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Cloud vs. On-Premises: The Debate Rages On

You think the 2016 presidential debates were contentious? Try sitting between a couple of IT guys debating whether they’re better off keeping their apps and data on-premises or stored in the cloud. When it comes to the topic of cloud vs. on-premises, things can get heated and ugly. I’d recommend wearing a helmet.

Actually, there are cost, security and operational benefits to consider for each approach. Every organization is different. Think of your company and what makes it unique. What do your day-to-day business operations look like? How much data are you managing? How fast is that data store growing? What’s your relative security posture and overall risk status? Your answers may be similar to other alike businesses, but ultimately they are uniquely yours. So do the smart thing and keep listening, keep researching, consult the experts, and formulate your own plan.

Defining the Cloud

The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) produced an informative PDF defining cloud computing. It starts off with definitions of on-premises, hosted offerings and cloud storage, further breaking down what it defines as characteristics of a true cloud offering:

  • On-demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured service

Further, it describes the service models and types of cloud deployments including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Finally, it defines the four deployment models, including Private cloud, Community cloud, Public cloud, and Hybrid cloud. (To review the document in its entirety, please visit the NIST website.)

Which to Choose?

There’s no shortage of resources—and opinions—if you’re in the planning stages of considering your move to the cloud. Cost, security, and controlling access often top the list of concerns when deciding on the balance between cloud storage and on-premises.

A post from states, “Cloud adoption is ticking upward at an ever-increasing rate, and businesses are taking advantage of the benefits that storing data and applications in off-premises environments can provide. In fact, according to recent research from Aberdeen Group, 70 percent of U.S. companies have invested in private cloud solutions, MSPMentor reported. In addition, RightScale’s State of the Cloud 2015 report found that 82 percent of businesses have a hybrid cloud strategy. However, there are some companies that still prefer to deploy their software solutions on-premises as opposed to the cloud. Both approaches offer their own unique advantages, but it may not be easy to distinguish which would be the best for certain types of organizations without the proper consideration.”

You can find several informed opinions if you’re still uncertain. For instance, TechMentor Orlando presenter J. Peter Bruzzese writes, “The debate between operating expense (aka opex, the cloud's approach) and capital expense (aka capex, the on-premises approach) is waged daily at companies. Although there are trade-offs no matter what a firm chooses, it's clear that opex is increasingly favored.”

Clearly the world is moving in that direction. You may be as well, but you have a handful of decisions to make first. These resources can help, but ultimately your situation and your needs are indeed unique.

Posted by Lafe Low on 11/03/2016 at 1:30 PM


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