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How to decide between cloud, on-premise and As-a-Service

Noam Shendar, COO, Zadara Storage | April 12, 2017
Use these tips to weigh the options.

A variable business demands flexibility.  For example, if one location is planned for a cloud rollout first, or one business unit experiences dramatic seasonal variability, a cloud architecture makes it easy for IT teams to move in an agile fashion with the ebb and flow of today’s dynamic business models. This is particularly true when the business itself is a software-as-a-service offering with its inherent variability.

You want an “aw, crap!” button.  The DevOps philosophy of rapid rollout then continuous iteration is permeating more than just test and dev teams.  That said, sometimes a major correction quickly becomes evident.  Cloud-enabled architectures are far more malleable and enable IT organizations to morph the deployment at will, providing a safety measure.

It’s time for radical change.  In addition to the well-publicized cost and agility advantages of the cloud, changing from on-premise to cloud infrastructures has wide-reaching impact on networks, bandwidth, real estate and more.  The cloud’s agility and breadth of on-demand services enable teams to make more changes with less effort and over a shorter period of time.


Choose traditional CapEx purchases when:

There’s a Use-It-Or-Lose-It budget situation. If you simply can’t get funding any other way than a CapEx appropriation – the choice is made. Market research by IDC, 451 Research and others confirms this approach is steadily waning.


Choose As-a-Service options when:

The organization values agility. In late 2016 IDC FutureScape predicted that 80% of enterprise IT offerings would be sourced on a pay as you consume, OpEx model.  The guidance was prescient given that by the fall 2016, at least seven major vendors had debuted On Premise, As a Service options, reiterating that it is a fundamental shift in how enterprise IT is delivered.  Following the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) - from $0 in2006 to almost $8 billion business ten years later, and the dominant force among hyperscale cloud providers with nearly 3x larger than its next largest competitor, the OpEx solutions concept has spread through networking, security and storage sectors.   As vendors watch customer adoption, industry analysts have predicted additional OpEx-solution shifts.  

IT resources are limited.  As-a-service offerings put the vendor in charge of operation, maintenance and upgrades.  It’s easy scaling up – and equally importantly, scaling down – and letting those who know the most about the product hassle with the mundane details.  This frees IT teams to focus on their core deliverables that accelerate the business and avoids being stuck with the wrong equipment, and wasting time on low-value, high-effort tasks.  It allows them to respond to business demands promptly, with a right-sized architecture. Doing this can allow IT teams to effectively deliver infrastructure for a new application without delay and without having to free up purchasing budgets for it.


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