I am a child of the on-premise world. I grew up learning BASIC on an Apple II+ clone with 48K of RAM. When my dad gave me a 16K RAM expansion card for my birthday, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
I didn’t get my first modem for another 7 years (a 2400-baud Hayes!). I learned assembly language, made my own games, and typed in pages of code from computer magazines. I didn’t need to get connected to anything; I found an entire universe inside that little box in my bedroom.
How on-premise was I? I could place my hand on the disk drive, and from the sound and vibrations emanating therein, I could tell you whether or not the disk had an error about 10 seconds before any error messages popped up.
I stayed with IT through the rise of the Internet, and in tech support roles early in my career spent my fair share of time hanging around server rooms, swapping tapes, typing cryptic Unix commands, and waiting out long-running scripts as I performed weekend production upgrades for various customers. I was proud of that time in my life, as I felt I was in the forefront of an IT revolution that was changing the world.
If you’re an IT professional in your 30s or 40s, you’ve probably also done some or all of the above. Perhaps you and other readers are wondering why there is skepticism about the cloud. The decision-makers grew up in an on-premise world. Happiness is a warm server.
Let me try to convince you, fellow children of the 70s and 80s, of the benefits of a cloud solution. If I could cross the divide to the cloud realm, you can too.
1. You have better things to do
Most likely, your organisation is not an IT infrastructure company. Running data centers is probably not your core business. Many companies, however, are forced to have their own data centers and server rooms because of the lack of reliable services out there. This is a bit like having to dig your own well because there is no water service at your house. Things have changed, however—now, instead of dedicating personnel to non-core functions, you can let somebody else do the menial work and let your employees focus on things that are more relevant to your bottom line.
2. It costs less
Aside from the obvious shift from capital expenditure to operating expenditure when you move to the cloud, you must also take into account many other factors that go into running your own infrastructure. Perhaps the following graphic, which popped up on my LinkedIn feed the other day, describes it best:
I love this illustration because it illustrates many aspects of how your cost structure will change by moving to the cloud.
First, your most visible cost (the tip of the iceberg) will change from an up-front license fee to a subscription fee. If you simply look at this visible cost, it’s pretty clear that after a few years, the subscription cost will be higher than the one-time license cost. However, it’s important to remember that beneath the surface are the hidden ongoing costs that go into maintaining your own infrastructure.
In the cloud, that becomes somebody else’s problem (just as you wouldn’t need to worry about well maintenance once water is hooked up to your house). This is one of the true savings of moving to the cloud, so it is important not to overlook what lies under the surface when considering your TCO savings.
3. You’ll remove risk
Let’s go back to the well analogy again: If you use a well, you are responsible for making sure that the water is clean, that no feral possums get into it, and the pump is rust-free. When you are a water subscriber, you have only one risk: if the water supply stops.
That risk is mitigated by the fact that the water company has thousands of other water customers to whom it is also responsible. Same with the cloud, so you can stop worrying about whether your server room will catch fire or a mouse will nibble through your cables and just use the software you need.
And much like the water company likely does a better job of managing the water supply than you can, moving to the cloud with the right company enables you to take advantage of best practices such as automated backups, built-in redundancies, and automated software updates.
4. You’ll be more agile
Most on-premise software projects start with the selection and procurement of hardware, followed by installation of that hardware and software. Only then can you finally begin implementing and configuring your business solution. With cloud solutions, you can cut straight to the chase without worrying about potential infrastructure problems.
Furthermore, five or seven years down the road, you will not need to worry about what to do with that old server that can no longer run the latest release of your software.
All of the above factors are valid arguments for organisations of any size, but they are especially relevant for the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which do not have the luxury of large IT departments and generally have more limited budgets.
At the risk of mixing metaphors, it’s time to start drinking the water without worrying about the well—consider how moving to the cloud can shrink your iceberg.
For more on why your business should consider moving to the cloud, visit our new cloud content hub.