On-premise or cloud? What about hybrid IT? These are the questions small and medium-sized businesses need to answer to create a scalable, efficient IT operation that works for them. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at all three options.


On-premise infrastructure is the traditional IT model, with hardware in a physical data centre and server room, managed by people either working for the organisation or by an IT service provider or contractor. In this environment, storage allocation and upgrades can be decided in-house, offering ultimate control.

Cloud pushers would have most organisations believe that on-premise is old-hat, but those who are not biased toward the cloud recognise the value of on-premise, and that is that when on-premise is well-supported and well-maintained, it can outperform the cloud and offer benefits in terms of latency and agility.

On-premise hasn’t stood still while the cloud has developed either. Hyperconverged infrastructure and flash storage are testament to that. The sheer power of on-premise is the biggest reason why organisations should consider it.


Everyone in the IT world wants to talk about the cloud, and especially the public cloud, which is freely available and can be adopted in minutes. It often requires next to no setup, except for choosing a monthly storage plan, and this is sometimes all an organisation needs for storage and app deployment – well, up to a point.

You see, while the public cloud is infinitely scalable, it is only infinitely scalable when you spend a lot of money. When you peel back the covers, this high-availability architecture becomes very expensive and it can trap businesses into an expensive monthly subscription model. The public cloud just isn’t cheap as you scale.

Having said that, for some enterprises, the cost will be mute and the ability to provision resources as they are needed and pay for them monthly will be useful. The capability of the public cloud to have elastic resources is its biggest strength.

Hybrid infrastructure

Hybrid infrastructure merges on-premise and cloud infrastructure together, to give organisations the best of both worlds. When we are asked by organisations, “what type of IT is best for us?”, our answer in 90% of cases is hybrid. Here’s why:

On-premise IT infrastructure eliminates latency problems; but it isn’t as available or as elastic as the public cloud. The hybrid solution gives you both these key benefits and eliminates their individual disadvantages. It gives you the agility, flexibility, performance, scalability, and economic benefits of both infrastructures.

That isn’t to say that hybrid infrastructure is easier to support and maintain than either on-premise or the cloud, however. You still need to invest in training, embrace security, get the right hardware and choose the right data centre networking solution.

In our next blog we will look at some helpful tips for SMBs looking to embrace hybrid IT.