On Premise vs. Cloud Migration: Costs, Benefits, and Considerations

On Premise vs. Cloud Migration: Costs, Benefits, and Considerations

By Marta Teneva

On Premise vs. Cloud Migration: Costs, Benefits, and Considerations

By Stefan Damyanov

On Premise vs. Cloud Migration: Costs, Benefits, and Considerations

By Kaloyan Kolev

May 7, 2024

As businesses grow, the decision between on premise vs. cloud becomes increasingly important.

With global public cloud services spending expected to reach $679 billion in 2024 and surpass $1 trillion by 2027, it’s clear that the trend is leaning towards cloud migration.

However, the choice isn’t always straightforward.

This article aims to provide you with a clear comparison between cloud migration and on-premise options, focusing on benefits, costs, and strategic value.

We’ll offer insights to help you understand which option might be best for your business, addressing common concerns around scalability, cost-efficiency, and innovation.

By the end, you should have a clearer idea of how cloud computing could fit into your business strategy or why staying on-premise might still make sense for you.

Table of Contents

What Is On-Premises Computing?

Advantages of On-Premises Infrastructure

Disadvantages of On-Premises Infrastructure

What Is Cloud Computing?

Types of Cloud Service Models

Advantages of Cloud Computing Infrastructure

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing Infrastructure

On Premise vs. Cloud: Key Differences

Cloud vs. On Premise Infrastructure: 4 Questions to Ask Before You Choose

On Premise to Cloud Migration Challenges and How to Overcome Them

On-Premise to Cloud Migration Best Practices

Best Cloud Service Providers

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud

Case study: Modernizing Business Intelligence — Migration from On-Premises Qlik ETL to Snowflake Cloud Data Warehouse + DBT

Trends in Cloud vs. On-Premise

On-Premise vs. Cloud Migration FAQs

Cloud Migration with B EYE

What Is On-Premises Computing?

On-premises computing refers to the traditional model of setting up and maintaining an organization’s IT infrastructure within its own premises. Unlike cloud computing, where resources are hosted on a provider’s infrastructure and accessed over the internet, on-premises setups involve owning or leasing the physical hardware and software necessary for the company’s operations. This model allows companies to have complete control over their data, hardware, and software, aligning closely with specific business requirements, regulatory compliance, and security policies. It represents a self-hosted environment where all the components of the IT landscape, from servers to networking equipment and data storage, are located within the physical boundaries of the organization, offering a high degree of customization and control.

Advantages of On-Premises Infrastructure

In the realm of on-premises infrastructure, organizations enjoy many benefits stemming from direct oversight and control over their IT assets. This section explores the key advantages that make on-premises solutions a viable choice for certain businesses.

A list that vertically outlines the advantages of on-premises infrastructure with a green line connecting blue circles that each contain an advantage, such as "Infrastructure Control", "One-Time Costs", and "Security", with green check marks indicating the positive aspects.

Infrastructure Control

When an organization owns the hardware and systems that underpin its IT infrastructure, it has total control over where those components live, how they run and who can access them.

One-Time Costs

Companies can maintain a better grip on server, storage, networking and security expenses that are typically paid upfront without the recurring monthly costs for cloud services. Long-term costs for on-premises infrastructure can be lower for applications with predictable usage patterns. Once organizations buy the hardware, the only ongoing costs are power and maintenance.

Security

The IT team’s complete control of resources, services and data residing on their own servers includes data security. They decide how, when and why someone can access the company’s hardware or network, enabling some organizations to better meet the regulatory requirements of numerous international, national and local data protection and privacy laws.

Efficiency

On-premises system performance advantages include low latency and development environments with few or no external dependencies. The feedback loop between on-premises infrastructure changes and individual employees is short. And, if there’s an outage, employees on-site can adjust as necessary.

Internet-Free Access

No doubt, the internet is indispensable to any business. However, users don’t need an internet connection to access data stored on premises, eliminating the fear of productivity loss due to an interruption in internet service.

You May Also Like: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Database Management Systems: In-Depth Comparison of AWS, Snowflake and Databricks

Disadvantages of On-Premises Infrastructure

While on-premises infrastructure offers numerous benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges and limitations. Understanding these drawbacks is crucial for businesses considering an on-premises approach.

