back to article Is the writing on the wall for on-premises IT? This survey seems to say so

Research outfit 451 has run a survey that should get the pulses of on-premises IT suppliers beating faster. The standout finding was that 60 per cent of the surveyed enterprises say they will run the majority of their IT outside the confines of enterprise data centres by the end of 2019. Their IT is moving off premises to SaaS …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    45 per cent pointed to business intelligence

    29 per cent mentioned machine learning/artificial intelligence

    28 per cent said big data

    Someone's been to some IT sales conference

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: LOL

      It would appear that "keeping the business running" wasn't one of the tick boxes on offer. One wonders who they actually interviewed for this survey, or what "enterprises" they "worked" for.

      1. VinceH

        Re: LOL

        "One wonders who they actually interviewed for this survey, or what "enterprises" they "worked" for."

        Or how loaded the questions were.

        I followed the link to see if they were available, but I'd have to create an account with them so sod that.

        1. dgc03052

          Re: LOL

          Shouldn't it be "Or how loaded they were when questioned." instead of "Or how loaded the questions were"?

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          I followed the link as well

          One thing I remarked on that page was this :

          The survey represents approximately 1,000 completed surveys from pre-qualified IT decision-makers primarily based in North America, Europe and Asia

          Given that the top results concern everything trending in the Cloud these days, I'm guessing that those 1000 "pre-qualified" (?) IT decision-makers were not working for companies that have only 20 employees.

          So this is a survey of 1000 large companies with hundreds of employees or more, raking in tens of millions per quarter. And we're being told that IT is going to be extracted from on-premise.

          Reminds me of outsourcing call centers. That became very big, and then people starting hating it, and now it's not so big any more. This is going to be the same thing.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: LOL

      My previous emplyoer won't be, they have major industry customers (they make factories for other companies). In many of their contracts with those customers, there are explicit clauses that all information about the project will be securely stored within their own infrastructure, they explicitly aren't allowed to store the data on external servers or cloud services.

      In fact, I have yet to work at a company that looks favourably at web services.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOL

      Outsourcing has always been about arse-covering, nothing more. The cost is never less, the SLA never better but you can pass on the neck wringing when shit goes bad. Experiencing same mindset where I work where "any new app must be hosted" is the current mantra. Never mind that that could then result in dozens of different hosting locations for apps where data has to be pulled together but hey, CTO's arse is covered.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOL

      Or they thought they were playing buzzword bingo

  2. 0laf

    What's stopping them? Greed mostly

    We think about it we really do, but suppliers seem to look at the change to SAAS as an opportunity to price gouge horrifically and making keeping things on site look cheap.

    Stack of money icon needed.

    1. regredit

      Re: What's stopping them? Greed mostly

      Let's see Amazon had patches for Meltdown/Spectre deployed a month prior to the advisory was released.

      My Amazon virtual machines have had several processor upgrades in the past few years. You don't buy a new server every year to run your software. This last vulnerability make almost all servers obsolete! Good luck clearing that SOC SSAE-16 on your old server gear. Cloud Services make disaster recovery affordable to the smallest shops. The way Microsoft is pricing their software you won't be able to afford on-prem solutions. Meltdown/Spectre and Harvey/Irma are wakeup calls to get off of on-prem solutions.

      On premises is dead long live SaaS brokered services via SAML 2.0!

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: What's stopping them? Greed mostly

        Dunno about you, but I regularly need to transfer several hundred MB from my desktop to or from my local server.

        As do many of my colleagues.

        Oddly, our total WAN bandwidth is under a hundredth of our total LAN bandwidth. I know that's a hard concept to wrap your head around, but that's why we need our servers to be on premises - and one reason why we replicate between satellite offices.

        The only "cloud" that's useful to most real businesses is a CDN for their public-facing website.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What's stopping them? Greed mostly

          Most businesses don't even need a CDN for their WWW presence. Most can throw a simple BSD or Linux based web server (email, ftp, etc. as needed) on an old Pentium, hang it off a DSL line, and achieve perfectly adequate performance for their needs.

