Is on-premises still an option? Or do all workloads lead to the cloud?

Cloud is a huge step forward for IT infrastructure and application delivery, but on-premises still plays an important role for many business requirements.

It seems not a day goes by when we don’t hear the word cloud. Cloud technology has without a doubt revolutionised the way we run our entire business operations for the better. Does that mean private server and storage equipment will eventually be a thing of the past?

There are still numerous use cases where on-premises suits business needs better than a cloud service. When building a multi cloud strategy it may make sense to keep some workloads and applications hosted locally on your premises.

Use cases for on-premises

With cloud adoption in full swing, new services appearing daily from private providers, and public providers such as AWS and Azure, there are still use cases for on-premises that the cloud doesn’t yet satisfy. Here are a few to consider:

  • Remote locations: Unfortunately in Australia we still suffer the tyranny of long distances, where fast, business-grade networking services are not always available. It might be possible to use cloud services in remote locations, but in many cases it’s just not practical to wait hours for data to be sent to and from a cloud.
  • Application support: Many enterprise applications are not yet available as a cloud service, and on-prem still provides a way to control, for better or worse, the upgrade cycles of such applications.
  • Regulatory compliance: Some organisations aren’t permitted to store their data outside the country, or in some cases, jurisdictions. On-prem wins here, albeit by force.

Workloads go onto (and come off) the cloud

Given all the hype about cloud, it’s tempting to think it is a one way street away from on-premises IT. This is not always the case and many workloads do come off the cloud for various reasons:

  • Performance: The “best effort” performance of cloud services sometimes isn’t enough for highly demanding workloads.
  • Capacity: The cloud is good for scalability but expenses can easily get out of control. For example, earlier this year Dropbox announced it moved off the cloud to its own storage infrastructure to cut costs.
  • Flexibility: At the end of the day, if you have control over the infrastructure, you have the most flexibility with how it’s used. This might be another “for better or worse” scenario, but clouds are designed to serve millions, not individual organisations.

A final point worth considering is risk management. Does your organisation have a business continuity plan if a cloud service were to go offline? Is your data backed up off the cloud? These are questions on-premises still provides an answer to.

Read this article the high-profile AWS outage during 2016’s Sydney Storm and how it serves as a good reminder of the importance of managed services.

Posted on January 30, 2018 in News

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