INTERVIEW: Cloud or on-prem, that is the question!

25 February 2020

Interview with Kamil Folkert, PhD, CTO and Member of the Board at 3Soft S.A.

3Soft: Both practitioners and theorists debate whether it is better to use cloud or on-prem in data management. What is your opinion?

Both solutions have pros and cons.
One of the most common factors in the “pros and cons” analysis is the cost aspect. For repetitive data processing, it is generally more beneficial to rely on servers purchased on-prem. However, it is worth noting that the price of cloud computing is dropping faster than hardware prices, which might mean that in a few years’ time the financial argument will no longer be a decisive one.
Further aspects are flexibility and scalability. For non-deterministic processes executed on large datasets, cloud flexibility is a key factor in favor of choosing this method. Compared to traditional data center development – ordering, manufacturing, delivering and installing servers – cloud solutions have an advantage. Cloud scalability directly translates into the agility of the whole IT in terms of providing response to business. Therefore, in a world where business decisions are made at an increasingly rapid pace, flexibility and scalability will increasingly gain in importance.
What is also worth mentioning is the issue of simplified implementation of architectures. In the cloud, thanks to the use of mechanisms guaranteed by cloud providers, such as: data georeplication, automatic failover in the event of location failures or redundant power or Internet connections, many of the risks associated with maintaining business continuity can be handled, at least in part, using these mechanisms. This is included of the price of the infrastructure – as long as the system architecture has been properly designed.
There is no doubt that given the challenges of modern business, which involve analyzing huge data sets in real time, cloud solutions are becoming increasingly attractive.

There is no doubt that given the challenges of modern business, which involve analyzing huge data sets in real time, cloud solutions are becoming increasingly attractive.

3Soft: Does this mean that the traditional on-prem models are becoming history?

Not necessarily. Many companies have competences and standards mainly in the field of on-prem infrastructure management, which makes the potential process of migration to the cloud long, as it requires the development of new know-how. As a result, migration decisions are postponed or completely suspended. It is therefore advisable to use the advantages of both models skillfully in such a way as to reduce risks and costs, and at the same time not lose operational flexibility or agility. This means building an infrastructure based on a hybrid model. A skillful combination of cloud and on-prem is a solution that we usually recommend to our clients.

3Soft: How, in practice, do you and your clients work out the most effective solutions?

At 3Soft we focus primarily on business needs analysis. Our goal is to build a technological “chassis” to support solutions to business problems. This means that we have the competence to develop an optimal architecture in the hybrid model, but it is not an end in itself. The services we provide to our clients are assessed through the prism of business optimization rather than delivering technology-level solutions.

A skillful combination of cloud and on-prem is a solution that we usually recommend to our clients. At 3Soft we focus primarily on business needs analysis. Our goal is to build a technological “chassis” to support solutions to business problems.

3Soft: Does the hybrid model work for all clients?

Of course, it is much easier to pursue the hybrid-model approach for clients who do not operate on regulated markets. The requirements related to specific regulations in certain sectors, and the associated restrictions on the use of public cloud providers, cause some difficulties. However, this does not mean that customers in sectors such as banking, energy or healthcare cannot benefit from hybrid solutions at all.
For other sectors, for example retail, there scope for action is much broader. However, our experience shows that the scope and use of the cloud is often also regulated internally at the corporate headquarters level.
It’s all about knowing the realities and needs of the business to optimally select and plan the areas of migration to the cloud, while implementing all required security mechanisms, high availability and other standards and good practices functioning in a given enterprise. The appropriate use of hybrid solutions provides new perspectives for business analysis, which until a few years ago were not possible due to technological limitations.

3Soft: Does this compromise approach meet with the approval of cloud providers?

It definitely does. The possibilities offered by hybrid cloud computing have been recognized by the largest companies in the industry. 3Soft successfully cooperates with the company Cloudera on the implementation of such solutions at clients’ premises. The new platform offered by Cloudera – Cloudera Data Platform – allows implementation of data processing in the hybrid model using resources available in data center and public clouds of different providers.
The key functionality of CDP in this area is to provide a single point of management for the hybrid environment, which allows to unify the principles of data governance, security rules or processes of provisioning and scaling of computing resources. Another important feature of this platform is the ability to select and install only the necessary components of the Hadoop ecosystem. By reducing the system architecture to an optimal shape, the solutions provided are cost effective and require less effort to maintain their continuity.

3Soft successfully cooperates with the company Cloudera on the implementation of hybrid solutions for clients. The new Cloudera Data Platform allows the implementation of data processing in the hybrid model using resources available in the data center and public clouds of different providers.

3Soft: Can you tell us more about the cooperation between 3Soft and Cloudera?

3Soft was the first company in Poland to join the ecosystem of Cloudera’s partners at the Silver Status level. For us, the partnership with Cloudera means complementing our experience in providing Data Management solutions with the latest technologies. Cloudera’s strategy for developing data management tools, building hybrid environments and implementing data science models, supported by an open source philosophy, is in line with our strategy for delivering holistic solutions to clients. Therefore, we offer Cloudera’s solutions with full confidence and we perceive our partnership as a symbiosis that translates into the achievement of specific business goals of our clients.