Friday, February 23, 2018

Will CDP Buyers Consider Private Clouds as On-Premise Deployment?

Most Customer Data Platforms are Software as a Service products, meaning they run on servers managed by the vendor. But some clients prefer to keep their data in-house. So before releasing the CDP Vendor Comparison report – now available here – I added a line for on-premises deployment.

This seemed like a perfect fit: a clear yes/no item that some buyers consider essential. But it turned out to raise several issues:

- on-premises vs on-premise. I originally used “on-premise”, which is how the term is typically rendered. One of the commenters noted this is a common error. A bit of research showed it’s been a topic of discussion but on-premise is now more widely used relating to computer systems.  On-premises actually sounds a bit pedantic to me, but I’m using it to avoid annoying people who care. (Interestingly, no one seems too concerned about whether to use the hyphen. I guess even grammar geeks pick their battles.)

- private clouds. Several vendors argued that on-premises is an old-fashioned concept that’s largely been replaced by private clouds as a solution for companies that want to retain direct control over their systems and data. This resonated: I recalled seeing this survey from 451 Research showing that conventional on-premises [they actually used “on-premise”] deployments now account for just one-quarter of enterprise applications and the share is shrinking.

Percentage of Applications by Venue:
24% Conventional (on-premise, non-cloud)
18% on-premise private cloud
15% hosted private cloud
14% public cloud
13% off-premise non-cloud
Source: 451 Research, Strategy Briefing: Success Factors for Managing Hybrid IT, 2017

My initial interpretation of this was the on-premises private clouds meet the same goals as conventional on-premises deployments, in the sense of giving the company’s IT department complete control. But in discussions with CDP vendors, it turned out that they weren’t necessarily differentiating between on-premises private clouds and off-premise private clouds, which might be running on private servers (think: Rackspace) or as “virtual private servers” on public clouds (think: Amazon Web Services). Clearly there are different degrees of control involved in each of these and companies that want an on-premises solution probably have their limits on how far they’ll go in the private cloud direction.

- public clouds. One vendor speculated that most remaining conventional deployments are old systems that can’t be migrated to the cloud. The implication was that buyers who could run a CDP in the cloud would gladly do this instead of insisting on an on-premises configuration. This survey from Denodo suggested otherwise: while it found that 77% of respondents were using a public cloud and 50% were using a virtual private cloud, it also found that 68% are NOT storing “sensitive data” in the public cloud. Presumably the customer data in a CDP qualifies as sensitive. I don't know whether the respondents would consider a “virtual private cloud” as part of the public cloud.  But I think it’s reasonable to assume that a considerable number of buyers reject external servers of any sort as an option for CDP deployment, and that “on-premises” (including on-premises private clouds) is a reasonable term to describe their preferred configuration.

1 comment:

Narasee said...

Interesting but somewhat confusing article.

We are working with several banks and other financial services institutions as well as one large consulting firm that all have several versions of on-premise, in fact pretty much every iteration you mention here. However, the distinction is very clear to us. When we use the term “on-premise” we do not mean the physical environment. It just means that the client’s IT staff control the environment, provision resources and we are at the mercy of their IT/infrastructure staff, as we (and our business clients) have found to our cost and chagrin.

This negates one of the primary attractions of offering our software on our space within the “public” cloud, i.e. the ability to tune performance by modulating the availability of resources and optimizing configurations. The other complexity is that even public clouds, e.g. AWS, GCP, Azure, differ from each other in some key aspects, so that is a bit of a challenge, but not a very big one.

On the other hand, "on-premise" it helps our business clients get through their internal data security hurdles, so I suppose we cannot argue with that. 😊