How does a cloud computing environment compare to an on-premises computing environment? Are the benefits of cloud computing overstated? Isn’t the cloud just someone else’s data center?
What topics should CIOs think about when deciding whether or not to adopt more cloud computing services for their organization?
In addition to hardware, network, and a building, cloud service providers offer a rich set of software features for:
- Manage your cloud computing environment
- Operate your applications
- Improve the functionality of custom applications
The advantages of all of these software include:
- High reliability and predictability of the IT environment
- Rapid application development and deployment
- Harness the value of software developed by multiple global communities
Why doesn’t the on-premises IT environment offer the same functionality? The size, variety, and sophistication of the AWS, Azure, and Google data centers and software offerings are fantastic. We have reached the point where no organization can operate even a subset of this software, because the development and support costs would be astronomical. CIOs who plan to run their own on-premises IT environment should quickly give up the idea and register with a cloud service provider.
Cloud computing environment is touted as a cheaper solution compared to on-premise computing environment. This statement is based on:
- The prices of the various services published by the cloud service providers
- Cloud service provider pay-as-you-go model avoids initial capital and ongoing operating costs for an on-premises IT environment
- The pay-as-you-go billing model means that you only pay for the computing resources that you have consumed. In contrast, for an on-premises computing environment, you pay for what you buy whether or not you use it.
Why doesn’t the on-premises IT environment cost the same as what cloud service providers charge? The main reasons include:
- The lack of scale inherent in an on-premises IT environment for a single organization
- The inability to spread the cost of expensive specialist personnel among many clients
Although the prices of cloud service providers are attractive, many organizations experience a significant increase in resources consumed after migrating to the cloud. This jump is caused by the ease of access to IT resources, resulting in a total cost that is often no different from the previous cost to the on-premises IT environment.
CIOs quickly learn to curb management’s hopes that cloud migration will reduce IT costs.
The cloud computing environment is more secure than the on-premises computing environment.
Why can’t the on-premises IT environment operate with the same level of security? The huge scale of cloud service providers allows them to manage security holistically even as the threat level increases. No organization with an on-premises IT environment can match this capability due to the costs of personnel and software required.
The added security of the cloud environment provides convenience to CIOs who are concerned about security breaches in their on-premises environment.
Custom software development
The cloud computing environment offers software development teams:
- Immediate ability to launch and delete as many development environments as needed
- Instant access to a rich range of software modules for integration into custom cloud applications
Why doesn’t the on-premises IT environment offer the same capacity? The on-premises IT environment can implement:
- The tools you need to launch and delete development environments
- The same software modules
However, it is difficult for the on-premises IT environment to:
- Leverage the large number of physical servers that underpin potential development environments
- Track the installation of patches and new versions for all software modules
The advantage is that the cloud computing environment allows rapid development and deployment of applications. This leads to a competitive advantage that CIOs can brag about in management circles.
The scale of the cloud computing environment can drive innovation, especially for organizations that have already made significant strides in their digital transformation.
Can’t the on-premise IT environment allow the same level of innovation? May be. However, innovation requirements typically include:
- Lots of computing power
- Large data storage
- A wide range of software
- A substantial effort to integrate the system
As previously described, these components require a significant investment for an on-premises computing environment. On the other hand, all cloud service providers have made the necessary investments to make these features of their cloud computing environments attractive and easily accessible to their customers.
CIOs are leveraging the cloud to meet the demand for more innovation.
The cloud computing environment is powerful and complex. This complexity can lead to configuration management issues. Cloud service providers hide complexity or at least simplify it with their powerful management consoles.
Can’t the on-premises IT environment perform as well due to its lower complexity? Yes. The cloud does not offer a hardware advantage over a well-managed on-premises computing environment.
The availability of the cloud computing environment is incredibly high.
Why can’t the on-premises IT environment achieve the same availability? The huge size of cloud service providers allows them to focus on high availability and cover the associated costs in a cost-effective manner. No one with an on-premises IT environment can compete with this capability because of the capital and personnel required.
Most CIOs are beaten for occasional high availability failures in our 24/7 world. Migrating cloud service providers to high availability removes a big headache.
The cloud computing environment provides instant capacity scaling.
Why can’t the on-premises IT environment achieve the same scalability? Many organizations could achieve instant scale. Unfortunately, many organizations torture the CIO through a business case and many procurement scams before a large-scale investment is approved. In addition, useful capacity planning is expensive, complex, and always subject to a large error term.
Because of these issues, CIOs raise their hands, register with a cloud service provider, and scaling becomes an issue.
The cloud computing environment allows for quick and easy provisioning.
Why can’t the on-premises IT environment perform the same provisioning? To improve provisioning, many organizations face the following challenges:
- Build new data centers or expand existing data centers
- Reconfiguration and extension of existing networks
- Not having the staff to do this work
Because quick and easy provisioning is valuable for the agility that many organizations seek, CIOs outsource provisioning to a cloud service provider.
For more ideas to complement your cloud strategy, please read Accelerate Your Digital Strategy by Finding the Right Partner.