          Note that I said "most" before you poo-poo this comment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's stopping them? Greed mostly

            Most businesses don't even need a CDN for their WWW presence. Most can throw a simple BSD or Linux based web server (email, ftp, etc. as needed) on an old Pentium, hang it off a DSL line, and achieve perfectly adequate performance for their needs.

            But why would they, when:

            1. You can get similarly adequate VPS hosting in a data centre for £5 / month

            2. Most small businesses don't have a BSD/Linux expert on hand to deal with patching, hardware swapouts etc.

            As a hobby project, sure, go for it. But for a real business web presence??

            Most businesses *depend* on their web presence these days. Tell the boss that the server under the desk and the office DSL line are single points of failure for web presence and E-mail, and what do you think she will say? Especially when you could be offline for several *days* while the DSL line is repaired.

            By the time you've paid extra to get a static IP on the DSL line, you could be hosted on a VPS.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: What's stopping them? Greed mostly

              "Most businesses *depend* on their web presence these days."

              No. They don't. In fact, most businesses don't even have web presence.

              The rest of yours is the equivalent of a pre-teen getting upset when told to drink water after they ask for a soda.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off-site IT...

    So, when you spill coffee on your laptop trackpad; the laptop has to be sent off to be fixed.

    When you inevitably get a dodgy keyboard from eating sandwiches at your desk (due to the lack of time to take a lunch hour), the laptop has to be sent off, rather than fixed on site.

    When you need the OS image re-installing because of issue x? One sends off the laptop?

    When you need a software install that isn't something in the pre-approved catalogue... You send off the laptop? Or just demand administrative privileges and do it yourself...?

    I think I might retrain as a courier. It's looking like there will be an awful lot of work in that vein in the near future. IT support was always about more than just remote database administration, was it not?

    Also, where you say cloud, I say mainframe client. The 1960's default architecture has simply been rebranded. Such architecture have their place, but it is by no means a panacea; and especially not todays desktop "thin clients" suffering from dependency hell. Obsolete Java and Oracle clients, DLL's, IE6/7/8/9/10/11, Node.js... I could list others. Somehow, those wonderful text-only mainframe terminals look rather more appealing to maintain than a Windows n terminal onto a "cloud" remote service.

    I still maintain Fortran IV code in production, and am all the more thankful for having control. God help anyone coming after me having to learn what it does. Amongst other things it emulates the input of a punch card, using a text file as a proxy. Good luck finding any offshore provider that would be able to provide any kind of support for that!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Off-site IT...

      The 1960's default architecture has simply been rebranded.

      I've been saying this for years.

      The PC was invented and became popular for a reason: it gave everyone independence of the mainframe.

      For some reason, people no longer think this is a good idea.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they factored in that those who had time to answer the survey weren't too busy sorting out their on premises kit to answer it?

  5. LeahroyNake

    Not for me thanks

    My webserver is the only thing not 'on site' mainly because it's an easy attack surface and separate from the important stuff. £50 a month and can be restored or moved to a different supplier as quick as the DNS updates.

    Everything else I am responsible for. Rather than some overworked support person in a different country that tbh cares a lot less about my 'stuff' than I do.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Not for me thanks

      indeed. if our internet and backup goes down then we lose external email and the internet. not the domain controller and storage (and possibly apps if you are balls deepnin saas)

  6. Robert Moore

    I doubt it.

    I am starting to see companies pulling back from the cloud.

    I am seriously thinking about specialising in systems repatriation.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I doubt it.

      I've been making pretty good money pulling businesses out of "the cloud" (whatever that means) for around seven years now.

      IMO, "the cloud" is a marketing meme that is long past its sell-by date.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: I doubt it.

        Seriously, jake?

