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What does On-Premises mean?

The term on-premises (abbreviation: on-prem) describes the installation of software on one’s own local devices. This field was introduced when cloud computing became increasingly popular and a term was therefore needed for the hitherto normal procedure of installing and running programs locally.

What does On-Premises mean?

When companies or organizations work on-premises, they mean that they maintain their IT infrastructure, as well as the software applications they use, completely independently and in-house. This means, for example, that they have purchased a company license for an enterprise resource planning tool (ERP tool for short) and installed it on their own devices.

In order for their employees to access it, a certain amount of computing power is also required. To this end, the company has provided local servers on which the data is stored and which in turn provide the power so that queries can be calculated. In the event of failures, the responsible employees in the IT department must rectify the problem as quickly as possible so that the system is operational again.

What is a Cloud?

Only a few years ago, when computers were not yet so widespread, it was quite normal for several users to be created on one computer. In it, the various people in a household stored their files or installed programs. Although all the pictures from the different users were physically stored on one computer, without the password of the others, the users only had access to their own pictures. Thus, if a father did not know his daughter’s password, he could not view her user’s pictures even though they were on the same computer.

User access to the central infrastructure | Source: Author

The principle of cloud computing works in a similar way, at least in the storage area. Here, many different users use one or more devices that they can access via the Internet. Although their data may be on a computer, they can only view their own information, since information about users is protected.

On-Premise vs. Cloud

Since on-premises and cloud are two very contrasting concepts, it is worth taking a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of one system over the other. The advantages of on-premises are in most cases also the disadvantages of on-premises and vice versa.

In recent years, data protection has become increasingly important. With on-premises applications, internal data does not leave the company’s internal networks. This ensures that no outsider can access sensitive data unless they gain unauthorized access to the network. In a cloud environment, however, some sensitive data leaves the company and there is no control over what happens to it. Although agreements can be made with cloud providers about data processing, there is still an increased risk.

In addition, on-premises applications make you less dependent on Internet failures or network problems. By providing software or data locally, it is possible to work without the Internet. This is not the case with cloud applications.

However, on-premises applications provide the opportunity to achieve a high degree of personalization. Cloud providers often offer only a limited scope of services, which is sufficient for the majority of customers. Nevertheless, this may not be sufficient for some companies, which is why on-premises software offers the possibility to personalize the application for the capabilities needed.

When it comes to the cost factor, the cloud is ahead in many respects. On the one hand, cost-intensive servers and their infrastructure do not have to be purchased, and on the other hand, they do not have to be maintained by personnel. This means that high fixed costs for procurement and variable costs for maintenance can be avoided. Another cost factor is the establishment of backups, which in the case of the cloud is the responsibility of the provider. At the same time, contractual penalties can also be agreed upon, which become due in the event of a system failure over a certain period of time. Thus, the risk of the application can be almost completely outsourced.

Best of both Worlds: How can you combine On-Premises and Cloud applications?

In the ever-evolving realm of technology, organizations are progressively embracing hybrid approaches that merge the strengths of both cloud and on-premises solutions. These hybrid strategies are designed to offer versatility, scalability, and customized solutions to cater to a broad spectrum of business requirements. This section delves into the concept of hybrid models and the reasons behind their growing popularity.

Hybrid models aim to find an equilibrium between on-premises and cloud solutions, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be optimal. Cloud computing, known for its scalability, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility, is particularly well-suited for workloads characterized by fluctuating resource demands. It permits organizations to effortlessly expand or contract resources as circumstances dictate.

On-premises solutions, conversely, provide control, security, and data privacy. These attributes make them ideal for housing sensitive data, meeting compliance prerequisites, and running applications with low-latency requirements.

Hybrid models are instrumental in situations where specific workloads or data must remain within the organization’s premises, while others stand to benefit from cloud deployment. Common applications encompass data storage, compliance considerations, and legacy system integration.

Data synchronization and integration mechanisms form the linchpin of hybrid models. These mechanisms ensure seamless data exchange between on-premises and cloud-based components. Hybrid approaches can optimize costs by dynamically adjusting resource allocation in the cloud, thus reducing the necessity for an excessive on-premises infrastructure.

While hybrid models offer a multitude of advantages, they do introduce complexities in terms of management, data consistency, and security. Thus, organizations are urged to undertake meticulous planning and meticulous implementation. Leading cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, have introduced hybrid solutions that simplify the integration of on-premises and cloud environments, streamlining the deployment and management of hybrid infrastructures.

In summary, hybrid approaches are gaining prominence as organizations strive to reconcile the benefits of cloud scalability with the control and security afforded by on-premises infrastructure. By implementing and managing hybrid models with discernment, businesses can cultivate flexibility and tailor their IT infrastructure to effectively address diverse needs, thereby securing a competitive advantage in today’s digital landscape.

Which applications use on-premises?

On-premise computing refers to the deployment of hardware and software in an organization’s own facilities rather than in a cloud-based or remote environment. Here are some of the use cases where on-premises computing is preferred:

  • Security: Organizations working with sensitive data may choose on-premise computing because it provides better control over security measures and reduces the risk of data breaches.
  • Regulatory compliance: Companies that must comply with government regulations may need to keep their data on-premise to meet certain regulations.
  • Cost-effectiveness: In some cases, on-premise computing can be more cost-effective than cloud-based alternatives, especially for long-term use.
  • Adaptability: Organizations with specific IT infrastructure needs may prefer on-premise solutions that can be customized to meet their needs.
  • Existing systems: Companies with existing legacy systems may find it difficult to migrate to the cloud, and they may continue to use on-premise solutions until they can replace them with modern alternatives.

