Is On-Premises Infrastructure Obsolete?
by Joe Michalowski on

Have you ever had the feeling of Silicon Valley envy? Think of a company like Airbnb experiencing exponential growth by making the most of AWS cloud computing. It would be nice if we could all just leave our legacy-laden on-premises data centers behind and go all-in on the cloud.

Traditional businesses are moving more and more workloads to the cloud, but there’s one important distinction to keep in mind when comparing yourself to companies that have avoided on-premises infrastructure.

You’re merely adopting the cloud—these new companies were born in it. We want to think on-premises is obsolete, but it’s not going anywhere.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison once said that the “coexistence of cloud and on-premises computing is going to be a decades-long process, if not forever.” So if we’re stuck with on-premises, how do we decide how best to use that on-premises infrastructure?

Here are 5 reasons why certain applications and data will keep on-premises infrastructure relevant for years to come.

1. Compliance Keeping You Out of the Cloud

If you’re in government, financial services, healthcare or any other heavily regulated industry, you know that compliance is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to cloud migration.

Understanding exactly how cloud providers plan to store data is critical if you’re in one of these regulated industries. Sometimes, you won’t be able to work past the legal requirements to move certain workloads to the cloud. It will just be easier to keep them on-premises until we get to a point where cloud providers can handle even the strictest compliance demands.

2. Security Is the Cousin of Compliance Concerns

Data security should probably fall into the category of compliance, but it’s a big enough problem that it stands alone. When you migrate data and workloads to the cloud, you lose a certain amount of the control you’ve always had with on-premises infrastructure.

Even if you aren’t in a heavily regulated industry, one minor cloud data breach could result in punishing losses for your business. With mission-critical applications and data, some companies can’t take the risk, and choose to stay on-premises.

3. Moving to the Cloud Might Not Be Worth the Effort

We like to think of the cloud as the holy grail for IT infrastructure cost efficiency, scalability and flexibility. However, not every migration case is simple.

When you’re dealing with massive legacy mainframe workloads, a cloud migration means lifting and shifting a web of interdependent applications and data. This is often more work than it’s worth (both technically and financially). Just think of what it would take to migrate the entire scope of services coupled with things like access control, authentication and security

4. The Reliability of On-Premises Often Can’t be Beat

When you migrate applications to the cloud, you accept the potential for performance delays and do everything you can to avoid them. But there are cases where any latency is 100% unacceptable.

For mission-critical applications that need continuous end-user access and can’t afford cloud unpredictability, on-premises remains ideal.

5. Finding Traces of Your Data

It’s not uncommon for IT pros to have trouble accessing log files and other information once it moves to a cloud provider. Pinpointing the location of specific files in public cloud storage isn’t always easy.

Maintaining data traceability is possible in the cloud with the right tools, but you might be better off avoiding the headaches altogether and just staying on-premises.

When you run into any of these cloud migration “showstoppers,” staying on-premises makes the most sense. This is why it seems we’ll always be dealing with a mix of cloud infrastructure and on-premises workloads.

Filed Under: cloud computing, Performance Monitoring

Tags: hybrid cloud , legacy IT , on premises applications