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Bringing the cloud back in-house: How to run the cloud on-premises


By Matt Shore, Software Defined Compute Product Manager, UK&I Hybrid IT Category at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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A few years ago, the public cloud was king. It enabled quick application deployment and pay-as-you go billing. The cloud promised more flexibility and lower cost.

The reality was a little different. Companies struggled to get the anticipated savings. Indeed, 68 percent of enterprises cite ‘controlling cloud costs’ as their number one priority.

No reign lasts forever. Today, cloud-first is dead. Long live hyperconverged infrastructure. Viva cloud platforms running on premises with Azure Stack and Google Anthos.

The hidden costs of shadow IT

One huge challenge with an all-cloud approach is shadow IT, where IT departments lost control of cloud spending to any employee with a company credit card. If you don’t take control of it, your cloud costs will quickly spiral out of control. It’s easier than you think; all you need to spin up new applications is your credit card details - no other due diligence needed.

So, is it time to retreat from the cloud and bring your applications back in-house?

Traditional, not out-dated: The benefits of on-premises

We’re finding increasing numbers of organisations spending more money on running their cloud infrastructure than their on-premises environments. Perhaps that was a justifiable compromise a few years ago, when flexibility and agility were bigger business priorities.

But, with cloud costs becoming an organisation-wide problem, it’s clear that a cloud-first frame of mind isn’t the answer.

Fortunately, on-premises has come a long way in the last few years. Here are five cloud-like benefits of modern on-premises storage:

1. Ease of deployment

On-premises has learnt a thing or two from the cloud. With software-driven solutions becoming increasingly common, spinning up new applications or scaling on demand is just as easy on-premises as it is in the cloud.

The arrival of on-premises cloud stacks means that you can move workloads in and out of the cloud to get the best combination of price and efficiency.

2. Simplified scalability

With the popularity of containerisation growing (66 percent of enterprises are adopting Docker), it’s never been easier to build or scale applications. Your business can house these containers on-premises, in the cloud, or in a virtual environment.

3. No more siloes

It used to be, when adopting a hybrid cloud approach, your business would have had to silo different operations, such as your network administration. With a more harmonious software-driven approach, your teams needn’t feel so separate. Everyone is using the same tools and everyone is on the same page.

4. Better billing

The cloud has lost its monopoly on pay-as-you-go pricing. Certain tools, including HPE GreenLake, offer consumption-based flexible billing arrangements to suit your needs. Whether you’d like an OPEX or CAPEX billing solution, the decision is up to you. And, to make things simpler for your budgeting team, both your on-premises and cloud investments can be put under the same bill.

5. AI-powered

Traditional doesn’t mean un-technical. For example, HPE’s ‘intelligently simple’ hyperconverged infrastructure uses artificial intelligence to track usage, trends, foresights and support. This kind of insight helps IT managers become more proactive and make better decisions.

The hybrid hype

Of course, we’re not advocating for an entire cloud ban. It’s more about finding the right mix of solutions for your unique business needs.

For instance, some legacy applications may be too costly or difficult to transfer to a cloud environment and may pose a greater security risk. As such, it’s probably better to keep them on premises. For newer application developments, you may well benefit from the flexibility of the public or private cloud.

It’s this hybrid cloud blend that’s becoming more popular among businesses, with 58 percent of enterprises adopting a hybrid approach.

Fortunately, the cloud giants are following the same train of thought.

Azure, AWS and GCP

Regardless of which cloud provider you use – or whether you use a mixture – there are increasing numbers of on-premises solutions available.

  • Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure). These systems are available from a range of providers, including HPE, and offer an integrated Azure experience.
  • AWS Outposts. These ‘outposts’ bring Amazon’s native infrastructure and services on-premises, helping to create a true hybrid environment.
  • Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) Anthos. Running Anthos on-premises allows you to containerise applications, ready for a cloud deployment if needed.

These on-premises systems allow your business to put together a hybrid architecture that works alongside your cloud workloads. Ultimately, this benefits your business by streamlining your application delivery, cutting costs and helping you feel closer to your data.

However, there are a few more dots to connect before you can make a seamless infrastructure. Your organisation needs the right servers and intelligent tools to make your on-premises and cloud workloads work together in harmony.

Build your in-house powerhouse

Your hybrid cloud journey is about the ongoing experience of bettering your technological infrastructure, not finding a ‘final destination’. So, be sure to make it one hell of an experience.

To do so, you need the right mix of tools and intelligence to get your cloud and on-premises workloads working as one. Ideally, your on-premises environment should be:

  • Flexible. Your data and applications, containerised or not, should be able to move from your on-premises infrastructure to your cloud environments if needed. HPE Cloud volumes is one multi-cloud storage service that simplifies on-prem-to-cloud application delivery.
  • Scalable. Your business needs room to grow. Your on-premises environment must have the flexibility to anticipate influxes of data and accommodate business growth.
  • Cost-effective. With costs being a big enterprise sticking point, it’s essential your on-premises infrastructure not only saves you money but offers you the billing choices you need to keep your budget in line.
  • Transparent. You need the right intelligent on-premises platforms to understand your usage, performance and cost. This will help refine your cloud strategy and help you improve your future investments and projects.
  • Harmonious. Regardless of where your data and applications are housed, your traditional and on-premises environments should work together.
  • Efficient and reliable. Data is sacred, so you need to make sure your on-premises platform’s performance and reliability is ship-shape. As an example, HPE’s hyperconverged platform, SimpliVity, boosts application performance while ensuring regular data backups.

With the right mix of these qualities, your organisation will find that cloud-like, on-premises solutions will work effectively alongside your cloud environment. The result? A seamless environment that’ll only serve to benefit your business growth.

Get in touch

If you’d like to pick our brains or discuss your hybrid cloud strategy, please get in touch today.

Check out my previous blogs: The future of hyperconverged technology, 5 questions every business leader should ask their IT department, 3 common causes of downtime to look out for in 2020

Matt Shore


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HCI, SimpliVity, Storage

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