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Experts discuss the benefits of moving public apps to an on-premise environment

Experts discuss the benefits of moving public apps to an on-premise environment

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The global findings of Nutanix’s second global Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) survey and research report found that 84% of respondents in South Africa (compared to 73% globally and 71% across EMEA) are either moving public apps back to on-premise environments or planning to do so.

Industry experts discuss these results in more detail.

Ian Jansen van Rensburg – VMware Senior Systems Engineer

Multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, public cloud, private data centre. Whatever name you give it, they all have one thing in common: applications. Old, traditional and cloud native applications.

The majority of customers are already making use of the public cloud to access Software-as-a-Service applications like Microsoft’s Office 365. There are also several other examples such as Sales Force, Workday, Concur, Google Apps and Amazon Web Services.

Most customers have a multi-cloud infrastructure, making use of old and traditional applications in their private data centre and the SaaS apps in the public cloud. Customers with large development teams prefer to work in the public cloud domain to ensure agility and a quicker time to market. Several other companies were even born in the cloud, such as Uber, PayPal and Airbnb.

The big benefit for customers making use of their own data centre is that they have full control of the costs, security and the location of the data. The larger financial customers in South Africa are on a hybrid cloud journey. VMware is making it possible for these customers to run their old, traditional and cloud native application in their private data centre or seamlessly move it to any one of the VMware’s cloud partners (AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM and Alibaba).

It should be all about choice that enables customers to get their applications quicker to the market in a secure, cost effective way.

Hybrid cloud is driven primarily by IT operations teams who have established a proven model for infrastructure within the data centre. They are pursuing an extension to the data centre that gives them the flexibility to support their mission-critical applications, to rapidly migrate to the cloud with minimal cost and effort, to leverage the cloud for on-demand scale and extend the core processes required to support applications and infrastructure.

The hybrid cloud journey is focused on creating a single set of resources that are both integrated and interoperable. Based on consistent infrastructure and consistent operations, the hybrid cloud architecture spans the private cloud, public cloud and edge.

In order to support the needs of applications, organisations are pursuing a range of alternative initiatives to give the business access to the most powerful infrastructure services from any source.

Most organisations are targeting multiple initiatives to varying degrees all at the same time, based on their individual needs.  It is the rare exception for a company to be exclusively pursuing a datacenter modernisation or a pure public cloud initiative.

In summary, it’s really about business innovation and having the correct tools in place to support it. Some companies might opt for a public cloud only strategy, others hybrid but one thing remains, the customer experience.

Peter Clarke, MD, LanDynamix

The response is part of what I have always said in that cloud is not for everyone.

I have been saying for a while that the early adopters are not seeing all the milk and honey that was promised via lifting everything to the cloud.

When you refer to an on-premise data centre, you mean clients hosting at their own office; it’s a traditional server room at the clients’ offices.

The variable cost with public cloud is quite possibly the biggest issue. Nobody can give a fixed cost as usage and load make the end bill vary.  My opinion is that certain workloads are suited to the cloud and the cloud providers are in the best position to run and maintain that infrastructure. 

Office 365 is a great example here. Here is one possible scenario: We could build our own Exchange and SharePoint servers and manage them; therefore, when something goes wrong it would be up to us to sort it out.  Office 365 mail is built on Exchange and it includes SharePoint.  Microsoft are the guys who developed that software, if something goes wrong, I would definitely say that they are better equipped than anyone else to fix it, they know the product intimately.  There is no point trying to replicate that infrastructure.  Nobody can do as good a job than Microsoft in managing this.

Line of business and legacy applications that are bespoke to an organisation do not benefit from the knowledge that a vendor has with Office 365.  In an instance of moving our line of business ERP system to Microsoft Azure, Microsoft cannot add the same kind of value.  They will give me some cloud processing space to run my app on but when it goes wrong I am on my own to fix it,  and because I don’t have access to the behind the scene layers of Azure troubleshooting is a lot more difficult for me.  The costs of putting that app in the cloud to me does not make sense.  I can buy hardware from Dell that has the best SLA and support and I have visibility into all of the layers which enhances my ability to resolve issues.

That said, I don’t think moving everyone back to the clients’ on-premises is the answer due to our power situation. The data centres are geared to run on generators for days at a time if necessary; not all businesses can afford that which is one significant consideration for not bringing everything back to your own data centre.

What I see happening is clients provisioning their own private cloud in data centres – they get the benefit of being in control of their own systems and having the uptime that these data centres offer.  Customers will purchase their own hardware and co-locate this in a data centre.

Our own environment is similar to the above.  We use office 365 for all the messaging and collaboration tools; we let MS run that and get on with it. Our ERP system plus systems management tools that we want more control over are hosted on our own equipment within the Hetzner and Teraco data centres.  When our generator recently failed,  we were still able to work by sending people home and running over 3G,  we got the benefits of cloud but not at the high cost if we run everything in Azure.

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