        7 years ago was Cloud Beginning.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I doubt it.

          Try closer to 70 years, DaM. What do you think the old computer bureaus were?

          Once small computers became ubiquitous, those days were mostly behind us ... until the marketing geniuses at the likes of Amazon decided to send computing back to the virtual stone age, starting in 2006ish, followed by several other major players offering similar services in 2008ish. The early adopters of this wave of centralized computing were the ones I was rescuing 7ish years ago.

          If you're talking about "away in the cloud somewhere", meaning the speaker has absolutely zero idea how computers and networking actually work, just eyeball any textbook on the subject from the '80s. Almost all of them have many drawings with a cloud-shaped squiggle to indicate where the "too difficult for management to understand" bits hang out and work their magic.

          If you're talking about the name "cloud computing", it was already a fairly common meme by the time Y2K rolled around.

  7. Mark 110

    No context

    Wheres the context?

    If its just percentage of respondents said . . then its meaningless. If 2% of respondents are enormous (Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Centrica, Barclays, etc) and 98% of respondents are small to medium then its not a big issue for the on premise suppliers. Issue yes. Shut down and give up- no.

    Unilever probably buy 100 times more IT then the very biggest company on the FTSE250.

    So at least do some analysis on the figures rather than just spew them out as a scare story.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud access

    It is all very well to keep talking about having business data in the cloud but what happens when access to that data goes down?

    We were off line for just on 48 hours earlier in the week when a trunk cable was cut shutting down a large swath of the area phones and data. For us it meant that we twiddled our thumbs for a while. Our clients carried on as normal and when everything came back we did the off site backups and checked that they didn't have any problems. They never missed a beat, something that couldn't be said if they had relied on cloud offerings.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Cloud access

      Back-up 4G connection is the answer they give, except that in my case, they are both wired up to the same street cabinet.

    2. regredit

      Re: Cloud access

      That's the exact reason it's better to be in the cloud. Imagine if your on-prem gear was in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. If you had all your stuff in the cloud including phones you could leave Houston and continue on business as usual from somewhere that isn't under water.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Cloud access

        As Houston is in a severe weather region any company with a DR plan would have implimented it with the DR site somewhere a long, long way from that area say Nevada. Having a DR site seceptable to the same disaster as the primary one is just silly.

        In the UK, it is like having you main DC in docklands (a prime terrorist target) and your DR site under the flightpath to Heathrow 500ft from the end of the runway.

        1. regredit

          Re: Cloud access

          That was the point. When your not on prem and are in the cloud you can shift your site from Virginia to Ohio to Oregon to Hong Kong to Frankfurt. The cloud has leveled the playing field by providing tools once only available to the largest enterprise organizations.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Cloud access

            The kit is not important.

            The people are important.

            Your employees are the reason the business exists. If the employees cannot work, the business does not run.

            Moving the IT somewhere else doesn't solve the fact that your employees are currently in a disaster relief centre.

            The business is still down.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Cloud access

        Either you go down or you don't.

        It depends on so many things.

        Just don't have the gear that you need "here" to be "there", unless having it "here" is meaningless when you can't reach "there" anyway.

  9. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Cyclical Market

    The cloud is a cyclical market as it has been around in various guises for a long time. It waxes and wains as the PHBs look for a trendy way to be cool. It is not a panacea but just another arrow in the quiver to use.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And if the US govt win the MS case? Just re-run the survey when the respondents have been told the US govt can take a look at all your documents, accounts, orders, emails etc.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Like the NSA doesn't already prowl the cold aisles.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some CEO reads something in an In-Flight magazine

    Right, off to the Cloud with everything / everybody here.

    Stop! Maybe its time to stop drinking the 'Cloud koolaid'...


    Start reading between the lines to understand the risks:



    "Meltdown & Spectre are a very big deal, allowing hackers to peek at the part of the computer where companies & individuals store passwords, encryption keys, & most anything sensitive. The flaws are unprecedented. Every PC, every smartphone, & every server in the world is exposed.

