What Your In-House IT Department Can Learn From Cloud-Computing

Image by Flickr user stuant63

Image by Flickr user stuant63

Although it’s undergone transformations in recent years, the datacenter remains inelegant and unwieldy. For an industry that advocates for agility and efficiency, the traditional datacenter seems archaic.

IT staffs operating on-premises datacenters need to take some lessons from the datacenter’s cutting edge cousin, the cloud. With the exception of non-predictable workloads, utilizing the cloud isn’t about cost savings. It can help you make operations run quickly and smoothly, letting you focus on the most strategic parts of your business.

Here are the best practices that datacenters can pull from their cloud counterparts (while maintaining the lower costs and perks of an on-premises environment).


Typical datacenters are a mishmash of equipment and technologies driven by individual departmental requirements. As datacenters evolved, they needed new technologies that made sense at the time, but according to Kevin Lawton, resulted in an “unsustainably complex and expensive proposition.” In addition to creating islands of technology, IT functional teams also became increasingly siloed.

The tangle of technologies makes it difficult to collect and analyze meaningful performance metrics and makes it more challenging to keep firmware up-to-date. It’s arduous to keep product versions upgraded and proper training and certification in place.

On the other hand, cloud computing enables “ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources…that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.” Making datacenters readily available encourages agility and adaptability.

Key to accessibility is utilizing a truly software-defined architecture that eliminates proprietary hardware and instead puts intelligence into the software. Whether local or in datacenters across the globe, administration should be simple and intuitive. Any effort spent on infrastructure is effort wasted.


Two significant advantages offered by the cloud are speed and agility. Traditional infrastructure creates massive hurdles to achieve such capabilities in on-premises environments. Providing new compute instances or storage can take weeks or months.

Public cloud utilizes commodity servers, distributed file systems, and aggregated local storage rather than monolithic SANs. As a result, administrators can provision new applications and thousands of VMs in minutes.

Organizations should seek similar architectural solutions that offer faster and easier deployment along with process streamlining. By encouraging and promoting agility, an in-house datacenter that imitates the cloud can provide a rapid response to its customers.


Public cloud can make compliance more difficult to maintain due to shared pools of infrastructure. A healthcare provider, for example, has patient information coexisting on the same infrastructure as other firms. And a security breach is particularly challenging for public cloud users to mitigate.

A private datacenter allows optimal control of security and data access. The key is to implement infrastructure and virtualization solutions that have security designed into the solutions from the beginning rather than ones that are bolted on. Limiting product boundaries and access points helps ensure an extremely secure environment.


Public Cloud will often make economic sense for workloads that are non-predictable by nature. If, for example, an organization setting up a new website does not know if it will receive 1,000 hits or 1,000,000 hits a day, then it would be expensive to purchase the infrastructure for the best-case scenario if it fails to materialize. Even Nutanix cannot make 1,000 hits at a 1,000,000 hit capacity cost effective.

When workloads require measurable predictable performance, 3-tier on-premises environments are less expensive. Nutanix web-scale infrastructure is a proven alternative that enables still much larger cost savings.

The number one benefit enabled by Nutanix web-scale, however, isn’t a reduction in cost. It’s increased business agility. Start delivering IT-as-a-Service to bring a competitive advantage to your business through the simplicity, scalability, and resiliency of public cloud while maintaining the control and security of on-premises IT.

Thanks to @vmmike130 for edits and suggestions.

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