How a multi-cloud benefits your business

Companies are increasingly turning to multi-cloud solutions. They connect clouds from different providers and combine the various services on one platform. We explain how you can benefit from a multi-cloud, what challenges it involves and how you can successfully master them.

Definition: What is a Multi Cloud?

A multi-cloud combines cloud platforms and services from different cloud computing providers. This includes, for example, the offerings of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud. But particularly secure private clouds can also be integrated into such solutions; in this case we speak of a combination of multi- and hybrid cloud.

A multi-cloud brings with it various advantages, including greater cost efficiency, better performance and increased fail-safety. How your multi-cloud is structured and which services it includes should first be defined in a multi-cloud strategy. Typically, an individual mix of services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is aimed for here.

The cloud types in comparison

Public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud - four different cloud models, each offering different benefits and containing challenges. We have summarized the most important features of each model:

Public Cloud

A public cloud comprises various services that are made available to all users in a publicly accessible cloud infrastructure. Nevertheless, the user data is separated from each other via their own access data. The services offered can usually be used on a subscription basis for a monthly payment, whereby consumption-dependent costs can also be added. The three best-known providers of public clouds are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud.

A public cloud offers numerous advantages, including low initial costs and fees. In addition, your in-house IT does not have to worry about maintenance, as this is taken care of by the provider. Another advantage is the almost unlimited scalability to increase storage capacity based on demand. However, compared to the private cloud, public clouds are considered less well protected in the event of a cyber attack.

Private cloud

The private cloud is the antithesis of the public cloud: services are not used in a publicly accessible infrastructure, but are available in a privately hosted environment. Access is via specially secured connections such as WAN/LAN or VPN. As a rule, users have more control over services and data in the private cloud. Private cloud can be located on the user's own premises or in the data center of a managed services provider (MSP).

The great advantage of the private cloud is maximum security. The specially protected access points usually make it much more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access. If the private cloud is hosted in the data center of an MSP, the MSP usually also takes over the complete maintenance. In return, the operating costs are usually somewhat higher than for the less protected public cloud.

Hybrid cloud

The hybrid cloud is a mixture of private and public cloud. Users can access applications and content from both worlds. For example, this gives them the option of storing documents in either the private or public cloud, depending on their sensitivity.

As a user of a hybrid cloud, you thus benefit from a high degree of flexibility. However, you have to consistently manage what kind of data moves to the public cloud and what to the private cloud. Otherwise, the solution quickly becomes confusing. The costs of a hybrid cloud are typically higher than when using a public cloud, but cheaper than with a private cloud.

Multi cloud or hybrid cloud?

Both multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions are being used successfully by companies, but they must be clearly separated from each other conceptually. Companies prefer the hybrid cloud if they do not want to process all their data in the public cloud for compliance and/or security reasons. The multi-cloud, on the other hand, offers more usage features. Services and functions from different providers can be used in parallel. In addition, savings effects can also be achieved by combining different offerings. The private cloud can, but does not have to be part of a multi-cloud environment.

These are the advantages

Compared to a regular cloud solution, the Multi Cloud offers you several advantages that have a positive impact on your IT processes.


The Multi Cloud offers you maximum flexibility in the use of your services. Because: there is no single cloud that provides you with the best possible solutions on the market for all your challenges. While one cloud is better suited to host an app, the other offers better functionalities to archive data securely. In a multi-cloud, you can take advantage of the best cloud solutions and services available to maximize your benefits.

Cost efficiency

Because you can choose from a large pool of cloud services, this may have a positive impact on your costs. You can compare the various offerings and use them to put together the most cost-efficient mix possible.


Many companies face a so-called vendor lock-in. Here, the dependence on a single cloud provider is so high that it no longer makes sense to switch for economic reasons. With a multi-cloud, you avoid this problem. Since you access different cloud providers at the same time, you are not dependent on a single partner - a decisive advantage for your risk management.

If one partner drops out, you simply fall back more on the offerings of the other providers.


When you work in a multi-cloud environment, you are significantly better protected against failures. You can flexibly distribute the data load across several clouds. If an outage occurs in one cloud, you can mitigate the problems with the other cloud services. This secures your ability to do business and saves you high costs.


In a multi-cloud, you can host individual workloads with regional cloud providers that are close to the respective users. This guarantees high performance and availability at all times in times of remote work.


In addition to the many benefits that multi cloud offers you, there are also potential challenges that you should be aware of. We name them and explain how they can be overcome.

Complex infrastructure

The biggest challenge with a Multi Cloud is to orchestrate the different services. Because only when your multi-cloud fits together into a harmonious whole does efficiency set in within the company. To achieve this, you need to provide interfaces between the various processes and technologies. You must also ensure that the various processes in the individual clouds can be tracked, for example via a central dashboard.

To do this, you need some specialized knowledge in the area of cloud computing - know-how that is often not available in-house. This is where working with a good managed services provider (MSP) comes in handy. From hundreds of customer projects, these providers have proven multi-cloud strategies. Therefore, it is often cheaper to hire such a professional than to laboriously try out different solutions.

Increased latency

Since a multitude of services communicate with each other in a multi-cloud, there can be increased latency, which makes it difficult to use. However, this depends on the geographic location of the data centers. If you host high workloads with regional cloud providers close to each user, you can significantly reduce latency.

