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What is Multicloud?

Multicloud refers to using several instances of multiple clouds from different vendors. With multicloud, the use of different vendors means access to different features, underlying infrastructure, security, and other elements specific to the vendor’s offerings.

Multicloud may be the right solution for your enterprise

Multicloud may be the right solution for your enterprise video thumbnail

What is multicloud? For enterprises seeking to optimize cloud infrastructure capabilities and spending, a multicloud configuration may be a best of all worlds approach. Multicloud ties this all together, allowing enterprises and organizations to have access across vendors so data can be placed in an environment best suited to its capabilities.

An example an Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform capable of working in a multicloud environment is Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). For this specific case, OCI and Microsoft Azure work seamlessly together based on an interoperability partnership that enables migration and running enterprise workloads across on both Azure and Oracle Cloud.

To further explore this example of a multicloud configuration, let's take a real-world example of the partnership between OCI and Azure. Internationally renowned clothing retailer Gap ran custom applications both Azure and Oracle databases. The collaboration between Oracle and Microsoft powered greater multicloud interoperability, enabling easier scaling and delivery capabilities across channels. In this case, Gap used a multicloud configuration across different vendors to streamline user access, connectivity, and governance for a more efficient user experience.

Multicloud benefits

If multicloud is feasible for your organization, then what are the reasons to adopt it? Multicloud provides a number of benefits, including:

  • Avoid vendor lock-in for specific services
  • More robust disaster recovery options
  • Easier migration
  • Easier scalability and agility
  • Ability to take advantage of competitive pricing or emerging competition for services

A strong provider for your multicloud needs should have the ability to run enterprise workloads while offering flexibility and versatility. This includes operating high-performance workloads or specific database or virtualization stacks. In a best-case scenario, enterprises engaging in a multicloud scenario can optimize service, price, and resources while maintaining flexibility and ensuring data security and interoperability. Getting there takes a number of considerations, but when it’s done correctly, multicloud deployment can power an organization’s ability to thrive.

Multicloud vs. hybrid cloud vs. intercloud

The use of multiple computing and data platforms is not new—many enterprises deployed on-premises infrastructure in vast datacenters that catered to various use cases. Today, how IT departments select their multicloud path is dependent on their specific needs. Each offer their own pros and cons; multicloud can do things that hybrid clouds cannot, and the same thing applies to intercloud. Here are the unique traits of each of these options:

  • Multicloud: As mentioned above, multicloud is a setup where multiple cloud vendors are used by a single organization. Ideally, the clouds offer interoperability and connectivity to ensure that users can easily access both. However, this is one of the most important challenges in setting up a successful multicloud. An easy way to think about multicloud is on your TV: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max are all different cloud streaming services subscribed by an individual household.
  • Hybrid cloud: Hybrid clouds use a combination of on-premises hardware and cloud hosting. There are a number of reasons why an enterprise may choose a hybrid cloud. This may be part of an incremental transition to a public cloud. This may also be a regulatory necessity by keeping sensitive material on the on-premise hardware.

  • Intercloud: While a multicloud brings two or more different clouds together for use within the same organization, an intercloud configuration actively merges data within multiple cloud solutions. This is similar to a hybrid cloud environment in that two or more systems are working together, but the difference here stems from the fact that all systems reside in the cloud.

Which setup is right for you? It all depends on what you need. Practical factors such as regulatory needs and budget should also be weighed against technical issues such as latency and accessibility.

Considerations of a multicloud strategy

When looking at the path to a multicloud strategy, IT departments must assess critical elements of their organization to see if it’s the right choice for their specific needs. Ask these four questions to define your organization’s goals:

Cloud deployment for your needs?

This is probably the biggest reason to select a cloud provider as part of your strategy. Simply put, does the cloud adoption plan easily fulfill your goals? Going back to the above analogy of streaming TV services, this is the IT equivalent of “I’m subscribing to a streaming service because it has a show that I want.” In this case, it’s a service or function that your organization wants and can’t get fulfilled elsewhere (or the options from other providers drain resources/cost too much/aren’t as flexible,, etc.) and can be deployed in a way that works with your existing environment.

Cloud Interoperability and standards—Can they be achieved?

