Cloud vs. Multi-cloud vs. On-Premises: What It All Means

Apr 20, 2021 9:00:00 AM

If you work in the business communications industry or have any sort of responsibility for your company’s contact center or customer experience, surely you’ve seen endless headlines talking about moving to the cloud, why on-premises solutions no longer serve us, and, more recently, why multi-cloud matters so much. 

I don’t have a degree in computer science, nor is my brain programmed like the highly technical engineers I have the pleasure of working alongside, but after two+ years at Edify, I’ve gained a solid understanding of the technology powering the contact center. If you’re an engineer or programmer, this blog might be a bit rudimentary. But if coding isn’t your thing, this overview might be just what you need to get a better understanding of why multi-cloud is a must.

So let me start with the basics…

What Cloud Really Means

Being “in the cloud” is essentially the act of renting servers -- which are basically giant computers -- instead of buying them. You can equate this to renting an apartment versus buying a house. When you buy a house, you typically need to put down a substantial downpayment. This is like being on-premises, where there’s a large upfront capital expenditure in order to buy massive computers and physically house them. When you rent an apartment however, you have very little upfront costs and are afforded the flexibility to change your mind and change locations whenever you want. This is like operating in the cloud. 

Technically, which is a fabulous newsletter for those of us who require more detailed explanations, says that, “Cloud has probably been the single biggest change in computing over the past 20 years… Cloud is transformative because you pay for how much you use, like by the hour, instead of buying expensive equipment up front.”

Cloud-based solutions are served up via the internet and typically only require the installation of an application or a web browser in order to access. But even though cloud-based options have been around for over a decade at this point, many organizations have been slow to adopt this technology and are instead still tethered to an expensive “house” (aka their on-premises software).

On-Prem is a Thing of The Past

on-premises to cloudWhen you hear of on-premises (more commonly referred to as on-prem), it literally means that a company is running a business communications solution by way of enormous physical computers housed in buildings, rather than coming from remote facilities or the cloud. It requires companies to purchase their own servers and racks, which is a HUGE expense. Companies with on-prem solutions require larger IT teams on staff, as they are responsible for daily operations, data security, upgrades, and maintenance. This is another unattractive and unnecessary expense. Here’s a table that makes it super easy to digest the pros and cons of cloud vs on-prem solutions:

Cloud vs OnPrem Chart

Why Multi-cloud Matters So Much

Every software company needs somewhere to “run it”.  Multi-cloud is the use of multiple cloud computing and storage services in a single network architecture. In a contact center or unified communications world, it means these solutions reside in more than one cloud environment.

Instead of trying to personally obtain enormous data centers all across the world to offer global availability, companies like Edify (that’s us) operate our cloud-native solution on AWS and Google simultaneously. We’ve been multi-cloud since our inception. By doing so, we enable brands to:

  • Only pay for what they use, eliminating big upfront investments and enabling scalability as they grow
  • Avoid costly, inflexible contracts
  • Easily maintain and upgrade their servers
  • Prevent downtime via a 100% uptime SLA (with a 10x money-back guarantee!)


Some vendors offer customers the option to choose which cloud vendor (Amazon, Google, Azure) will host their software. They label it “multi-cloud.” It’s not. (And this mis-marketing is the reason customer service continues to suck.) It’s simply offering customers a choice.

True multi-cloud means the software solution is architected to operate on multiple public clouds -- AWS, Google, etc. -- across multiple global data regions at the same time. Understanding the true meaning of multi-cloud is important because this kind of architecture gives your contact center the highest possible level of reliability, which is key for any business that wants to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Learn more about multi-cloud and its importance here. 

The Reliability Businesses Need

Edify Huddle is a Business Communications as a Service (BCaaS) solution. It’s Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) all in one. I know -- that’s a mouthful! Simply stated, we align your contact center, internal communications, and API needs in a single interface. Everything you need is in one place. So instead of having a bunch of different programs or platforms to manage, you just have one. One window. One tool to learn and use. That’s not all; it’s cloud-native, multi-cloud architected, and built with end-users in mind.

Gartner advised the simplicity of choosing a single cloud provider when they wrote, “It’s wise not to jump straight from on-premises to multivendor cloud deployments.” It’s messy and unnecessary. After all, who wants to manage a variety of vendors and piecemeal together a solution when you can work with just one company that gives you the whole package? That’s why we built Huddle as an all-in-one solution to service ALL of a company’s business communication needs. 

Our fully-baked, turn-key solution is ready to use “out of the box”. Built with a true multi-cloud architecture, contact centers that use Edify Huddle receive the highest possible level of reliability. Multi-cloud eliminates the reliance on any single cloud provider or instance. With no single point of failure, the risk of downtime to your mission-critical contact center is minimized. Real-time redundancy is another fail-safe, too. 

Downtime lets your customers down (and your wallet). Don’t let it happen.


Written by Edify

Learn more here.