On-Premises or Cloud: Is It All or Nothing?

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The sensation of the public cloud involves the winning trifecta of access, simplicity, and cost. Without the need to develop a costly infrastructure, the idea of hosting elsewhere, and letting somebody else put it all together while only paying for the service holds great appeal. The public cloud takes all of that worry from the enterprise and says, “Hey I got this.”

The problem begins with the idea that moving to the cloud should be an all or nothing approach. Some businesses falsely believe that once you’ve moved to the public cloud, there is no need for an on-premises solution. While it may be possible for some particular kinds of businesses to go 100% cloud, the vast majority would do well in a hybrid environment where, based on corporate requirements, applications can reside either in a public or private cloud.

The problem continues with the notion that for reasons of privacy and security, businesses should avoid the cloud entirely. Keeping everything in an on-premises data center to maintain control is not only a costly proposition, but firms that do so are missing many of the great benefits of the cloud such as scalability, flexibility, and disaster recovery. Moreover, the need for physical space and powering/cooling elements drive up expenses as well.

The solution to both problems is to approach the public cloud and private cloud simultaneously with a hybrid model that utilizes any on-premises infrastructure as a supportive foundation from which to operate and uses the public cloud to add more performance features when needed. The integration creates a best of both worlds scenario. The private cloud offers the security, and personal management desired while the public cloud offers agility, flexibility and a backup plan that can keep applications running in the case of a disaster.

The strategy an enterprise chooses when integrating their private cloud with the public cloud should take into consideration:

  • The current IT set-up and all of its applications as well as servers being used virtually and physically to determine the ability for strong cloud integration
  • Tightly monitoring and optimizing the on-premises infrastructure by eliminating any virtual machine sprawl and orphaned systems to strengthen virtualization management
  • Creating a blueprint of the business needs—current and future—and understanding what services work well in the cloud (or don’t) to map out all processes for efficient deployment even when new technologies emerge

What approach a company takes should be bolstered by the knowledge of what the business needs are and planned out within that context. Keep in mind, there is a high cost to an all on-premises solution, and there can be considerable complexity to properly deploying a hybrid solution. Ultimately, the combination achieves benefits with speed, reliability, and cost savings and the leading IT groups are leveraging both types of clouds to achieve greater results in the enterprise. Using the considerations listed above and a reliable hosted service provider, the transition to the hybrid model can be seamless. 

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Darlene Jackson is a published writer with many years of experience in digital publishing, advertising, and public relations. Her diverse assignments include stints with Chicago Public Media, The Chicago Tribune, and various print and online media and communication outlets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree at Northwestern University.

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