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Weighing the pros and cons of public, hybrid, and multi-cloud architecture

Types of clouds:

A public cloud comprises computing resources from a third-party service provider, which can include anything from apps and virtual machines to infrastructures and development platforms. These resources, which are available for free or on a subscription-based or pay-per-usage basis, are run on servers in datacenters maintained by the public cloud provider. Service providers maintain hardware and provide high-bandwidth network connectivity as well as manage the underlying virtualization software.

Public cloud challenges:

Public clouds have their drawbacks. For example, multitenancy might be a concern for businesses that need to meet regulatory requirements, because it comes with a risk of data leakage and compromise. IBM found last year that the average time to identify a breach was 206 days. And Gartner predicts that 50% of companies will unintentionally expose components of their cloud applications and infrastructure to the internet in 2021, up from 25% in 2018.

According to a recent CloudCheckr survey of enterprises, while 57% reported that more than half of their infrastructure is in the cloud, security concerns, compliance and regulations, and lack of application support remain significant challenges to cloud migration. Ninety-three percent of respondents said that their organizations face blockers with budgeting infrastructure cloud costs, and 94% said that they’d experienced unexpected cloud costs. Only 31% reported that they were able to monitor and optimize public cloud costs “effectively,” meanwhile.

Hybrid cloud:

Beyond the public cloud, enterprises are adopting multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures, which can offer greater flexibility depending on the use case. Hybrid clouds always include a private cloud — i.e., exclusive cloud environments usually behind a firewall and traditionally run on-premises — and are typically managed as one entity. On the other hand, multi-clouds always include more than one public cloud service but don’t always include a private cloud component.

Hybrid cloud challenges:

Of course, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud come with their own set of challenges. On the security side, organizations need an identity architecture that works with any given public and private cloud setup. They also need to manage costs in an environment where it might be difficult to tell whether cutting back on servers, for example, is less a capital-intensive option than eliminating a local datacenter.  Organizations adopting multi-cloud and hybrid cloud must also figure out which services are best for specific tasks and find monitoring tools designed to deliver a consolidated view across different cloud providers or environments.

“In many cases, multi-cloud environments are replacing proven, cohesive legacy IT infrastructures that have been in place for years,” CIO reporter Bob Violino writes. “To make the transition successful, and to ensure workflows aren’t disrupted, companies must make the various cloud services fit together as if in a puzzle … [But the] challenge of making sure the pieces fit together can be all the more daunting for technology and business leaders because of the increasing complexity of the technology landscape and architecture.”

Adapted from an article by Kyle Wiggers | June 18, 2021