The Continuing Need for Compute, Storage and Virtualization
cStor recently helped a large client who was working on their approval to operate in AWS. The client had a fairly massive on-premise virtualized environment in place, so they needed help figuring out what goes where. They didn’t want to put it all on the cloud right away, nor did they want it all on-prem forever.
This is a common challenge for our enterprise and public sector clients: how do they best utilize the cloud as an extension of their current environment? They are left struggling with:
- Exponential growth in the number of systems under management.
- Extensive on-prem applications, processes and procedures, all with ties between them.
Many might think the answer is to move it all to the cloud; however, doing so can be expensive and complicated. Often organizations attempt it and quickly find the cloud not as useful as they thought once size, performance and networking issues arise.
According to a recent IDG survey, more than half of applications currently running in the cloud were existing ones migrated from on-prem infrastructure. Of those same organizations surveyed, 27% have already repatriated some of their apps and workloads, moving them from the cloud back to on-prem models. This demonstrates the importance of determining what is most beneficial to stay on-premise and what is best suited for the cloud.
Many things don’t need to move to the cloud by their nature. Instead, some clients are opting to focus on enterprise infrastructure, compute, storage and virtualization at scale. For these clients, shifting to a more simplified on-prem model through a combination of converged and hyper-converged systems can be more beneficial.
Continuation of Existing Processes
By leveraging converged and hyper-converged systems, some of the complexities previously associated with on-prem infrastructures are abstracted. With both systems, clients are able to scale different pieces as they are needed. Leveraging this type of virtualization is a proven process and doesn’t require rebuilding and rearchitecting the existing solutions.
While there is a cost to reducing the complexity and less scale with on-prem vs cloud, many of our clients haven’t seen a need for a large burst in scale. Do you anticipate a rapid burst in scale? Do you have the skillset for someone to rebuild it and manage it? If the cost-benefit and skillset required to rebuild your system aren’t there, the decision on moving to the cloud becomes clear.
On-prem compute, storage and virtualization options offer a more predictable cost. For operations managers at these large organizations, the budgeting side of cloud infrastructures can be frightening when unexpected cost increases occur. For example, non-critical legacy applications that continuously run up compute or high-performance storage charges can be particularly bad choices for cloud migration. On-prem provides more financial stability. As a capital expenditure, the price can be set for three to five years. Additionally, compute, storage and virtualization all provide an easy path to expansion, letting clients plan out their growth and expand as their budget or needs see fit.
Cloud has many advantages for security, especially for small companies. However, most on-prem organizations have previously established security protocols, which would require extra layers of approval during the setup of new cloud systems. With the wealth of both on-prem and cloud security systems available today, both environments can be equally secure.
For developers, the cloud provides a much easier and faster environment for build-out. Modern development toolkits are already in place in the cloud, whereas clients need the skillsets for on-prem. However, most large enterprises already have these resources in place.
Rapid development also afforded by the cloud is highly beneficial as well, but not all the tools on-prem developers use are yet available in the cloud. To bridge the gap, many hyper-converged providers now allow clients to spin things out on-prem now. (Check with your specific provider for availability.)
The idea that the cloud is easier is not necessarily true. Both cloud and on-prem have their challenges and benefits, they just look a little different based on each client’s specific environment.
The choice for what to move to the cloud and what to keep on-prem really comes down to cost, your resources and your goals. What existing systems, apps and workloads are you currently running? What are the performance characteristics, availability and cost associated with each of these? Do you have space? Do you trust your data center? Do you have adequate power? What is your staffing situation? What cost and time are required to acquire the necessary skillsets?
An expert partner can help you assess your specific environment and develop a plan to determine what is best to move to the cloud and what is best to keep on-prem for now. With decades of expertise guiding clients through their specific journey to the cloud, cStor’s people, processes and technology can help you with an optimized plan to achieve your goals – both in the short-term and long run.