The modern cloud is built for interoperability. For multicloud, this highlights the need to integrate networks and identity management. By fulfilling these needs, a multicloud configuration enables smooth communication between clouds in a way that minimizes logistical hurdles for both users and management. Utilizing open standards is key to achieving interoperability. A good example of this is providing support for a popular open-source technology such as Terraform, which is an open-source "Infrastructure as Code" platform. Low latency connections between clouds are also very important to ensure smooth operation for critical types of workloads.

However, these aren’t always feasible, and some cloud services still remain siloed off from other ones. When multiple cloud solutions fail to operate cohesively with each other, this creates all types of roadblocks—from a simple drain on resources to causing problems and bottlenecks in workflows. If the cloud service creates more problems than it solves, then it’s not the right choice for a multicloud configuration.

Does the cloud fit your budget?

The practical aspect of integrating any IT platform is budget. Does it save enough in time and effort to be worth the cost? And if it’s not something that naturally slots into your budget, are there other resources you can scale down in order to make it work? Or can you demonstrate that the cloud service offers enough value that you can actually ask for more? And once you get a multicloud environment up and running, can you effectively monitor all the cost variables to prevent going over budget? This last question also ties into the issue of interoperability -- with the right APIs, a cloud service can integrate into other tools that provide a big-picture view of usage, resources, and budget, making it easier to ensure everything stays within the means of your organization.

Cloud security—Are there any security or governance concerns?

In the modern data-driven world, security is always a top concern. In a multicloud environment, new and unique challenges arise, often tied into the idea of interoperability. Authentication and authorization are key: if those are limited to a specific provider, it can create a ripple effect of access issues. In addition, any APIs must work in a manner that minimize risk to the various clouds and the infrastructure as a whole, and a holistic management view must be cleanly available to minimize risk and ensure proper governance over data. Given proper interoperability, tools for logging, observability, and security management can work across clouds to streamline this effort.

Multicloud observability

What is multicloud observability and why is it important? A multicloud strategy enables lower risks and costs by allowing companies to choose specialized cloud capabilities from different providers. Some companies may even decide to keep certain workloads and data assets on-premises using a hybrid cloud configuration. While this flexibility can result in greater speed and lower costs, it can also prohibit AIOps and DevOps teams from easily getting complete views of application performance and user experience across different deployment architectures and cloud providers. IT teams should ask themselves these key questions:

  • Is the performance I am seeing normal or abnormal?
  • Am I getting the best performance?
  • Are my users satisfied with current service levels?
  • How do cyclical events impact performance and utilization?
  • How can I prevent an issue from happening again?

By integrating machine learning and open standards into a multicloud observability approach, the time and effort needed to answer such questions can be significantly reduced, resulting in shorter development cycles, fewer operational glitches, and better customer experiences.

Multicloud customer successes

Our cloud infrastructure has been used by organizations of all sizes with different unique needs to deliver an IaaS platform as part of their multicloud strategy. Here are just a few of Oracle’s customer success stories in the realm of multicloud.


Murad is a globally recognized skin care brand servicing distinguishing itself in the marketplace with science-based treatments and products. The company recognized that its complex business model needed faster back-office operations across its ERP, SCM, planning, and BI platforms. Murad also sought to lower costs and offload hardware management while enhancing business continuity. Ultimately, Murad integrated Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as part of a multi-cloud solution to work with AWS, resulting in a 30% performance improvement.

SI Group image
SI Group

For more than 100 years, SI Group has driven innovations in chemistry. With more than 2,800 products supplying industrial and consumer goods, SI Group's data needs were significant and across all groups within its organization. The company sought to increase its multicloud bandwidth while reducing overall cost and increasing efficiency. To do this, SI Group used Oracle's SD-WAN solution.


Tanium, a provider of endpoint management and security for demanding IT environments, sought a partner to work with its flagship SaaS platform known as Tanium-as-a-Service. Tanium needed a partner that offered robust built-in security and high availability with strong price-performance to help their customers better secure their IT environments. Ultimately, Tanium selected Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for their multicloud strategy, enabling them to expand their user base with competitively priced solutions and zero infrastructure.

Learn more about multicloud solutions

In a world with many cloud-based services and solutions, a multicloud environment is often the right choice for organizations to balance price, performance, and agility. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supports robust multicloud solutions, enabling simpler management while minimizing integration complications and security risks.