The cloud has yet to eclipse on-premises infrastructure
South Africa’s market for on-premises business IT solutions remains healthy and continues to offer a number of exciting business opportunities to the reseller channel, despite the rapid growth in adoption of cloud-based solutions among enterprise users.
That’s according to Tarsus Distribution’s Dell Enterprise solution specialist, Othelo Vieira, who says that the market for traditional enterprise hardware and software is still showing slow and steady growth. The reason for this, he says, is that many enterprises still have concerns about ceding complete control of their infrastructure to a cloud provider.
“Many companies have sunk a great deal of investment into their data centre and server room infrastructure over the years,” says Vieira. “Abandoning this investment is neither simple nor cost-effective – it demands a phased approach as existing hardware and software starts to reach its natural end of life.
“In addition, some companies are running in-house and cloud infrastructure in parallel to get a better understanding of the cost and performance benefits of each computing model,” Vieira says. “There are many complexities in moving to the cloud and some companies prefer to compare cloud and on-premises deployments in a manner that gives them a practical understanding of the cost, uptime, security, scalability and performance issues.”
Vieira adds that, in practice most larger organisations will need a hybrid approach that blends some in-house infrastructure, some private cloud deployments, and some public cloud services to support their business needs. The reseller’s role is to guide them towards the right choices for the business overall and for each application or business need.
For some applications like CRM or salesforce enablement, the public cloud makes immediate sense because it gives end-users on tap access to services and information wherever they are. Public cloud infrastructure can also be a great fit for data backups and archiving. But some companies might prefer a private cloud or their infrastructure for sensitive data or mission-critical transactional applications.
Resellers should look at the customer’s need when considering whether to migrate an application or piece of infrastructure to a cloud computing platform. It is important to look at a complete picture – costs (including electricity, bandwidth and other operational expenses), the complexities of re-architecting applications for the cloud, data ownership and migration, and performance needs.
“It’s not as simple as comparing the raw specs and costs of the server rack and storage array the client uses in-house to what the provider is offering – resellers and enterprises must look at how cloud computing solutions can offer them flexibility for growth. For example, those with fluctuating peak capacity and performance demands might find value in the cloud because of its scalability. They won’t need massively overprovisioned expensive resources or risk substantial and unexpected costs for peak loads,” Vieira says.
While a key goal of moving to the cloud is often efficiency and cost reduction, businesses should also be looking at ways to increase innovation and speed to market, he adds. Resellers should be working with them to help them make the most of their legacy while optimising their capital budgets. For some, the cloud might do the trick, but others could find value in simple-to-deploy, packaged converged solutions.
Vieira adds: “There are many SMEs that are adopting the cloud for a large portion of their IT needs because it allows them to run lean and yet achieve easy scalability. But for other organisations, in-house infrastructure still has an important part to play. Resellers need to be able to guide clients towards the right platform for each situation so that they can achieve the right balance of performance, efficiency, cost and reliability for their needs.