Technology for Your Company and Its Workers — On-Premise, Virtual Environment or Cloud-as-a-Service?

Cloud adoption has become so ubiquitous that a recent Forbes study projected only 27% of workloads would be on-premise (on-site hardware) by the end of 2020. Yet, many business owners, especially in small and midsized companies, are still uncertain when and how they should fully embrace cloud computing. Some perceive cloud migration as expensive or complicated, and others don’t want to lose their investment in physical servers, desktops and other hardware.

At Carmichael Consulting Solutions, we have long been helping business owners decide which computing model is best for them – and when the time is right to make a change. Here is our take.

Three Models; Many Considerations

There are essentially three options for infrastructure and user devices: on-premise, virtual, or cloud. However, the lines between these options is blurry, making it harder for decision makers to identify the path forward.

  • On-premise hardware, e.g. the physical equipment we mentioned above is becoming increasingly expensive and complicated to manage and maintain. Furthermore, on-premise hardware is subject to the dangers of any physical equipment such as fire, water damage and theft. Carmichael recently helped an organization restore vital operating data on physical servers that had crashed, literally restoring their operating functionality, but not all server damage can be overcome.

Enterprise leaders recognized these downsides a decade or more ago, which is why 83% of enterprise workloads are now run in the cloud. (We agree with them and are currently migrating a lot of our customers’ workloads to the cloud. More about that later.)

  • Virtual environments are discrete operating components running on a larger compute framework, which can be on-premise or in the cloud. (Essentially, the environments being hosted by the framework.) Virtual environments can be entire systems, such as desktops and even servers, or they can be discrete applications, such as email or document management.

When hosted by on-site servers, virtual environments still have the same drawbacks as on-premise systems. When hosted in the cloud, they empower companies with all the advantages of cloud computing in a prepackaged, readily deployed format. Windows Virtual Desktop, an Azure-based system for provisioning desktops, servers and other computing elements, is one example.

  • Cloud environments are those hosted on cloud servers fully offsite. Cloud environments can be fully customized, so they offer the greatest degree of flexibility and ease of scalability among these options. Yet, cloud-hosted systems look and act just like locally hosted ones – and they can run on any system or device with an Internet connection.

When hosted on a leading cloud provider, like Microsoft Azure, cloud environments also confer stringent security and impressive availability (99.999%). Furthermore, cloud hosting enables third-party IT companies, like Carmichael Consulting Solutions, to migrate and manage workloads and even deploy new resources like desktops, without the need for on-site visits.

Reviewing these options, we can’t imagine why any business owner wouldn’t want to embrace the cloud as quickly as possible, whether for custom solutions or prepackaged virtual ones. Yet, we find that many are hesitant. When that happens, we share this figure with them:

Cloud-based infrastructure can reduce IT overhead costs by as much as 40%.

In other words, cloud infrastructure, desktops and devices are more secure, available, scalable and reliable than solutions that rely on on-premise infrastructure – and they cost less. On-premise hardware (which is considered so outdated by the IT world that it’s now called “legacy hardware,”) simply doesn’t make economic sense for modern businesses.

The good news is that the wealth of options today ensures every business can have a solution custom-matched to its current and future needs, technical expertise, and budget. At Carmichael Consulting Solutions, we invite representatives of all firms, whether SMBs or enterprises, to give us a call. Modern computing is filled with options. Let’s start exploring them!