Larger attack surface

The larger the multi-cloud, the greater the risk of security breaches. Due to the many different services and providers, a uniform data security concept is more difficult to implement than with a single provider. Cyber criminals could use this circumstance to their advantage and cause you considerable damage. That's why you should develop a holistic IT security strategy in advance that explicitly addresses multi-cloud scenarios. Here, too, the expertise of an MSP can help.

Lack of unity in data protection and compliance

What applies to data security also applies to data protection: It is more difficult to establish a uniform concept. The situation is similar when it comes to compliance: Due to the large number of cloud providers involved, reconciliation with legal requirements is more complicated than with a single provider.

The most important providers

The multi-cloud offers you the great advantage of being able to use services from different providers. In this way, you benefit from the respective strengths of the individual providers. But which cloud computing providers are relevant at all? These are the most important ones:

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft's cloud solution, Microsoft Azure, has been around since 2010. The platform offers an answer for practically every purpose in the company, for example for security concerns (Azure Sentinel) or making cloud services available locally (Azure Stack). For multi-cloud scenarios, Microsoft offers Azure Arc, which is currently perhaps the most powerful solution on the market.

In addition, the popular software-as-a-service products Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams are based on Azure. Development environments such as the Microsoft Power Platform are also available. Overall, Azure forms one of the most comprehensive cloud solutions for companies with around 200 services worldwide.

Microsoft Azure is characterized in particular by a high level of security and close integration with other Microsoft products. Other advantages include rapid implementation, simple management and virtually unlimited scalability. So you get the cloud environment you need for your needs, with price reflecting consumption.

Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon and was one of the very first cloud computing providers. Through Amazon Web Services, customers can use storage, networks, databases, and development interfaces, among other services.

The AWS offering includes more than 200 different web services. These include the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), the Amazon S3 object storage and the AWS Aurora SQL service. By distributing its data centers globally, AWS can guarantee high stability with very little downtime.

AWS offers a wealth of native tools. The provider scores especially with services for developers, but also with favorable cost structures. However, the latter are quite complex, which sometimes affects the comprehensibility.

Google Cloud

The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides you with more than 100 different IT services and offers the complete spectrum of cloud solutions with infrastructure solutions (IaaS), developer tools (PaaS) and software from the cloud (SaaS). The Google Cloud plays to its strengths particularly in the areas of AI and machine learning. However, thanks to one of the largest backbone networks in the world, strong performance is also guaranteed; flexibility and scalability are high. The cost structure is based on the pay-as-you-go principle - you only pay for what you actually use. This increases transparency in the company.

IBM Cloud

IBM offers various IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions with the IBM Cloud. Users can access a wide range of tools and services, including in the areas of artificial intelligence/machine learning, containers (IBM Cloud Pak), databases and storage systems. A total of around 170 services are available. Customers pay monthly based on consumption.

Independent cloud providers

In addition to the so-called hyperscalers, there is a growing number of cloud providers that excel with cloud solutions tailored individually to companies. Especially for organizations that want close, personal contact with their provider, such providers are the better choice. Here, Amazon & Co. usually cannot guarantee the same level of support due to their size.

Best Practices

To get maximum benefit from your multi-cloud environment, you should first lay the foundations for efficient use. We have compiled the most important measures for this.

1. create consistency

Consistency plays a big role in reducing the complexity of your multi-cloud. Create a virtual environment that unifies compute, storage, network infrastructure and applications, ideally using a central dashboard. This enables a quick overview across multiple clouds. Having the right processes in place is more critical than your choice of tools.

2. establish governance policies

Cloud governance policies define how your multi-cloud environment should be operated. They ensure that your data assets are properly managed and used. Among other things, this is where you should define the default configurations, access rights and audit intervals for your multi-cloud. An example would be that a workload is only provisioned when it meets certain requirements.

3. Ensure a high level of automation.

Automating manual processes is a major contributor to the success of your Multi Cloud. This way, users get the services they need faster; tedious, repetitive tasks don't have to be triggered each time. This results in free resources that you can use wisely for more demanding tasks.

Monitor performance

Use monitoring services to monitor activity in your multi-cloud and measure performance. There are now numerous digital tools available for this purpose. This will give you better insight into the costs associated with using the different clouds and can be compared to the output.

5 Optimize the workload

The advantage of a multi-cloud environment is that you can place workloads where they will run most efficiently. That's because each cloud provider has specific strengths. For example, you'll prefer to work in Google Cloud Platform if you want to use AI and machine learning. Microsoft Azure, on the other hand, offers you a high level of security and tight integration with other Microsoft products. In Amazon Web Services, on the other hand, you can access a wealth of native tools and automation capabilities.

6. get external support

Implementing a multi-cloud is complex. Depending on how much or little cloud experience you have, it may therefore be advisable to work with a managed services provider. He develops a cloud strategy together with you and knows what is important during implementation. With an external service provider, you not only benefit from their experience from hundreds of customer projects, but can also scale their support at any time - with full cost control. This relieves the burden on your in-house team and also makes you independent of short-term personnel bottlenecks, for example in the event of illness.