Multi-Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud: Understanding the Differences

Cloud computing is ubiquitous nowadays, but which solution is best for your company? We compare multi-cloud and hybrid clouds and discuss their pros and cons.

What is the difference between multi-cloud vs. hybrid cloud? Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud both refer to cloud deployments that integrate more than one cloud. A hybrid cloud infrastructure blends private and public clouds, while multi-cloud blends different clouds of the same type, usually from different vendors.

What Is a Cloud Environment?

The “cloud” is a collection of distributed storage and processing resources working in tandem as a singular entity. With cloud systems, companies can launch complex, high-performance computational systems and shared software that is incredibly accessible and capable of accomplishing tasks that typical computers cannot.

Generally speaking, cloud computing systems break down into three types of environments:

  • Public Cloud: The most common cloud system, public cloud infrastructure, is shared between customers. That is to say, these customers will have their own resource instances separated from other customers, but these will be housed on hardware infrastructure shared by those customers. Public systems are relatively the cheapest of all environments and scale extremely well.
  • Private Cloud: Private cloud systems are those where a single customer enjoys access to all hardware and software resources. Traditionally, these systems were primarily on-prem, but some vendors offer private cloud systems. The private cloud is expensive and harder to scale but gives customers much more control and security.
  • Hybrid Cloud: As the name suggests, hybrid cloud systems combine access to public and private cloud infrastructure to provide flexibility for users. The most common configuration for these hybrid systems involves using the public cloud for common tasks and data, moving mission-critical or regulated data to private cloud, and then scaling public resources when additional processing power is needed (a process known as “cloud bursting”).

Between these different cloud setups, different enterprises can utilize the resources they need based on their specific business and technical needs.

What Is Multi-Cloud Infrastructure?

As the use of cloud systems grows, the demand for expanded scale and capabilities also grows. This is, perhaps, expected, as most businesses and research enterprises tend to push technology to its limits to look for what’s beyond.

Cloud tech isn’t different. While researchers and engineers push large cloud environments to their limits, organizations are looking for ways to harness more processing power and storage capacity.

Enter multi-cloud systems. As the name suggests, a multi-cloud is a collection of cloud systems functioning as an extensive, comprehensive infrastructure.

This means that a single cloud system can be made up of entirely different cloud platforms–different vendors, different infrastructure types, and different purposes.

How Is Multi-Cloud Different from Hybrid Cloud?

At face value, a multi-cloud system sounds very similar to a hybrid cloud system, but these cloud setups are far from identical.

Hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures differ in a few key areas:


Hybrid cloud environments are built from different cloud environments (public and private), whereas multi-cloud is a combination of complete cloud systems offered by different vendors. This means a multi-cloud environment can include a combination of different setups, configurations, and even companies to serve different needs.

Multi-cloud systems often involve multiple public cloud environments, whereas a hybrid cloud will include public and private infrastructure with a single provider.


Because of its heterogeneity, multi-cloud systems can offer disparate and distinct services such as:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Different providers can offer different cloud application services for enterprise users, and many organizations use different apps across different systems. A multi-cloud approach allows your organization to create a more extensive variety of apps for their infrastructure.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): A heterogeneous cloud system may run on different software and platform components, and multi-cloud systems can include several different kinds of platforms (including different app suites, operating systems, file systems, runtime environments, etc.) operating separately.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): These services include the foundation of cloud infrastructures, such as security, servers, and storage.

Multi-cloud allows you to combine different services into a single, robust environment.


While this isn’t accurate 100% of the time, it’s primarily the case that private clouds mix public and private resources while multi-cloud blends different types of public clouds.

What Are the Benefits of a Multi-Cloud Infrastructure?

As organizations grow to need multi-cloud systems, they intend to spread their operations across a distributed and diverse set of platforms and apps. This comes with a few clear benefits:

  • Potentially Reduced Costs: As mentioned, with the right configuration and a focus on public cloud infrastructure, a multi-cloud can result in reduced costs as compared to a hybrid cloud that relies on private cloud environments.
  • Vendor Flexibility: Multi-cloud systems don’t rely on a set of resources from a single provider. That means you can use available storage from one provider, high-performance computing from another, apps from another, etc. This provides significant flexibility and avoids problems associated with vendor lock-in.
  • Service Optimization: Since each service isn’t associated with a single provider, and since these services aren’t tied together into a single data or storage pipeline, each component can be tweaked and optimized as needed for its specific function.
  • Availability: Multi-cloud components are typically more available, as they are continually maintained by different providers and are not dependent on one another.

What Are the Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud System?

A multi-cloud system is not an all-purpose solution. In many cases, hybrid cloud environments will better serve enterprise users:

  • Scalability: Hybrid cloud systems include public cloud components specifically to scale. Since computational resources are all tied together, it’s much easier for users to burst into resources when needed without coordinating layers of cloud environments.
  • Agility: Since hybrid resources are tied together, it’s also much easier to quickly adapt the system to more specific demands and respond to changes in operations or technology. The benefits of having a single vendor mean that changes are universal and only require one point of contact.
  • Security: Data privacy, security, and industry compliance are already tough to manage across different apps, and these challenges are only amplified when spread across multiple vendors and environments. A hybrid system can automate and streamline compliance and security more efficiently, with a focus on the comprehensive management of data flows and systems.

Support Your High-Performance Cloud Solution with WEKA

It takes significant preparation and tools to manage hybrid or multi-cloud systems for HPC environments. Coordinating processing, storage, and security across multiple platforms or vendors is already challenging, so large enterprises and research organizations must deploy a cloud system to support either environment as needed.

With WEKA, you get the following features:

  • Streamlined and fast cloud file systems to combine multiple sources into a single high-performance computing system
  • Industry-best GPUDirect performance (113 Gbps for a single DGX-2 and 162 Gbps for a single DGX A100)
  • In-flight and at-rest encryption for governance, risk, and compliance requirements
  • Agile access and management for edge, core, and cloud development
  • Scalability up to exabytes of storage across billions of files

Contact our team today to learn more about WEKA hybrid cloud and multi-cloud support.

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