Despite these benefits, on-premise computing also has its limitations and drawbacks. Some of these include:

  • Limited scalability: These solutions are difficult to scale as business needs change, which can limit their flexibility.
  • Maintenance and upgrades: On-premise computing solutions require regular maintenance and upgrades, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Resource-intensive: Such on-premise applications require the use of internal IT resources, which can put a strain on staff time and budgets.
  • Disaster recovery: Local computing solutions are vulnerable to natural disasters or other disruptions that can lead to data loss or downtime.
  • Lack of innovation: These solutions may lack the innovation and new features that cloud-based alternatives offer, as they are often slower to adopt new technologies.

Ultimately, the decision to use on-premise computing depends on a company’s specific needs and circumstances. While it offers more control and security, it can also be more resource-intensive and less flexible than cloud computing.

Which technology stack is needed for on-premises solutions?

On-premises solutions rely on a comprehensive technology stack that encompasses both hardware and software components. These components are instrumental in establishing and maintaining a local infrastructure tailored to an organization’s unique requirements.

On-premises solutions necessitate the deployment of specific hardware components to support various functions. These components include servers, which can be physical or virtual, responsible for hosting applications and databases. The choice of servers can range from rack-mounted to tower servers, depending on the organization’s needs. Storage solutions, such as hard drives, solid-state drives, and network-attached storage (NAS) devices, are employed for data storage and retrieval. Networking equipment, including routers, switches, and firewalls, plays a pivotal role in building and securing the local network infrastructure. Backup systems, whether tape drives or disk-based solutions are vital for ensuring data integrity and disaster recovery.

Operating Systems:
Operating systems form the core of on-premises solutions, enabling the management of servers, control of hardware resources, and execution of applications. Organizations often choose from a variety of options, including Windows Server, Linux distributions like Ubuntu, CentOS, or Red Hat, and other bespoke selections. In cases where virtualization is employed, hypervisors such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) facilitate the creation and management of virtual machines.

Middleware components, such as message brokers, application servers, and database management systems, are integrated to ensure the smooth operation of applications and services.

Database Management Systems (DBMS):
Selecting an appropriate database management system, whether it be MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, or Microsoft SQL Server, depends on the organization’s data storage and management needs.

Security Solutions:
Incorporating robust security measures is a non-negotiable aspect of on-premises solutions. These measures encompass firewall systems, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), antivirus software, and encryption tools, all of which are implemented to safeguard critical data.

Monitoring and Management Tools:
To guarantee the optimal health and performance of hardware and software components, organizations employ monitoring and management tools. Examples include Nagios, Zabbix, or proprietary systems provided by hardware vendors.

Application Software:
Specific applications and software tools tailored to the organization’s operations are an integral part of the technology stack. These may include email servers, content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other customized applications.

Data Backup and Recovery Solutions:
Implementing backup software and systems is paramount to the regular backup of crucial data and facilitating swift recovery in cases of data loss or system failures.

Networking and Connectivity:
Networking infrastructure, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), internet connections, and related components, ensures seamless connectivity between on-premises elements and external services or remote offices.

Scalability and Redundancy Mechanisms:
Components that enable scalability and redundancy are crucial for on-premises solutions. These may encompass load balancers, clustering, and failover mechanisms to enhance the reliability and resilience of the infrastructure.

The selection and configuration of this technology stack are highly dependent on the organization’s size, industry, and specific operational requirements. Proper planning, maintenance, regular updates, and the implementation of robust security measures are essential for the sustained success of on-premises infrastructure.

What future developments might there be?

On-premise solutions have been around for a long time and remain popular in many industries. However, as technology advances and cloud solutions become more prevalent, the role of on-premise solutions could change. Here are some future trends for on-premise solutions:

  • Hybrid solutions: As more organizations move to a hybrid cloud strategy, on-premise solutions will continue to play a role in managing critical data and applications that need to remain local. A hybrid solution enables the benefits of both worlds to be leveraged, providing flexibility and scalability.
  • Edge computing: With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), the need for computing power at the edge of the network, where data is generated, is increasing. These solutions can be used for edge computing to process data locally, reducing latency and improving efficiency.
  • Improved security: Security concerns remain a major factor in the adoption of cloud solutions. Local solutions offer more control over data security and regulatory compliance, making them an attractive option for organizations with stringent security requirements.
  • Modernization: Many companies still rely on legacy systems and applications that run on local devices. As these systems age, they need to be modernized and upgraded to remain competitive. This could lead to renewed interest in on-premise solutions.
  • Cost optimization: On-premise solutions can be expensive to maintain and upgrade. However, with the advent of containerization and virtualization technologies, these solutions can be optimized for cost and efficiency. This could lead to renewed interest in on-premise solutions as a cost-effective option.

Overall, while the trend toward cloud solutions continues, on-premise solutions will remain an important part of the IT landscape. Enterprises need to balance the benefits of local solutions, such as security and control, with the benefits of cloud solutions, such as scalability and flexibility, to create a hybrid solution that meets their specific needs.

This is what you should take with you

  • On-premises is a newly created term introduced with the rise of cloud applications.
  • It describes systems that provide the necessary infrastructure and installation of software completely locally and thus dispense with the use of cloud systems.
  • The advantage of such architectures is above all the high level of data protection and the ability to individualize them for their own use case.
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Dell offers an interesting piece on the comparison of on-premises and cloud systems.

Das Logo zeigt einen weißen Hintergrund den Namen "Data Basecamp" mit blauer Schrift. Im rechten unteren Eck wird eine Bergsilhouette in Blau gezeigt.

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