Multi-cloud means several different public clouds are used to support one or more applications, instead of just a single public cloud.
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In cloud computing, a cloud is a collection of servers that cloud customers access over the Internet. Typically, each cloud is managed by a cloud provider – a company that offers cloud services. A public cloud is a cloud that more than one customer shares.
"Multi-cloud" means multiple public clouds. A company that uses a multi-cloud deployment incorporates multiple public clouds from more than one cloud provider. Instead of a business using one vendor for cloud hosting, storage, and the full application stack, in a multi-cloud configuration they use several.
Multi-cloud deployments have a number of uses. A multi-cloud deployment can leverage multiple IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) vendors, or it could use a different vendor for IaaS, PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) services. Multi-cloud can be purely for the purpose of redundancy and system backup, or it can incorporate different cloud vendors for different services.
Most businesses that move to the cloud will end up with some kind of multi-cloud deployment. A multi-cloud deployment can even come about unintentionally, as a result of shadow IT (see below).
A multi-cloud can also be a hybrid cloud, and a hybrid cloud can also be a multi-cloud, but these terms represent two distinct concepts.
"Hybrid cloud" describes the mixing of two or more distinct types of infrastructure: it combines a private cloud, an on-premises data center, or both with at least one public cloud. Multi-cloud refers to several different public clouds being deployed, and it doesn't necessarily include a private cloud, although it can.
Cloudflare sits between end users and cloud infrastructure. We are able to integrate with, secure, and accelerate traffic to any cloud provider, or for multiple cloud providers.
A number of Cloudflare services can integrate into the traffic flow between end user and origin cloud infrastructure. We provide multicloud load balancing, distributing traffic across different clouds, and CDN caching in order to further reduce latency. Our Web Application Firewall (WAF) blocks malicious traffic for better security.
A multicloud deployment can come about unintentionally, as a result of shadow IT. Shadow IT is when internal teams set up technical systems or use software products without official approval or oversight from the larger organization. A simple example would be if a company's employees use a chat app that isn't sanctioned or managed by the company to communicate about business activities.
Shadow IT can find its way into application architecture too. Either as a short cut for getting things done, or out of necessity, employees may incorporate cloud services into a company's technology stack before receiving official approval.
Cloudflare enables businesses to manage their cloud deployments' performance and security from a single dashboard. The Cloudflare network stretches all around the globe in 275+ cities to help ensure performance and security for users anywhere in the world.
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