It’s the question on every business’ mind — what is the right infrastructure for big data analytics? Should it have a dedicated in-house infrastructure or should it completely rely on cloud? Perhaps hybrid infrastructure is the way to go — storing sensitive data in house and the rest on cloud. According to Logic Monitor, more than 80% of organizations will see a complete transition to cloud by 20201. Should every business join the cloud bandwagon? How can a business hope to remain competitive if it prioritizes in-house infrastructure in the age of cloud? Let’s find out the right infrastructure to go with for big data and analytics.
On-premise infrastructure refers to data located physically in the confines of an organization’s data center. This is in direct contrast to cloud-based infrastructure which runs and is hosted on remote servers.
On a cloud infrastructure, the hardware and software components can be rented by an organization from a public cloud server. Cloud services may include storage, computation and networking capabilities.
A hybrid infrastructure is a mix of on-premise and cloud. Orchestration between the two platforms allows workloads to move as changes occur between computing needs and costs. This allows for optimum data deployment and greater flexibility in business operations. Let’s see how the three fare on different parameters.
On-premise: Initial investment tends to be high, as not just development but associated IT and hardware costs must be borne.
Cloud: Initial investment is low and no extra hardware is needed. Also, costs tend to become predictable over time.
Hybrid: The ability to use cloud-based services as and when required means organizations pay more only when extra computing is needed.
The IT team will be responsible for ensuring the availability of services at all times and disaster recovery operations.Cloud:
The vendor is responsible for security and a solid backup plan for recovery of data.Hybrid:
A lot depends on which operation the organization conducts in-house and which it computes on the cloud. In any case, the organization retains the option to safeguard its processes and data as it sees fit.
Since the organization has full control over the entire IT department, it can constantly monitor situations and predict when and why services might be down.Cloud:
Cloud-based services can be accessed from anywhere in the world at any time, provided security checks are cleared. However, valuable data has to be entrusted to the vendor.Hybrid:
This is the best of both worlds. In case of any problems on-premise, operations can be conducted on the cloud. And in case the cloud is inaccessible for some reason, on-premise operations can pick up the slack.
Long-term planning and a commitment of resources are required to expand the scope of on-premise infrastructure operations.Cloud:
Little effort and time are needed to scale up or scale down as per requirements. Wastage of resources is also minimized.Hybrid:
Depending on which particular operations the organization conducts on-premise and which are conducted on the cloud, scalability varies.
The organization can estimate risks and take all logical steps to reduce the same.Cloud:
The cloud vendor holds all control.Hybrid: The organization has the freedom to create security solutions for sensitive data and critical operations, and rely on the vendor for the rest.
On-premise: Customization is feasible, but additional costs may be incurred when software is updated by the vendor.
Cloud: Huge scope for customization and the latest innovations and improvements are available in the form of updates.
Hybrid — Customization is easy, provided the on-premise infrastructure is flexible.
Implementation process can be completed immediately or in installments as per the requirements of the organization.Cloud:
Can be swiftly implemented and workers do not need long training programs to work with the same.
Hybrid — Implementation is fast as the on-premise infrastructure can be used as a readymade launch pad for cloud-based operations, many of which will have already been tested and provisioned by the vendor.
On-premise computing’s capabilities are enhanced when it is supported by stable cloud platforms. The scalability of cloud-based infrastructure is a plus factor considering the truly gigantic amounts of data an organization needs to deal with.
However, not all organizations are capable of making the transition to business intelligence and analytics in a cloud. Also, innovation in on-premises architecture continues, and it is as capable as a cloud infrastructure in handling data complexity and volume, agility and real-time responses.
To choose between the three, an organization needs to consider its current business capabilities and future business aims, requirements, growth prospects, and strategic roadmap. This will enable it to decide whether on-premises, cloud or a customized hybrid of both will best suit its requirements. How they want to manage and use data gathered will also play a decisive factor.
In the short term, hybrid infrastructure is beneficial. This gives an organization time to transition smoothly to 100% cloud-based architecture if that is its objective. On-premises innovation and cloud-based analytics can be aligned to yield maximum results and evolve inter-connectedly. The usage of one or the other can also be scaled up or down as per requirement.
In the long term, the focus should be on the adoption of cloud-based infrastructure. Although the vast majority still depends on on-premises analytics, a partial or complete transition to cloud-based infrastructure will be unavoidable, if only to remain cost-effective compared to the competition.