6 Multi-Cloud Architecture Designs for a Successful Cloud Strategy

Companies are rapidly embracing a multi-cloud approach due to changing market conditions. For instance, the fast adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving a multi-cloud solution among businesses. According to a recent study, 39% of respondents cited AI/Machine Learning as the top workload that requires additional cloud service providers apart from their existing ones.

The multi-cloud approach offers key advantages such as performance flexibility, high application performance, and resilience. However, to apply the multi-cloud strategy, you have to understand how it works and the basic cloud architectural models.

This blog post will teach you about designing multi-cloud architecture for different organizational needs. In the next blog, we will discuss strategies to effectively manage a multi-cloud environment.

Before moving on to multi-cloud architecture, let’s briefly understand the basic cloud architecture models.

What is Multi-cloud Architecture?

Multi-cloud architecture means using multiple cloud services to meet different operational needs. It improves system availability and performance by spreading workloads across various cloud environments.

You can use multiple storage, networking, and application platforms to minimize operational disruptions. This approach creates a failsafe system by reducing single points of failure through using multiple cloud services.

What Is a Multi-Cloud Architecture Strategy?

A multi-cloud strategy involves using services from two or more public cloud service providers (CSPs). For example, a multi-cloud approach could include:

  • Google Cloud Storage and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Google Cloud Storage, Azure Virtual Machines, and AWS EC2.
  • Azure Files, AWS Simple Storage Service (S3), and Google Compute Engine.

Additionally, on-premises private clouds like Azure Files, AWS EC2, and private clouds can be involved. As long as the cloud strategy uses cloud services from two or more public cloud providers, it can be considered a multi-cloud strategy.

One reason to adopt a multi-cloud strategy is to comply with data localization or data sovereignty laws. These rules describe the geographical storage locations for data, often in the place where the data was first gathered. Sticking to just one CSP may make it difficult to comply, as even the largest cloud providers don’t have data centers in every single country.

So, if your business operates globally and needs to use cloud services in countries with data localization laws, you may need to obtain services from a CSP that has data centers in those areas. That CSP might not be the same provider you’re subscribed to in another country. As a result, the only option is to implement a multi-cloud strategy.

Another reason is that your first CSP may not offer a specific cloud service (for example, artificial intelligence and machine learning services), or if it does, it may not be as good as another CSP’s. By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, you have a better chance of getting the best-in-breed cloud services.

There are various other reasons to use a multi-cloud strategy. We’ll discuss them more in the Pros and Cons section. For now, let’s look at the six most widely used multi-cloud architecture designs. Find the one that works best for the use case that you have in mind.

6 Multi-cloud Architecture Designs You Should Know

To create applications that are robust, reliable, and scalable, a multi-cloud architecture layout is the best choice. Our goal is to offer architectural design advice to facilitate the migration of cloud-based systems that several cloud providers host. Let’s look at some of the most common multi-cloud structures and migration strategies. 

  1. Cloudification

In this setup, the application components are hosted on-premises initially, and then, after migration, it is able to use various cloud services from other cloud platforms to improve performance. 

Although the application component is stored on your own private infrastructure, it utilizes compute services from Azure (such as Virtual Machines) and storage services from AWS (such as Amazon S3) after multi-cloud implementation.


  • Increases flexibility by rehosting apps across clouds
  • Prevents lock-in to one vendor

Potential Issues:

  • Complexity in managing infrastructure across private servers and public clouds
  • Security and compliance challenges
  • Networking difficulties
  1. Multi-Cloud Relocation

In this design, application components are first hosted on one cloud platform. It then uses cloud services from various other cloud platforms to improve capabilities.

The application component is moved from your on-premises to the AWS cloud platform after migration. It can then access environment services offered by Azure. The application uses storage from Amazon S3 and can use compute resources from either AWS or Azure.


  • Increases availability by rehosting apps across clouds
  • Prevents vendor lock-in

Potential Issues:

  • More complexity in managing app parts across multiple clouds
  • Potential performance issues due to data transfer between clouds
  • Higher overall costs
  1. Multi-Cloud Refactor

In this approach, an existing on-premises application needs to be modified to run efficiently across multiple cloud platforms. The application is rebuilt into smaller, independent components. This allows high-usage components to be deployed and optimized separately from low-usage ones. Parallel design enables better utilization of multi-cloud platforms.

For example, let’s say AC1 and AC2 are two components of an application initially hosted on-premises. Since they are separate units, AC1 can run on AWS using Amazon S3 storage, while AC2 is deployed on Azure using relevant Azure services based on requirements.


