With 95% of businesses now using the cloud in some way, there is no doubt that enterprise technology is heading skyward. However, somewhere along the road to the cloud, many came to believe that the cloud is an all or nothing proposition particularly where databases (such as Oracle, SQL Server, and NoSQL) are concerned, and that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, a recent report from IDG found that in 2018, the typical IT department will still have 40% of their apps and platforms on-premise.
On-Premise Databases: When Do They Make Strategic Sense?
While maintaining infrastructure governance for on-premise database solutions can be costly and complex when compared to their cloud counterparts, there are numerous reasons that organizations choose to keep some or all of their data in an on-premise data center rather than use a public cloud service no matter how much time or money it may save them. For instance:
- Cost - On-premise and cloud databases come with two different pricing structures. As counterintuitive as it may seem, for some businesses it can be more cost effective to keep data on-premise because of the cost of uptime. In the cloud you pay for the time that your databases are up and running, which can add up if production workloads require your databases be up and running all the time. Scheduling downtime when it makes sense (i.e. nights and weekends) requires a certain level of oversight that not all IT departments are equipped to cover. By adopting a going-in mindset of hybrid cloud (keeping all options on the table), it becomes a consideration of “which workloads are best for the cloud?” (and which managed services are delivered best on demand).
- Industry Regulations - As regulations struggle to keep up with the pace of technology, industries bound by those rules and other compliance issues, such as financial services and the healthcare sectors, sometimes have no choice but to keep data on-premise.
- Security - While it may be unfounded, security can be a major concern for corporations considering moving data to the cloud. Regulations often play a role here as well.
- Control and Governance - The cloud has more than proven itself on the side of database reliability, but even it requires some downtime for regular maintenance. Oftentimes the consumer has little control over the timing of said “downtimes,” and some industries cannot afford the risk of an inconvenient gap in access.
A Hybrid Approach: Realizing the Best of Both Worlds
While it’s true many companies require that much of their data be kept on premise in private servers, oftentimes less regulated data from the same corporation, can benefit from the flexibility of the cloud. In these cases, many companies are turning to a hybrid approach to database management.
First, we should make a quick, but important distinction: Following the AWS outage earlier this year we explored a hybrid cloud (aka multi-cloud, aka blended cloud) environment. In that case an organization would combine services and data from a variety of models and service providers to create a unified, automated, and well-managed computing environment including public and private cloud setups. While the reasons for that strategy may be similar, it is not quite the same approach.
A hybrid database strategy in this case combines both on-premise and cloud technology (public or private) to give your business the flexibility and ease-of-use of the cloud where you need it and the more confined, controlled environment of on-premise for the data that requires it.
What’s the Right Database Management Solution for You?
There's no right or wrong answer when choosing whether to maintain your data and applications in the cloud or on-premises, there’s simply what’s right or wrong for your corporation and its goals. Enterprise databases and apps are typically the hardest and most expensive to move and require careful planning, including possibly remediation prior to moving. You may find that some data and processes are low-impact and relatively easy to move to the cloud. On the other hand, other more mission-critical data may be best kept on premises for the time being.
Put simply, there are many factors to consider when determining the right strategy for your Oracle, SQL Server, and NoSQL databases. We’ve outlined a few of them in our complimentary eBook, “17 Reasons to Rethink Your Database Management Strategy,” available to download below.