By Tom Paquin
“Cloud” has long since emerged from the ether and cemented itself not as the future, but as the present. This has been accelerated (as have all things) by COVID-19, as businesses grapple with a newly-dispersed workforce and the challenges that such a scenario invariably uncover. With the march towards cloud, developing products and maintaining support for “dinosaur” on-prem systems seems like more and more of a liability. In a world where everybody wants to sell you a subscription, why devote resources to a one-time purchase product that you’ll need to support with bug updates?
So, unsurprisingly, legacy vendors have been sprinting away from their on-prem products at an breakneck pace. Of course, for the businesses that employ these products, especially in service, there are invariably a great deal of questions that need to be answered. How long will my current build be supported? What does an upgrade path look like? What if my business requires on-prem for regulatory or security reasons? Let’s dig into some of these:
Building a Bridge
So I’ll start by saying—if you need an on-prem solution and your on-prem solution provider is unequivocally moving away from on-prem, you’re going to have to find a solution with your current vendor, find a new on-prem vendor, or perhaps own, build, and update your system yourself, which is an incredibly daunting task. For the rest of you, read on.
The bottom line is that if your vendor has announced an end to support of on-prem products, you’re going to start thinking of your bridge. Whether they’ll coordinate a transition to a cloud product or not is certainly a consideration. But it’s important to ask: If you’re going to be doing a whole new implementation, does it make sense to keep this product?
Realistically, a dramatic business change in a software vendor is a perfect opportunity to take a step back and evaluate the market. Part of that is of course auditing your own tech stack and decide, based on what you know about your competitors, if it’s not time to look at what features and functions have become the industry standard.
Hey, and what do you know? We covered that in our Back to Basics series last year!
Obviously there are many dimensions to a new implementation, including usability, features, price, integration, and so on. But if you’re looking for a viable solution to give you on-prem flexibility, you should look to containerized products.
Containerization and the Future of On-Prem
As I covered recently, containerization, or Kubernetes, or whatever you’d like to call it, is the act of building a service instance that is modularly developed. A containerized cloud product can live in the multi-tenant cloud world, the single tenant world of a cloud managed by the end user, or, crucially, the containerized product can be thrown into an on-prem server system under your direct control.
While this is in some ways more complex that a standard on-prem delivery, it, for most businesses, represents the future of what on-prem really means. Of course, you may evaluate your needs, decide that a single-tenant provides enough support, and that’s that. But that degree of functional flexibility is a key component of best-in-class service applications.