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Cloud vs. On-Premises: Which Is Best for Your Applications and Data?

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

According to the Flexera State of the Cloud Report 2023, small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) have 67 percent of their workloads and 63 percent of their data in the public cloud. They plan to move an additional 4 percent of workloads and data to the cloud in the next 12 months.

A number of factors continue to drive cloud adoption. Smaller organizations typically don’t have the personnel, expertise and budget to build, maintain and update an on-premises data center. The cloud provides you with access to the resources and services you need without the upfront investment or ongoing management responsibilities. Users can then access cloud-based tools from virtually any location.

In addition to cost-efficiency and flexibility, the cloud provides organizations with almost infinite scalability. Need more storage capacity? Need to add users? With the cloud you can add or remove resources based on current business requirements and pay as you go for what you need.

Some Workloads Stay On-Prem

That doesn’t mean you can or should move all workloads, applications and data to the cloud. As the Flexera data indicates, SMEs still have 29 percent of their workloads and 33 percent of their data on-premises.

An on-premises data center offers a number of advantages. First and foremost, you have complete control over your applications and data. You don’t have to rely on an outside cloud provider to protect your data, meet performance requirements, or provide reliable, uninterrupted service. You also don’t have to worry about being unable to access critical IT resources because of a WAN outage or the cloud provider’s technical issues. In some cases, compliance rules might require you to keep your data onsite.

Very often, the best approach is a hybrid solution that combines the cloud and an on-premises data center. For example, you might choose to keep sensitive data and mission-critical applications in your on-premises data center and use the cloud for other workloads. The cloud can also provide additional capacity or serve as failover for business continuity.

Benefits of Hybrid IT

In fact, 72 percent of organizations have adopted a hybrid IT environment, according to the Flexera report. It allows organizations to gain the financial benefits of the cloud along with the security and privacy afforded by on-premises IT resources. The key to getting the most value from your hybrid IT investment is knowing which workloads to run where.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best location for your applications and data. It starts with costs. You shouldn’t assume that the cloud is always the more cost-effective alternative. Some enterprise applications have complex licensing schemes that can be more expensive in the cloud. Additionally, if you have on-premises equipment that was recently upgraded, you’ll want to capture the value of that hardware before moving to the cloud.

If you move data subject to privacy regulations, you need to make sure the cloud provider can meet and validate those requirements. Scalability should also be considered. In other words, will your data center be able to support additional capacity and users as your organization grows?

Start Slow

Managing a hybrid IT environment tends to be easier if you start with smaller projects and a handful of workloads. This will enable you to identify roles and responsibilities, train staff if necessary, migrate security policies to cloud environments and implement a sound disaster recovery strategy. As you see success you’ll gain the confidence to proceed to larger-scale deployments.

If you need help developing and implementing a hybrid IT strategy with minimal risk, give IronLogix a call. Let us help you determine where workloads should run, optimize performance and costs, and simplify the management of your hybrid IT environment.

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