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Recent studies show that enterprises waste one-third of their investments in cloud technologies. Don’t be one of them. Find out in this blog post if you need to invest in cloud, or on-premises will do before you burn a lot of money.
And the answer is, as always: it depends. Imagine that your responsibility is to find a tv show or a movie to watch. If you’re alone, maybe got an entire day to do nothing, you might go with a rewatch of The Godfather trilogy for 1 minute shy of 9 hours of entertainment. But a lighter type of fun is possible if you throw a watch party to binge the final episodes of season 4 of Stranger Things with friends.
Finding out if your business needs cloud is a similar problem. You’re probably not as dependent when it comes to uptime, or your clients require extreme levels of data protection due to business or legal obligations which is the usual case for specific industries. Or you need to upscale or downscale your environment to serve requests at ease. But you’re still using some type of hardware – same as watching a tv show or a movie is essentially the same activity.
The key difference between cloud and on-premises is that cloud is someone else’s hardware you access remotely to host your applications. At the same time, you access on-premises environments directly for the same purpose.
Cloud technology is one of the latest buzzwords that made their way into public discourse. When we mention cloud, we’re referring to 3rd party resources and services as part of your infrastructure, and not file storage services like Google Drive and Microsoft SharePoint.
Now that we got this out of our way, let’s see how you can decide if you need cloud or on-premises will do the job for you.
Purchasing on-premises hardware is a one-time purchase. You still have to maintain it, though. On the other hand, using cloud provider services will be constantly present in your budget for variable amounts. Without proper administration it’s very easy to overspend.
One thing we’ve experienced with clients is that once they buy their on-premises servers unaware of their needs, they have a tough time making the decision to migrate to cloud because they already bought the servers. It’s a tough spot because the damage is already done, they burned a lot of money on something that won’t serve their needs. It can only be corrected by spending on cloud adoption because business needs set the requirements and not vice versa.
So before making the purchase, always make sure either cloud or on-premises serves your goals the best. Defining your needs will determine quantifiable requirements, as well, for example how many data centers you’ll need.
Cloud services are significant enablers of flexibility. That flexibility comes with its cons, though. While you can access your data remote, you’re dependent on internet access. Without it you won’t be able to work with data stored on the cloud.
Flexibility comes with fluid budget, too. There are different aspects, such as storage size, data snapshot frequency, and so on. Using these services, the fees can add up quickly, so be mindful about what you need and plan accordingly. This aspect still can’t be a reason to avoid cloud technology.
You need to consider if your business needs any level of flexibility. For example, with an on-premises server you have total control over your backups, and you can exclude 3rd party access to it. It can be crucial when you need to prioritize data security over guarantee of uptime.
Your operation is the baseline of your business needs. On-premises environments are mostly useful for small or mid-sized teams that need instant access to local data centers. For international and remote teams on-premises data centers likely aren’t ideal because cloud environments provide broader accessibility.
This ability brings another aspect to the question of availability. Cloud is a budget-friendly alternative to on-premises because your on-site staff doesn’t have to be always present to prevent outages. Instead, responsibility of maintaining availability shifts from you as an employer to the cloud service provider.
This issue of availability includes scalability, as well. Based on your users’ activity, you can predict whether on-premises servers can handle incoming requests, or you need a more dynamic scaling. This way your servers won’t turn underutilized, while you still can provide fast services during usage peaks. Be mindful, usage periods can fluctuate from daily to yearly patterns.
But on the other hand, when uptime isn’t as important to your business, you can cut your costs by picking on-premises over cloud services. This way you don’t pay for the availability of staff working on the provider’s end.
It’s very possible that your needs are more complex than what solely on-premises or cloud provides. For this reason, you can combine them to reach flexibility and scalability in some areas and maintain data security by storing them on-premises.
This is useful for organizations operating in highly regulated industries. Where regulations specify where and how certain data needs to be stored.
Less specific use cases can be covered by hybrid infrastructures. With them, you can run redundant workloads, which is useful to reduce downtime and create continuous backups without taking recovery snapshots.
Another example is local hosting of your CI – continuous integration. Hosting development, testing and staging environments on-prem makes your CI resistant to internet outages. Or you can use it the other way around: store on cloud to have a highly available development environment for international teams. In the meantime, you have your production environment on-premises to adhere to data security regulations or other customer needs.
We recommend hybrid environments for organizations that have the resources to configure and maintain this type of infrastructure.
Choosing cloud or on-premises is not an easy decision but it’s crucial for your business. It takes a lot of effort to understand what and how you need to provide for your users and planning based on them accordingly.
We saw businesses struggling with their current environment. We completely understand how painful it is to spend more money to solve a problem that was caused by wasting a lot of investment. Don’t make the mistake, be aware of your business needs.
This blogpost was written by the team of dyrector.io. dyrector.io is an open-source continuous delivery & deployment platform with version management.
Find the project on GitHub.