The Competition Between On-Prem and Cloud Is Over – Hybrid Wins

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Read more about author Amit Rathi.

Many organizations, when faced with the question of how to manage their workloads, ask themselves: on-premises or cloud, pitting the two against each other. But the reality is that most enterprises are operating in the world of “and,” meaning they have workloads on-prem and in the cloud – and that little three-letter word makes a world of difference.

According to the State of Multi-Cloud Management survey report, 98% of respondents have workloads running in the public cloud. Of course, while nearly all organizations have workloads in the public cloud, it doesn’t follow that all of their workloads are in the cloud. In fact, only 13% said that more than three-quarters of their workloads are running in public clouds. The majority – 78% – have between 26% and 75% of their workloads in public clouds. This means that the remaining workloads must be in non-public-cloud environments. In other words, most organizations are managing a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Specifically, the same study found that, on average, 17% of enterprise workloads continue to run on premises while 22% are in a private cloud.

Furthermore, with multiple cloud service providers (CSPs) to choose from, the public cloud isn’t one monolithic environment. Most organizations – 82%, according to the survey – use more than one CSP, which means they’re managing an infrastructure that is both hybrid and multi-cloud.

Why “Or” Is a Problem

Managing a hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure with an “or” mindset means you’ll tend to frame each of those critical environments as its own distinct ecosystem. It is true that on-prem, private cloud, and public cloud are all different, just as AWS, Azure, and GCP public clouds are all different – they each have their own unique characteristics. But while there may be cases where an application or service is fully contained within just one, it’s highly likely that the majority span across these environments. For example, you could have data living on premises that is used by an application in one public cloud and by another application in a different public cloud.

Given the interconnectedness of all these environments in terms of ongoing workload and application operation, it can be problematic if visibility into (and management of) those environments is siloed. For example, by treating each workload and environment separately, you would have no way of knowing which public or private cloud provider is the best fit to meet your specific performance and risk criteria or whether you’re optimizing capacity or cost across your cloud instances. Without this knowledge, you’re likely overspending and overusing when you don’t have to, making it difficult to achieve business objectives and minimize potential issues when the unforeseen inevitably happens.

How “And” Can Fix It

Alternatively, when you have an “and” mindset, you’re no longer managing a collection of independent environments but rather one interconnected infrastructure. This is because you’re seeing on-prem and cloud as partners and you understand the processes and tools used within each and how they relate to each other. 

Despite what you might think, you don’t need to replace all of the environment-specific tools you have in place just to achieve this mindset. But you do need to layer on capabilities to consolidate and analyze the data so that you can then enable the appropriate actions in response. Yes, this requires investment. However, when you consider the time spent manually stitching together data and reports, the inefficiency of “swivel-chair” monitoring and management, and the impact of blind spots wherever there’s a “seam” between silos, it’s clear the investment will quickly pay off. 


The reality is that most organizations haven’t implemented this “and” mindset. Many organizations find their biggest challenge is getting a global view of utilization and spend across their hybrid infrastructure: 73% of cloud leaders from the same survey stated above mentioned that their teams work in silos. But respondents also struggle with keeping costs under control (44%) and staying optimized (40%). 

With proper hybrid infrastructure management and migration planning – taking the “and” approach – it’s only from this vantage point that organizations can truly optimize their entire infrastructure for better performance and reduced risk at a lower cost.