyond that to the cloud. This also allows costs to be more predictable. On the flip side, on-premise servers require more of your resources as your organization is in charge of maintenance, integration, and security. Finally, there’s a bit of give and take with the hybrid model. What your on-premise server lacks in flexibility it makes up for in visibility, and what your cloud server lacks in visibility it makes up for in flexibility.

Public

Public cloud is the use of one cloud vendor in either a single region or multiple regions. One of the biggest advantages of this model is that someone else is tasked with managing the infrastructure, which frees up your IT resources to do more strategic work. Another plus? The infrastructure grows with you because you don’t buy more space until you need it. And most public cloud vendors do their best to make life easy on their customers, offering templates or combining common services to deploy as a package. There are a few downsides here: being locked into one vendor can often be restricting, and costs can run away from you quickly if you don’t keep a close eye on your capacity and egress.

Multi-cloud

Multi-cloud involves the use of multiple public cloud vendors. A major advantage here is diversity and innovation. Partnering with multiple cloud vendors removes the burden of vendor lock-in, and allows you to take advantage of each cloud’s distinct offerings and benefits. You’re also in the clear if one cloud experiences an outage. In the cons column, we have complexity — clouds are not built to play nicely together yet — and visibility as it’s not always easy to get a full view of your traffic from cloud providers.

Choosing a path forward

While not a simple, clear-cut decision, choosing the right cloud approach for your business will allow you to build a strong network foundation upon which your company can grow. To learn more, watch our webinar on cloud evolution and reach out to our team — we can help no matter which stage you’re in.

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Adam Denenberg
SVP, Customer Solutions

Adam Denenberg is SVP, Customer Solutions at Fastly, where he helps drive the technical adoption of the Fastly edge cloud platform. He was previously the Chief Technology Officer at iHeartRadio, where he was responsible for overseeing the overall technical strategy and vision. Prior to iHeartRadio, Adam was the VP of Engineering at The Huffington Post. Adam has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from SUNY Albany with a minor in Physics.

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