Cloud-based IT operations are on the rise

The people who maintain traditional data center systems have always objected to having IT assets managed by systems outside their firewalls. Years ago, when I predicted that this would happen, people would often laugh and not believe me. The signs were clear, even back then.

Today, Gartner research predicts that 35% of data center infrastructure will be managed from a cloud-based control plane by 2027. According to Gartner, CIOs should prioritize the development of cloud-native infrastructure within their data centers. It is important to understand that the rise of public cloud usage will heavily impact many enterprise systems both inside and outside of public clouds. This is likely to happen for a few major reasons.

First, most of the operational innovations, including the use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, occur within public cloud providers. It’s reasonable to assume that we will utilize cloud technology to oversee all systems, regardless of their location.

Second, it’s cheaper to leverage these types of operations models, on average. It’s better technology with a much lower total cost of ownership.

Why in the cloud?

The advantages of using cloud-based operations tools to control on-premises operations include:

  • Scalability and flexibility. Cloud-based operational tools enable companies to easily adjust their operations according to demand. The elastic resources of the cloud can efficiently manage workload fluctuations.
  • Centralized management. Cloud-based tools help businesses manage on-premises and cloud-based operations from a single centralized platform, ensuring consistency and efficiency.
  • Automation and efficiency. Cloud-based operations tools provide businesses with powerful automation capabilities to automate repetitive tasks and processes. This increases operational efficiency and reduces manual labor and human errors.

Why not in the cloud?

So, what are the disadvantages? A few come to mind:

  • Connectivity and latency. These are the big ones. A stable, fast internet connection is crucial for managing on-premises operations using cloud-based tools. Unstable or delayed network connections can negatively affect tool performance and disrupt operations.
  • Data security and privacy. Cloud-based tools used for on-premises operations may transmit and store sensitive data in the cloud. Organizations may worry about security, but these concerns are often overblown. Research shows that cloud-based systems have superior security mechanisms compared to those on premises. Nonetheless, some may still perceive data off-site as a disadvantage.
  • Dependency on a cloud provider. Be careful using cloud-based tools for on-premises operations. Dependence on a single provider’s infrastructure can occur, but this is often an overblown concern. Make sure your infrastructure is not solely designed through one cloud provider unless you have carefully considered the design and it makes sense for specific business reasons.
  • Regulatory compliance. When managing on-premises operations with cloud-based tools, companies may face compliance challenges. These can arise due to different regulatory requirements across industries and regions. Despite these demands, companies must maintain control over their data to fulfill their obligations.
  • Pesky vendor lock-in. There is a common belief that using cloud-based tools for on-premises operations can result in vendor lock-in. However, this is not specific to cloud-based tools and applies to all operations tools regardless of their location.

The question of whether cloud-based IT operations will become a widespread reality is no longer relevant. The focus now is on how quickly it will become the norm. My prediction is that it will gradually gain ground through the deployment of a few cloud-based operations systems to meet specific needs, ultimately becoming ubiquitous without much fanfare.

As many operational technology providers shift to a “cloud-only” model, it is likely that they will no longer offer on-premises alternatives. Maintaining two types of deployments can be costly, so most providers may choose to focus solely on cloud-based systems. This decision is influenced by the investments made by other providers in this area.

At the end of the day, the downsides are mostly based on perceptions rather than facts. The facts will lead to improved and more efficient operations that are less costly. It doesn’t matter how we reach our goals or where we find the solutions.

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