    Spectre affects all modern chips, including those made by competitors. But the easier hack, Meltdown, applies almost exclusively to Intel chips. The flaws can be patched, but those patches could slow the Intel chips by as much as 30 percent, the equivalent of turning a state-of-the-art server chip into one from 2013.

    If the slowdown turns out to be anywhere near as bad as some think it could be, it’ll amount to a major price increase for data center owners. Their plans and the costs, remain unclear. Microsoft published a post disputing Intel’s earlier assertion that users wouldn’t notice the slowdowns.

    As Google pointed out the security flaws could allow a cloud user to covertly snoop on another customer’s machine. Anyone with an Amazon Web Services account could, in theory, steal another AWS user’s login data & access their files. This sounds more comforting than it probably should. If 4 groups of researchers independently figured out the exploits, then governments with sophisticated cyberweapons programs (China, Russia, US) likely did, too.

    They won’t lead to the kind of widespread panic that resulted from the 2017 hack of Equifax’s customer database. But that could change. Hackers are seeking ways in, going to be looking for other things like this. This is a new kind of attack. This is going to linger. Long-term fixes won’t be easy.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Some CEO reads something in an In-Flight magazine

      Meltdown should be sorted -- with less processing per watt. Spectre is a bit of a problem but OTOH, who runs random programs from the Internets in the cloud servers?

      We'll see if more problems at lower layers emerge. Also, watch those VM bugs.

  12. Adair Silver badge

    'What has been will be again, ...

    what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun' (Ecclesiastes 1.9).

    Way back in the dark ages, when I started by IT career, everything was done off-site by 'bureaus'. The only difference now is the reality of the 'internet'. Back then one of us had to carry the tapes up the road for processing.

    Then suddenly it was possible to keep all our precious data on-site, and everything changed.

    In the end it's all about knowing the right tool for the job, which involves actually knowing what the 'job' is.

  13. Bill M

    The cloud will get bigger

    I believe the only certainty is that the cloud will get bigger & bigger & bigger.

    Any remaining onsite will stay pretty static,

    So the percentage in the cloud will get bigger & bigger & bigger.

    Anyone know if The Resister website is onsite or in the cloud ?

    Even Amazon hosts its stuff in the cloud and not onsite - Albeit the Amazon AWS cloud

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The cloud will get bigger

      "Even Amazon hosts its stuff in the cloud and not onsite - Albeit the Amazon AWS cloud"

      Remember the essence of cloud: somebody else's computer. If Amazon are running Amazon on Amazon Web Services (spell it out for clarity) in what way is it somebody else's computer.

      1. Bill M

        Re: The cloud will get bigger

        The Amazon auction site is a different company to Amazon Web Services so the auction site is run on somebody else's computer on hosts shared by many, many others ?

        I wonder if The Register is hosted on AWS ?

        1. regredit

          Re: The cloud will get bigger

          Exactly!... the reason why thereg is so responsive because it's being boosted by Cloudflare!

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The cloud will get bigger

          "The Amazon auction site is a different company to Amazon Web Services so the auction site is run on somebody else's computer on hosts shared by many, many others ?"

          Are you trying to tell me me that they're owned by two different corporations?

  14. steelpillow Silver badge


    F***ing Everything As A Service

    1. Bill M

      Re: FEAAS

      Never heard of FEAAS before.

      I love it !!! May I use it or do have IPR on the concept ?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: FEAAS

        There'll be a lot more feaas ...

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: FEAAS

      F***ing Everything As Always (is) Shit

      There fixed it for you (well an alternative)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top Quality Journalism!

    Including the best research and all of the marketing departments best SE optimized click-bait buzzwords!

    Now with 95% more Less! And Conclusions! And snappy charts that must mean THINGS! So many things!

