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What’s the right choice – On Premise or Private Cloud or Public Cloud or Hybrid Cloud?

Posted by: Sanjeev Sharma On September 04, 2018 10:55 AM facebook linked in twitter

Opt for a Private Cloud or A Public Cloud or continue with On-premise or go for a Hybrid Cloud Solution? Nowadays it’s one of the hard hitting dilemma for organizations who are reaching the end of life phase of their existing on premise IT Infrastructure or for the organizations who have already taken some initial steps towards their Digital Transformation journey. Organization IT heads/CTO’s are constantly in look out for all sorts of information available in various forms whenever it comes to making the right choice between the various Infrastructure hosting solutions available for hosting their ERP and non ERP Applications, especially when it comes to making choice between their existing on premise data centres and on cloud hosting solutions. Organizations are often looking for a solution which encompasses the best of both worlds where they are able to continue using their existing on premise infrastructure as well as reap benefits of public cloud offerings.

The digital transformation of an IT landscape is not a small feat, there are hundreds of applications involved which may have been built at different time intervals, using different programing languages and by different teams which needs to be evaluated for migration to the cloud platform. It may involve a detailed assessment exercise to be carried out by Technical and/or Solution architects with deep knowledge of the existing IT infrastructure. They may also need to assess few among the multiple public cloud resources that could replace some of the functionalities which are not compatible with the targeted cloud platform.

The outcome of these assessment exercises helps the organizations to determine the hosting solution that best suits their IT Budget and ERP Application requirements be it on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, or hybrid architecture. They also need to revisit their migration plans including the targeted mix of on premise and cloud infrastructure to meet their business goals and to finalize their migration path in the most cost-effective way.

Some of the basic considerations and cloud comparisons including the cloud best practices for integrating and managing these complex deployments have been drawn below.

On-Premise Servers

Even though cloud-based infrastructure offers many next-gen technical advantages, still there would be some applications that would see little or no benefits in terms of cost and performance by migrating to the cloud platform. This would be true especially in case of organizations that have already invested heavily towards their on premise infrastructure including the high-performance databases which have been specially configured to support their applications.

Below are some of the cases where on-premises infrastructure might work best

  • The lower cloud storage costs and on demand compute resources do not outweigh the significant capital investments made by your organization for the on premise infrastructure
  • Your Data security, data privacy and lower latency requirements are already met by your existing Infrastructure, for e.g. large size media content produced by multimedia organizations that needs frequent low-latency access for editing purposes
  • Your application HA and DR requirements are already met by your existing infrastructure
  • Application platforms that generate high-volume, time-sensitive, and confidential data. For example, large trading houses dealing with large volumes of confidential and time-sensitive data every day.

Organizations with on premise data centres meeting the above requirements may opt to continue with these data centres until the infrastructure hosted out of these Data Centres have reached to end of life stage or till it’s no more financially viable to continue with such on premise Data Centres.

Private Cloud

As name suggests a private cloud is a cloud infrastructure fully owned, managed and operated by the organization or by a third party vendor or both but exclusively meant for the organization usage. Even though public clouds offer multiple advantages in terms of lower TCO, ease of scalability, accessibility and reliability, but still many organizations shy away from deploying 100% of their applications onto public cloud.

Private cloud environments is becoming a popular choice among large and mid-size enterprises due to the fact that it offers greater configurability support for any application and even support those legacy applications which cannot be migrated to Public Cloud platform due to compatibility or performance related issues.

Opting for a Private Cloud would make sense for organizations

  • That Demand strict security, regulatory, data privacy and lower latency levels
  • Which are highly regulated, governed by data residency laws and need data hosted privately and securely
  • Who need high-performance access to a filesystem such as organizations from Media and Entertainment Industry producing large size video contents
  • That deals with applications with predictable usage patterns and demanding low storage costs.
  • That are financially strong and ready to make larger investments that go into running a next-gen cloud data centre.
  • That are using applications which are infrequently used and not worth the effort to migrate them to public cloud.
  • That demand greater infrastructure and application adaptability, configurability, and flexibility
  • That need cloud platform for hosting business critical applications and data

Public Cloud

Cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Cloud Services and Google Cloud are the big players in the Public Cloud domain. Most of the organizations now days understands the services offered by these Public clouds like IaaS, PaaS and SaaS including lower and predictable cost of ownership that is being offered by these big players. This helps organizations to significantly reduce their upfront costs, its ongoing costs of IT infrastructure, human resources and potentially its tax liability.