  • Optimized deployment based on usage demands
  • Better resource utilization across clouds

Potential Issues:

  • Complexity in re-architecting the monolithic application
  • Increased management overhead
  1. Multi-Cloud Rebinding

The re-architected application is partially deployed across multiple clouds. This allows the app to fail over to secondary cloud deployments if the primary cloud experiences an outage.

For instance, AC1 and AC2 were initially on-premises components. AC1 remains on-prem, while AC2 is deployed to AWS and Azure clouds for disaster recovery. AC1 on-prem interacts with the AC2 instances on AWS and Azure over messaging (like Azure Service Bus).


  • High availability through cloud redundancy
  • Disaster recovery capabilities

Potential Issues:

  • Increased complexity and management overhead
  • Potential data consistency issues across clouds
  1. Multi-Cloud Rebinding using Cloud Brokerage

A new application can be split and deployed across different cloud environments. This allows the application to keep running using a backup deployment if there are any issues with the main deployment. A cloud brokerage service makes this possible.

In this setup, one part (AC1) is on-premises, and two copies of another part (AC2) are deployed on AWS and Azure clouds. The cloud brokerage service connects these three parts and lets you choose between AWS and Azure.


  • The application can stay up by using the backup site if the main site has problems.
  • You can choose the best cloud for each part based on performance, cost, and features.
  • You can optimize costs by mixing and matching cloud providers.

Potential Issues:

  • It’s more complex to manage the application across multiple clouds.
  • The application may get too reliant on a particular cloud’s services.
  • Extra effort is needed to make the on-premises and cloud parts work seamlessly together.
  1. Multi-Application Modernization

Older applications (A1/A2, AC1) running on-premises can be broken into smaller pieces and moved to run across different cloud environments. This creates a spread-out, scalable setup.


  • Aging applications get modernized by using cloud technologies.
  • Scalability and flexibility improve by spreading the pieces across multiple clouds.
  • Costs can be reduced by using cloud resources as needed.

Potential Issues:

  • It’s complex to re-architect existing apps for this distributed cloud model.
  • Compatibility issues may arise between old pieces and new cloud-based pieces.
  • More operational effort is required to manage the app across all environments.

Multi-cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud

At first glance, these terms may seem similar, and some people use them interchangeably. However, they are distinct concepts, and we’ll explain the subtle but clear differences between them.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private clouds that work together to perform a single task. It connects a public cloud (like AWS) to your on-premises system, and they are coordinated to work together. In this setup, you optimize your workload to run in the right environment at the right time. 

With a hybrid cloud, organizations can access highly scalable computing resources from a chosen provider, perhaps for managing additional workloads during peak times or for day-to-day applications. However, all mission-critical tasks remain on the on-premises infrastructure for reasons like privacy regulations and security.

Why use a Hybrid Cloud?

For certain use cases, organizations need to combine private and public clouds to take advantage of their unique benefits.

Organizations can use “cloud bursting,” where application workloads burst into the public cloud for additional computing resources after reaching a threshold in the private cloud.

It makes sense for enterprises to employ public cloud resources for a new, untested application before investing the capital costs of putting it in a private cloud.  Once an organization defines a steady workload pipeline for an application, it may choose to bring the application to on-premises systems.

In addition, cloud users can use hybrid clouds to enhance high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR). For example, in a disaster recovery scenario, a business can store its recovery premises in a public cloud and its production environment in a private cloud, ready to go as needed. Data is replicated to the public cloud by the organization, but until it needs them, all other resources are not operational.

A hybrid cloud architecture provides maximum agility for meeting organizational needs by enabling automated IT operations to improve the user experience.


A multi-cloud setup involves using more than one cloud deployment of the same type, either public or private, sourced from different cloud providers. Businesses utilize a multi-cloud strategy to combine many public and private clouds in order to use the finest services and apps.

Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies do not conflict: Both are possible to have at the same time. In fact, most organizations seek to improve security and performance through a diverse portfolio of environments.

(Note: A multi-cloud architecture is different from a multi-tenant architecture. The former involves using multiple clouds, while the latter refers to software architecture where a single software instance runs on a server and serves multiple tenants.)

Why use a Multi-cloud approach?

Different multi-cloud use cases can offer IT teams increased flexibility and control over workloads and data.

As multi-cloud application services offer a flexible cloud environment, organizations can meet specific workloads or application requirements – both technically and commercially – by adopting it.

Organizations believe in the geographical advantages of using several cloud providers to handle app latency issues. Some businesses may begin using specific cloud providers for a limited time to fulfill short-term objectives before discontinuing use. Additionally, vendor lock-in concerns and possible cloud provider outages are two issues that frequently drive the adoption of a multi-cloud strategy.

Managing Multiple Cloud Environments

Using multiple cloud environments can bring challenges – it gets complex, resources need managing, you need expertise, costs add up, and overall management is tough. It appears that management is the common problem.

