Cloud Wars Perspectives: Nutanix on why on-premises tech is still popular
Cloud Wars Perspectives: Nutanix on why on-premises tech is still popular

Reports of the End of On-Premises IT Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

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The cloud-computing boom is turning out to be one of the greatest growth markets the tech industry has ever seen.

CEOs and boards of directors are pushing their CIOs to be more aggressive about moving to the cloud.

Transformational new technologies like AI and ML are optimized for deployment in cloud environments.

So with all of this feverish cloud-computing momentum underway, then surely on-premises IT and traditional data centers are on their very last legs, right?

And every business is going to be 100% cloud as soon as possible, right?

Actually, quite the opposite is true, and we’re finding that reports of the death of on-premises IT and traditional data centers have been greatly exaggerated.

Just as video didn’t kill the radio star, the cloudmania of today is certainly not going to mean the end of corporate datacenters and traditional IT.

Instead, business-technology leaders are now able to choose the optimal IT environment—cloud or traditional—to meet their specific business need and requirements.

That’s incredibly important in today’s fast-changing and increasingly digital economy, with business agility being more essential than ever before. As both consumers and business customers demand increasing levels of customized products, services and experiences, companies vying for that business must be able to move at the speed of those customers.

To keep up with that relentless change, most business-technology decision makers are choosing the hybrid-cloud model, allowing them to blend the different capabilities and value propositions of public cloud, private cloud, managed clouds and on-premises IT into a seamless whole.

For businesses that have to operate in heavily regulated industries and comply with new data-residency requirements, on-premises IT can be an ideal choice. But elsewhere in that same company, some mix of cloud environments might be the absolute best choice: for dev-test, for fast-changing digital marketing, for recruiting and onboarding world-class talent, etc.

Hybrid is not about either-or; it’s about both.

And that means businesses looking to fully exploit the many advantages of hybrid-cloud environments must deploy thoroughly modern IT infrastructure that can not only deliver faster services, but also optimize all of those various approaches seamlessly, while also providing an easy-to-use management solution offering an end-to-end view.

That’s easier said than done because traditional infrastructure is almost always siloed and incompatible, difficult to scale, and requires more time to process resource requests. It’s very difficult to get silos to work in tandem because they were never designed to do so—instead, they were designed for the old world of business where fragmentation of business processes and the IT systems that managed them was the norm. But in today’s world of digital business, with supply chains connecting to demand chains, companies looking to get 360-degree views of their customers, and the need for single instances of truth versus multiple estimates of truth, all that fragmentation and isolation becomes a terrible impediment to transformation. The business requirements of today call for infrastructure that works together seamlessly regardless of its specific function or its specific IT environment: on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, etc.

IT first needs to modernize their datacenters. The entire data center stack, including compute, storage, networking, and virtualization must be combined into a single platform that is software-defined and is addressable by software from anywhere, not manually by individual system administrators in datacenter silos. Complex and disparate legacy infrastructure is replaced by a platform running on turnkey, industry-standard servers, combined with adaptive machine learning to intelligently automate lifecycle management.

That’s the only way companies can achieve the operational agility and speed to achieve the escape velocity required to accelerate innovation and move as fast as the markets around them.

The common name for this type of modern and highly flexible IT technology is Hyperconverged Infrastructure or HCI. In a recent IDC study commissioned by Nutanix, here’s how IDC described the attributes and benefits of HCI in today’s complex IT environments that are increasingly defined by software: “Operational simplicity driven by HCI solutions has become critically important in the infrastructure modernization efforts that most enterprises are now undertaking.”

In another ongoing study commissioned by Nutanix, called the Enterprise Cloud Index, some eye-opening findings underscore just how committed businesses have become to the hybrid-cloud model, to preserving their capable and productive on-premises systems, and to ensuring the highest level of cybersecurity across those blended IT environments.

According to the Enterprise Cloud Index from Nutanix:

  • 85% of the 2,650 respondents say that hybrid is the “ideal” operating model for them; and
  • 73% say that after moving some applications from on-premises to public clouds, they are moving some apps back to their on-premises systems.

Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud Index also unearthed the following insights from the respondents at businesses around the world:

  • it’s becoming clear that while the public cloud offers great value for specific objectives, it’s no longer expected to be the ideal environment for all IT needs;
  • while hybrid cloud is in its early days, 49% say it has already begun to meet all of their needs; and
  • 35% say that their traditional datacenters continue to meet all their needs.

But the deciding factor in hybrid cloud’s favor is likely to be the near-ubiquitous move among businesses to digital transformation, which will be an ongoing initiative for most companies rather than a one-time project.

With 64% of respondents saying that their company’s #1 business priority is digital transformation, the ongoing surge into the cloud will certainly continue for years to come. But as we’ve seen above, businesses are simultaneously realizing that there’s also a lot of life and value left in some of their on-premises systems and that the ideal end-state is not exclusively cloud or exclusively on-premises, but rather the optimal mix of each.

Of course, all that enthusiasm for hybrid cloud carries with it the inescapable spike in demand for hybrid-cloud talent—and 53% of respondents cited that talent shortage as a major factor in their plans for moving forward.

The good news on that end is that the right kind of software platform built for hybrid cloud will automate a great deal of the low-value work that IT teams used to have to do by hand. So businesses can close some of that talent gap by redeploying and upskilling some IT employees because Nutanix, unlike most other vendors, doesn’t require customers to rip and replace everything.

Instead, Nutanix allows customers to also preserve their existing investments while they grow, allowing those companies to move apps and data confidently and capably into the digital future.

This article is brought to you by Nutanix.