On-premises vs cloud vs hybrid: The right choice

As the world moves forward, we’re seeing more of a reliance on cloud-based infrastructure in organisations. Opportunities for remote working are becoming more commonplace and organisations are moving away from traditional physical on-premises systems because of the flexibility that the cloud offers them.

However, we know that it can become a complicated decision to make as there might be benefits to adopting a hybrid model which still relies on the use of some on-prem solutions.

Benefits of cloud vs on premises

There are several features of both cloud and on-premises that makes the benefits of cloud vs on premises more evident. However, before we delve into them, we need to define what on-premises and cloud computing mean, alongside how a private cloud and public cloud might affect your choices.

Let’s break it down.

What is on-premises?

On-premises or on-prem refers to a server located in a physical location, such as servers in the customers office or a data centre. This means that each server and end user need a licence to use software and the responsibility of keeping software secure and up to date is reliant on the organisation.

In essence, the organisation has full control of it which means the organisation will need to have a knowledgeable in-house IT team to support them with maintaining it. This also means that you’ll have to continue to invest in hardware as your organisation scales and changes overtime as well as developing your team of experts.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing refers to a server located in a secure area of the internet, in place of a physical server. Essentially, cloud based systems involve the process of storing and accessing programmes, applications, and data through the internet. Cloud infrastructure is an attractive prospect for many organisations due to the flexibility it allows for scaling. As the onus is on the third party provider, the responsibility of security and upgrading lies with them so that you can consume as much as you want, when you want.

What is public cloud?

Public cloud refers to sharing the same hardware, network and storage devices with other organisations – for example, applications like Microsoft Azure, OneDrive and Microsoft 365 are public cloud solutions. Public cloud benefits generally include lower costs, low/no maintenance, unlimited scalability and reliability.

What is private cloud?

Private cloud refers to a cloud infrastructure model that is dedicated to a specific user. Although private cloud can also be physically located within your organisation’s dedicated data centre, or hosted by a third party vendor, the services use a network that is private to your organisation. This includes hardware and software solely dedicated to your organisation too.

Benefits of hybrid infrastructure

Hybrid infrastructures can give you the best of both worlds, but it’s important to exactly what kind of foundation you require to build on. With a hybrid infrastructure, operating systems and applications can be accessed across any part of the hybrid environment depending on what your business needs.

As IT needs become more complex and demanding, this is an ideal option, allowing organisations to benefit from the cloud’s on-the-go flexibility options. The crucial thing is to have the technology in place to link and interact between the two clouds.

Again, you need to consider what options are going to suit your organisation.

Is cloud cheaper than on premise? Capital expenditure (CapEx) vs Operational Expenditure (OpEx)

One of the major considerations when thinking about whether to move to a cloud or hybrid based infrastructure is the financial implications. Capital expenditure (CapEx) is a one-off cost (likely to be for on-prem) and Operational Expenditure (OpEx) is the day-to-day costs a company incurs to keep everything going.

Generally, what you’ll find is that moving to cloud services will move your company’s expenditure from CapEx to OpEx. However it’s important to note that this may not always mean it’s cheaper. For example, over a normal 5 year write off period a like for like replacement can be more expensive.

However, with that being said, savings will generally be the result of a system architecture that’s fully optimised for cloud environments. OpEx also gives organisations more long term benefits, such as no large upfront costs, and better daily cash flow. As well as this, pivoting is easy to do since you’re not tied to a long term payment timeline; and ultimately, expenses are deducted as they’re incurred so income statements can look different.

IT partners can help you to figure out the best infrastructure options for your organisations and the best way to optimise your finances.

Is on-premises, cloud or hybrid best for your organisation?

We know the benefits of cloud computing vs on premise computing can be difficult to get to grips with, especially for your organisation.

If you’re not sure which option is best for you, TSG has cloud solution experts that can help you architecture the right solution for your organisation. Visit our cloud services pages for more information and get in touch here to speak to our cloud and infrastructure services experts.

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