Can I Use the Same "On-Premises" Mindset When I Move to the Cloud?

Rob Waggoner

Empty countryside road with white arrow sing on it

Can you?  Yes. Should you?  Probably not.  Here’s why… 

When I first started learning about the cloud, I continually compared it to an on-premises infrastructure and even initially tried to duplicate the on-premises implementations in the cloud.  Of course, that is an obvious first step, but it is also an expensive mistake to think that the cloud is just like an on-premises infrastructure, just with someone else managing the hardware. 

The big differences between on-premises thinking and cloud thinking come down to scalability, elastic growth, time to market, and being built around best practices. 

  • Scalability  On-premises you must always design and implement and infrastructure that can support the maximum demand.  In the cloud, while you must think about the maximum demand, you don’t have to pay for resources to support maximum demand when maximum demand isn’t needed. 
  • Elastic Growth  This kind of relates to scalability, but one of the many valuable benefits of the cloud is the elastic growth.  If you had to purchase hardware to support maximum demand, what do you do with your hardware when it isn’t needed?  You already paid for it.  With the Cloud, again, you only pay for what you use, when you use it.  As demand increases, you can pay for the additional compute, only when needed. 
  • Time to market – When you implement a new solution on-premises, you must design the solution, then purchase the infrastructure, then build the solution.  With the cloud, you still design and implement, but you no longer need to worry about hardware limitations, you just provision the resources when you need them. 
  • Built around best practices – When you look at cloud solutions, you can purchase just an infrastructure and build your solution on top of that infrastructure, or you can purchase full software solutions, like Office 365, that have already been built to best practices and by the experts. Think about how much time your team spends learning how to install and configure a solution, once.  If you can purchase pre-deployed solutions, then your team focuses on the operational aspect of the solution, not a one-time install and configuration. 

While I’ve simplified the premise of a cloud-based infrastructure, the fact that you can subscribe to a service that is built by the experts and then leverage these properly built and scalable solutions gives you a competitive advantage because your team can immediately focus on driving business value, as opposed to the traditional install and configuration process. 

When I worked in Microsoft Support, more than 60% of support issues raised by our customers were directly related to improper installation or configuration of a Microsoft product. By eliminating the installation process, and moving users immediately to the configuration step, a significant amount of time and effort can be eliminated. 

So, whether you are looking to move to the cloud or are in the process, make sure to keep this information in mind so you save time and money by not trying to use the same mindset as you move to the cloud.  

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