The large organizations and SME’s can leverage this cloud model, even though the infrastructure is owned by the company providing the cloud services. There are numerous technical benefits offered by these CSP’s like scalability, automated deployments, greater reliability and accessibility to name a few.

The Public Cloud is well suited for the following

  • Cost optimised hosting solutions with lower TCO in the long run
  • Long Term Data storage including Tape Storage
  • Data Archival Solutions
  • Application Hosting platform
  • Mission critical or latency intolerant web tiers
  • On demand hosting for microsites and applications for marketing and ad campaigns
  • Auto-scaling environment for large applications
  • Testing environments due to easy spin up and down of instances for load testing

Organizations can manage their public cloud infrastructure by themselves or may outsource it to a managed cloud services provider. Also the compliance requirements no longer necessitate a private cloud solution rather than a public cloud solution.

Hybrid Cloud

A Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.

A growing number of organizations especially large enterprises are now days opting for Hybrid Cloud architecture to explore the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud while performing digital transformation of their existing on-prim enterprise solutions.

Usually large and medium organizations Enterprise architecture is quite complex which makes the cloud migration a difficult task. Such organizations choose to test the public cloud by hosting their non-critical or non-productive landscape on public cloud while maintaining key infrastructure on their private cloud or on premise infrastructure.

A hybrid architecture would be a good fit for organizations which are hesitant to move to public cloud due to obvious reason related to data privacy and data residency laws. It is always an easier option to experiment with next-gen technologies and cloud solutions rather than taking the big leap. This helps organizations to continue with their existing on premise infrastructure while exploring the new business avenues in cloud in a cost effect way while managing the institutional risk.

Hybrid Cloud architecture allows organizations to manage their IT Applications in the most efficient cloud format possible, however along with its benefits, Hybrid Cloud also bring in its own set of challenges to manage multiple security platforms and aspects and also ensure that all the cloud platforms involved can communicate seamlessly with each other. Also regular network and infrastructure performance monitoring, testing, data ingress and egress procedures will help to understand on how to further evolve the application.

The Hybrid Cloud is best suited for the following

  • Large and medium organizations looking for flexibility, scalability as offered by the public cloud and Data privacy and Data Security advantages of on premise Data Centre.
  • Organizations looking at lowering their TCO in longer run and diverting those funds towards other business critical requirements.
  • Organizations offerings services for vertical markets where the interactive transactional data can be hosted in the Public Cloud while companies and customer’s sensitive data can be hosted in the Private Cloud.
  • Organizations demanding greater operational flexibility and scalability can keep their mission critical data on the Private Cloud while utilizing PaaS of Public cloud for application development and testing requirements.

Conclusively with today’s ever growing business demands and complex business requirements in conjunction with constantly changing technology paradigms, organizations needs to regularly revisit their IT infrastructure, whether on premise, Private or Public cloud or Hybrid architecture, to ensure that their IT Infrastructure delivers on its promise. With different security, management and operational demands for each of these Infrastructure models, organizations need to ensure that they select their options wisely so that they can adopt the best suited next-gen technologies while improving their business agility by leveraging their IT resources in the most optimal manner. In such case what would be your choice?

About Author

Sanjeev Sharma is currently working as Principal Solutions Architect and associated with EBS ERP on Cloud practice. He have more than two decades of experience studded with professional brilliance predominantly in the areas of end-to-end technical delivery, project management, designing and delivering IT solutions across a wide breadth of technologies, ranging from Cloud and Digital to enterprise application architecture, collaboration and security within SAP. Before joining Tech Mahindra in Feb’2018 Sanjeev have been associated with consulting organizations like Accenture India, CapGemini India and Tata Technologies India Ltd.

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