July 14, 2021

Q+A with Uprise CTO: Cloud vs. On-Prem

Brian Gagnon

Uprise CTO Brian Gagnon recently gave a live webinar focused on misconceptions about the cloud and on-prem IT solutions and how companies need to take a more nuanced look to determine the best approach for their business. Our last blog highlights the overall trends as well as the pros and cons of both the cloud and on-premises.

Following the webinar, the audience had some great questions. Here are those questions and Brian’s answers. (You can also view the webinar here.)

Q. We currently use AWS for everything, and all our apps are SaaS. Should we consider moving some of that to our office?

A. Great question! There is no denying cloud infrastructure and SaaS are great plays if you are just starting a business. Cost doesn’t always scale for all aspects of infrastructure and business size, however. If you have a skilled technologist or partner, and depending on your size, it may make sense to consider localizing some functions of what you have in AWS. Areas to explore would be storing a cached copy of frequently used files locally, and perhaps an authentication server/device, since you’ll need a firewall anyway for an office.  Make sure you consider single points of failure and business continuity before evaluating this.

Q. We are partway to moving all our servers to the cloud and are a bit surprised with pricing. Am I missing something?

A. Typically, companies have not done a great job capturing CAPEX and OPEX together for any given function of IT. Couple this with not fully funding proper maintenance, upgrades, and security and there is typically a gap in the cost model.  Electricity and cooling, as well as racks, office real estate, and proper support staff to maintain it all, are also forgotten. With all that said, there are some functions that make sense to consider keeping onsite. Things like storage, virtualized systems with ample redundancy, and even dev test instances in some cases make perfect sense if you have landed cost in a data center already.

Q. Should we be multi-cloud? How do we do that to get the best price?

A. Being “multi-cloud” is an ever-increasing and important consideration as companies plan for IT infrastructure, just as including on-prem is. Cloud lock-in is real, and to truly be able to take advantage of hybrid or multi-cloud, one must carefully evaluate the use of the more proprietary portions of a cloud stack. Things like Firebase, lambda functions, CDN configurations, etc. can vary wildly in how open the standards are. VMs should typically be able to migrate easily. Networking is typically much more challenging to configure in a multi-cloud architecture and does have costs involved. The great news is there are plenty of platforms in the market that can make the use of on-prem and multi-cloud a possibility with proper architectural considerations.

Q. Are you saying that it’s cheaper to stay out of the cloud?

A. Absolutely not! We wanted to highlight that like most anything, all your eggs in one basket can be a costly decision if you fail to consider the alternatives. Many VARs and MSPs quickly jumped on the cloud bandwagon because it was just another thing to sell, and they didn’t want to get left out. Reality lies somewhere in the middle and depends on a business’ needs and where the mix is right for cost, flexibility, scaling, and resiliency. There are many places where a properly architected on-prem solution is much cheaper than a similar cloud offering, but old architectures still need to be re-architected for on-prem to make any sense at all.

If you have any questions about the cloud or on-premises solutions and want to talk through what’s best for your business, please reach out.

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