The truth about digital transformation: Cloud and on-premise

Digital transformation will no doubt benefit businesses of all types, but there’s no definitive way to ensure it is implemented effectively. Every organisation approaches it in their own unique way with their own opinions on the storage which should be supporting it.

Pure Storage recently surveyed over 9,000 IT leaders for its 2017 data economy report to find out how they balance their infrastructure and application investments for digital business. It provided an insight on digital transformation and an opportunity to learn how the industry really feels about this critically important topic.

The storage story

Attitudes to cloud and on-premises storage revealed by the research were especially interesting. Storage and application workload choices seem to follow similar patterns: 43% of storage currently runs on traditional on-premises infrastructure, compared to 23% running in public clouds and 22% in private clouds. Looking ahead, public cloud is the most appealing storage option for many organisations.

>See also: The truth about digital transformation

Indeed, 58% of respondents plan to increase public cloud storage in the next 18-24 months, compared with 50% planning more use of private cloud and 45% greater use of SaaS. This compared to just 34% who say they intend to make more use of on-premises storage in the same time-frame. It looks like a significant impetus towards cloud storage is evident.

Balancing priorities

But the report speculates that businesses may be rushing too quickly towards public cloud. Leaders clearly believe they understand the benefits of public cloud storage, which are seen as availability (50%), cost savings (47%) and ease of use (40%.) But security is a drawback for a significant 38%. And when it comes to on-premises storage, security is the main benefit for 49% of respondents. In fact, security concerns have led two thirds of businesses to reduce their use of public cloud storage in the past year. So it’s surprising that such a large number of businesses plan to increase their public cloud investment.

Public cloud: the easy option?

Interestingly, the report findings suggest that businesses may initially invest in public cloud because the cost savings look attractive, but then they find the anticipated savings fail to materialise.

>See also: The truth about digital transformation: The great workload dilemma

Alongside security concerns, this may be why businesses are going full circle back to on-premises storage. But to my mind, it’s not a question of one choice being ‘better’ than the other – it’s a case of making the right choices for the right reasons.

Emergency measures

What’s not in doubt is that unstructured data is creating ever-growing pressure on storage. Are businesses seeing public cloud as the cheapest and simplest option for storing their data mountains? This approach could be viewed as understandable. But IT leaders need to make sure they take a step back and evaluate all their storage options before they invest. They need to ensure that the data they have is stored in the right way, in the right place, so that they can get value from that data.

With this in mind there’s growing momentum behind adopting a hybrid and multi-cloud approach to storage.

Ultimately, cloud and on-premise should complement rather than compete. Reassuringly 72% of all respondents agree that this should be the case. This comes as no surprise given the demands of modern data-intensive workloads, such as AI and machine learning projects.

>See also: Taking control of an organisation’s dataflow in 2018

It’s workloads like this where cloud and all-flash on-premise systems can be used together to great effect to provide a high performance data environment. Delivering the performance requirements and cloud burst compute needed for these data intensive tasks, while also meeting strict data security, governance and compliance requirements modern businesses have to comply with.

With demand from data-intensive workloads like this only increasing, there’s no doubt that the future is hybrid. So to stay ahead, IT teams need to act now and take a flexible, hybrid, approach to achieving the right data storage outcome for their business.


Sourced by James Petter, VP EMEA, Pure Storage

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...