    This looks like it was written by a Chatbot from Buzzfeed. Anyone who takes advice from this outfit deserves what is coming.

    Really, take a hint from the company name and tell Rutger Hauer to grab his turnout gear.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not the first to mention

    that the cloud providers must have on-premises IT

    eventually all cloud based stuff is on-premises, it (IT) must run on hardware located somewhere.

  17. SVV

    Retraining for the cloud

    "So the upshot is: get a SaaS and/or public cloud angle to your enterprise data centre, just in case this move off-premises is going to be real and sustained. If the on-premises tide goes out, you don't want to be left stuck on the sand like unwanted seaweed."

    Here's how to do this. When you need to log in or work on your on-premises servers or virtual servers, you currently use the command :

    ssh <IP address of on-prem server or VM>

    When you move to the exciting shiny new cloud, you will have to do this :

    ssh <IP address of cloud server or VM>

    You many now pronounce yourself a Certified Cloud Solution Professional.


    1. Bill M

      Re: Retraining for the cloud

      I work at home with just a laptop and an internet connection so for me everything else is off premises. Does that make me a Certified Cloud Solution Professional?

      I prefer summer days with no cloud in sight, as then I decamp outside and work on the patio. So am I a Certified Cloud Solution Professional who does not like clouds ?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, such denial, so many Luddites.

    1. jake Silver badge

      That's not denial, lad.

      That's the voice of experience.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Egg, Basket Qty 1

    Horses for courses. I imagine most large companies use a mixture of both - I know ours does. Right now a motivator for me would be the difficulty we have in hiring and keeping good infrastructure people. But something things should never be off your network.

  20. tiggity Silver badge

    Small companies

    For a small company cloud is probably a good idea as for small business, maintaining multiple geographically separated server farms to allow fail-over continuity of sevice costs money and needs plenty of staff.

    Way back, small companies would typically decide to use a "hosted solution" for their web front end etc. i.e. someone else s server farms (in which case it is essentially cloud)

    So for small companies to now use Azure, AWS or whatever is not much of a change.

    For larger companies, with the coffers and skills to maintain their own server farms it is less clear cut, you have advantage of full control of what happens but full responsibility if it all goes wrong - as has been said, lots of company high ups like to offload that responsibility elsewhere.

    GDPR might make things interesting, if you host your stuff in the cloud, then as data controller in your company (responsible for reporting breaches) you are unlikely to be aware of every single breach at your cloud provider (certainly not those that cloud provider has decided (on evidence only they know) did not affect your data), other than on your software (only part you can monitor)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judging by the way education is going (in 2017 edtech sales in the US saw chromebooks grow from 50% (eoy 2016) to 58% in Q2 and 59.6% in Q3 ) I'd say that G Suite is the popular cloud and on-premise hardware is mainly popular if it stores its data and config info in the cloud. Apple is trying to flog an on-premise clasroom-server + iPads and MS is trying to flog Surfaces Pro to staff and Chromebook-like underpowered W10S machines to students.

    I'd bet on google any sec. but we'll see.

  22. Likkie

    From a different perspective...

    Way back at the toward the end of the GFC, the cash flow at the place I worked went from a trickle to a very slow drip to non-existent. Pre-GFC my predecessor had the bright idea of purchasing all of our equipment (rather than leasing) which many people scoffed at but as it turns out it was a great decision.

    What that meant was that when we didn't have any money to pay bills, or lease payments, we could keep working because we owned all of our equipment and software. Had we not been able to do that 500 odd people would have been out of work.

    I see this cloud thing in a similar way. Had we been in the cloud at that time, when we were unable pay our bills we would have lost, or certainly jeopardised, access to the very tools we would have needed to make more money and at the time we needed them most.

    Whilst I'm not advocating purchasing everything as my predecessor had done I think that its very important to secure the tools that make your business run, bill customers and collect payments with. Renting computing time in the cloud and software as a service is not the way to do that.

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