Cloud Computing: On premises versus “cloud”

Kevin Garcia writes:

The primary difference between on-prem infrastructure and cloud infrastructure is that you own on-prem while you rent the cloud.

On-prem infrastructure exists—you guessed it—on-premises in server rooms that a company builds and maintains. Cloud computing allows companies to host workloads on third-party servers. These servers aren’t really “in the cloud”—the biggest AWS data center in America, for instance, is in Virginia.

This is an interesting blog post on the on-premises versus the cloud infrastructure. It was important for me to follow it through because I have always advocated having on-premises hardware. Conside what Kevin has to say:

On-prem software requires licensing and installation, and when that software needs updating (which it always does), then you again need IT to download and deploy updates. According to ZDnet, it costs $731.94 per machine per year just to power a server. That base price plus all the setup and maintenance costs can add up––and then you need to cool it all, which, according to DataSpan, will be almost half your investment.
And whereas on-prem infrastructure requires ordering, racking, and installing a server, public cloud servers provide near-instant provisioning, meaning scale-up happens about as fast as you can request it (i.e., pay for it). 

(emphasis mine)

Now, this sort of investment might startle a potential “start-up”, but it is vital to keep your generated data under your control. I have been following up stories on ransomware, and they happen due to extensive “zero-day flaws” in mainstream mediocre software (Microsoft Windows and MacOs/Apple iOS). Linux (and BSD) can get the job done, but the enterprises are indebted to the fear of “expenses”. The data is extremely critical and it requires significant investments to get the system running back up after a ransomware attack. Why not have systems to avoid the problem in the first place?

That’s why there is a move towards the “multi-cloud movement” but it is reminiscent of the exact trend I was aware of- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which completely decimated BlackBerries from the enterprises. They were the most secure devices paired to mobile device management, but other players jumped in (like Iron Mobile), which burned through investment dollars to play the Trojan horse. The “pressures” were built through the consumer facing applications pushed out by Apple and BlackBerry (with its Java based system) didn’t get a chance. I am seeing similar trends for “clouds”.

Control is the most complex, gray-zone difference between on-prem and cloud. Theoretically, since you (the company) own and operate your on-prem servers, you have more control than you would if you handed over your servers to a third party.

If you cede control to data, you have handed away the keys to your kingdom (and business). It is not the grey zone. On premises will always make sense. Ransomware is not an IT problem- it affects real people.

Open Source+On-Premises. I think it is a winning combination.