Last year, an interesting headline appeared on Forbes.com: On-premise is dead. Long live on-premise. The author explained that although public cloud is pervasive, on-prem is certainly not dead. Pundits who declared on-prem computing dead and buried several years ago started to backtrack in 2018.
Industry analysts seem to agree. Now it looks like even public cloud vendors recognise the market is not satisfied with only public cloud; therefore, they are pursuing on-prem opportunities. With the announcement of AWS Outposts, AWS made the tacit admission that not everything is moving to the public cloud.
Choosing a cloud experience along a continuum of options
Yet, is embracing these same two options a flawed view moving forward? Historically, technology limited organisations to a binary choice: Go to the public cloud or stay on premises. In the future, businesses large and small will have a broad continuum of options of locations and consumption models. And the lines separating all of those options will blur as IT embraces the cloud experience.
As organisations evaluate their best deployment and consumption options, they are finding that cloud is no longer a destination. Instead, it is new way of doing business that focuses on speed, scalability, simplicity, and economics. This type of business model allows IT to distribute data and apps across a broad continuum of options. In the past, IT routinely optimised infrastructure to positively impact applications. In the future, IT will manage applications to deliver the best experience wherever the infrastructure is located.
Start with data and applications and then choose options
Data and applications should be placed where each performs best – amidst changing requirements of service delivery, operational simplicity, guaranteed security, and optimisation of costs. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation dramatically changed how many global businesses secure customer data, which often leads to changes in deployments of certain applications. And since change is constant, IT will need to be agile when choosing deployment options.
Smart organisations will deploy applications and data on the continuum — between the two ends of the public cloud and on-prem spectrum. Some organisations may choose colocation (colo) because it provides the infrastructure and security of a dedicated data center without the costs of maintaining a facility. Other workloads are best served in a private cloud using traditional on-prem with consumption-based pricing, which could save the business from an unplanned capital expenditure. Another application may demand high security and control, yet flexibility and scalability, which would make on-prem private cloud the best alternative.
Clearly, having choices provides the opportunity to select the best deployment and consumption model for each individual application. And as needs change, deployment and consumption models will also change. The beauty of having numerous choices is that it gives organisations more flexibility to manage costs, security, and technical needs.
Complexity requires expertise and a trusted advisor
Keep in mind that more choices can mean more complexity. In addition, the lines between all of these options are blurring, which can confuse things further. For example, certain models give customers the flexibility to pay for what they use but still manage the infrastructure themselves, which fits neither the traditional on-prem nor the public cloud model.
It’s often difficult for an organisation to develop a new mindset, one that adapts to IT changes quickly. Too many times, they are constrained by legacy thinking, infrastructure, and tools. Better training and tools from industry experts can solve these issues.
To adjust to this often complex yet agile environment, many business will need help and should seek out knowledgeable partners that provide the richness of options along the continuum. A successful organisation will need both professional services and tools to help support as many options as possible.
A continuum of choices opens the door to new opportunities
It’s time to stop limiting choices to only on-prem versus public cloud. Instead, consider all the options available for new opportunities and long-term success. Compliance, cost, performance, control, complexity of migration – all of these factors will determine the right mix for deployment of data and applications. To help with this determination, businesses should seek help from partners who can give them expertise in as many choices as possible.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.