Using multiple cloud environments can bring challenges – it gets complex, resources need managing, and you need 

Let’s say you’re running one job that needs lots of storage and networking power in your own cloud. At the same time, you have another job running on Amazon’s cloud, and yet another on Microsoft’s cloud. Each job is on the best cloud for it, but now you’re managing multiple cloud providers.

Here Are 5 Tips For Successfully Using Multiple Clouds:

  1. Review all your needs and decide which cloud provider is best for each specific need. This reduces complexity and prevents wasted resources.
  2. Using many clouds increases maintenance and monitoring tasks. It’s best to automate these routine tasks.
  3. Focus on standardizing policies that apply automatically across all cloud environments. These cover data storage, workloads, traffic, virtual servers, compliance, security, and reporting.
  4. Use management software designed for virtual environments. It helps all your teams – servers, networking, operations, security, apps – work together efficiently.
  5. Identify which of your applications work best in a multi-cloud setup. Unlike traditional apps, cloud-native apps are flexible and service-based. They use containers and services built to scale out easily. This makes them simpler to automate, move, and expand across clouds.

Advantages of Using Multiple Cloud Environments

  1. Disaster Recovery

It can be risky when an organization relies on a single cloud platform to manage all its resources. A cyber attack could take down all operations for a long time, leaving end-users without access until it’s resolved. When you use multiple cloud environments, it makes your company’s services more resilient against such attacks because there are other clouds available to take over the workloads if one cloud goes down.

  1. Avoiding Vendor Lock-In

A multi-cloud platform allows organizations to select the best services from each cloud provider, creating a custom infrastructure tailored to their organizational goals. Instead of adapting business processes to fit a specific provider’s setup and execution, businesses can explore different providers to find the best match for each part of their operations.

  1. Data Management

Organizations generate different types of data. For example, some databases require cold storage that’s not accessed regularly, while hot data needs to be stored in frequently accessed storage like Amazon S3 standard storage. Instead of putting all your data into one cloud, you can diversify and take advantage of the right service for the right function.

  1. Cloud Cost Optimization

Before adopting a multi-cloud strategy, you should analyze the performance of your workloads that are either on-premises or already in the cloud, and compare that to what’s available in each cloud. You can then determine which solutions will best fit your workload performance requirements while keeping costs as low as possible. For instance, you can run fault-tolerant workloads on spot instances while reserving instances for traditional workloads to save money.

  1. Low Latency

When application users are distributed worldwide, and data transfer is done from a single data center, many users will experience slow response times. When data flow needs to pass through multiple nodes in order to reach end users, there will be delays. The term “latency” refers to this inherent delay in cloud services that are provided by servers located at a distance.

Cloud architects can place data centers in different regions based on user locations in a multi-cloud system. The requested data can be served with minimal server hops from the data center nearest to the end customers. This capability is especially useful for global organizations that need to serve data across geographically dispersed locations while maintaining a unified end-user experience.

The Importance of Cloud Architecture Design

Cloud architecture design is the process of planning, structuring, and setting up an organization’s cloud infrastructure to meet its specific needs and goals. A well-designed cloud architecture provides numerous benefits, including:

  • Scalability: In response to changes in demand, cloud designs can be easily scaled up or down. This flexibility allows businesses to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.
  • Cost Efficiency: Using cloud solutions often saves costs by eliminating large upfront investments in hardware and reducing ongoing operational expenses. A well-optimized cloud architecture ensures resources are used efficiently, avoiding unnecessary spending.
  • Reliability and Redundancy: Cloud providers offer high levels of redundancy and fault tolerance, reducing the risk of downtime due to hardware failures or other issues. This ensures consistent service availability, which is crucial for maintaining customer trust.
  • Security: Effective cloud architecture design incorporates robust security measures, such as data encryption, access controls, and threat detection. Security best practices are implemented to safeguard sensitive data and applications.
  • Innovation: Cloud architecture enables organizations to experiment with new technologies, implement modern practices like DevOps, and rapidly develop and deploy applications. This helps the organization to have an innovative and flexible culture.

Wrapping Up

A multi-cloud architecture enables enterprises to create secure, powerful cloud-based settings beyond traditional infrastructure. However, maximizing the impact of a multi-cloud approach means addressing challenges such as application sprawl, multiple unique portals, compliance, migration, and security head-on.

The main goal of a multi-cloud solution is to utilize as many cloud providers as needed to address the limitations of relying on a single cloud provider. While transferring between cloud providers to complete tasks can be challenging, particularly in the beginning, cloud service providers are working to improve the efficiency of cloud switching. The more efficient this process becomes, the more multi-cloud computing will evolve and be adopted.