A vertical list highlighting the disadvantages of on-premises infrastructure with a blue line connecting orange circles that each contain a disadvantage, such as "Reliability", "Scalability", and "Security", with red 'X' marks indicating the negative aspects.

Reliability

A company’s infrastructure is only as reliable as its maintenance. A well-trained team must be in place to ensure everything runs in tiptop shape.

Scalability

A fixed set of on-premises servers represents fixed resource capacity. When an organization needs more resources, the only option is to buy more servers. Few companies can build an internal infrastructure to match the scope and flexibility of a cloud provider’s platforms and services.

Ownership Costs

When an organization purchases more servers to meet the need for more capacity only to see resource demands diminish, the additional capacity might be underused. Buying an extra server to accommodate a 5% increase in demand is not cost-effective.

Maintenance

Since IT teams are responsible for their own on-premises hardware, maintenance requirements never end and can be lumped into ongoing costs.

Security

Security is a double-edged sword. An on-premises arrangement grants far more control over the physical and network infrastructure, but the burden of security is high. Complex and interdependent systems increase the risk of human error, such as misconfigurations, that could potentially introduce security threats. Plus, many of today’s security tools and architectures are best served in the cloud.

Technical Skills

On-premises infrastructure requires traditional IT skills, including hardware and software systems administration, networking, database management and security. Such a combined skill set can be difficult to find, and many of these skills are less applicable as enterprises shift workloads to the cloud and embrace DevOps methodologies.

Download Our Free eBook: The Ultimate Cloud Data Management Guide for Executives

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a transformative technology paradigm that enables businesses and individuals to access computing resources and services—such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the internet (“the cloud”) on a pay-as-you-go basis. This model allows for on-demand availability of resources, eliminating the need for extensive physical infrastructure and enabling scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. Cloud services range from full applications and development platforms to servers, storage, and virtual desktops, providing users the ability to work and collaborate remotely, streamline operations, and reduce IT expenses. By leveraging cloud computing, organizations can focus on their core business rather than the complexities of IT infrastructure management, thereby driving innovation and operational efficiencies.

This video on cloud computing takes you through all of the basic concepts of cloud computing like what makes it unique, its different models, and more.

Types of Cloud Service Models

Cloud computing is structured around several key service models, each offering a different level of control, flexibility, and management responsibilities to its users. Each of these service models offers different levels of customization, scalability, and management, catering to a wide range of business needs. Choosing the right model depends on an organization’s specific requirements, technical capabilities, and strategic objectives. By leveraging these cloud service models, businesses can optimize their operations, reduce costs, and focus on innovation. Understanding these models is crucial for businesses to select the services that best fit their needs. Here are the primary types of cloud service models:

An infographic displaying various cloud service models organized in a puzzle-like layout. It includes "Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)", "Platform as a Service (PAAS)", "Software as a Service (SAAS)", and "Function as a Service (FAAS)" with corresponding acronyms highlighted in larger fonts.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This model provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. IaaS allows businesses to rent servers, storage space, and networking capabilities, eliminating the need for physical hardware while offering scalability and flexibility. Users have control over the operating systems, storage, and deployed applications but do not manage the underlying cloud infrastructure. Examples include Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2, Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, and Google Compute Engine.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS offers a development and deployment environment in the cloud, including tools to develop, test, deliver, and manage software applications. It is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development. Examples include Microsoft Azure App Services, Google App Engine, and IBM Cloud Foundry.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In this model, applications are hosted by a service provider and made available to customers over the internet, typically on a subscription basis. SaaS eliminates the need for organizations to install and run applications on their own computers or in their data centers, reducing the expense of software maintenance, support, and operation. Examples include Google Workspace, Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, and Zoom.

Function as a Service (FaaS)

Often considered a part of PaaS, FaaS allows developers to execute code in response to events without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with such applications. FaaS is highly scalable and event-driven, running only when triggered by an event. Examples include AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions.

See how Adam Marczak, Chief Azure Architect, compares the different service types in the video below.

Advantages of Cloud Computing Infrastructure

The cloud computing model presents a myriad of advantages that cater to the dynamic needs of modern businesses. This section highlights the core benefits that make cloud computing an attractive option for organizations worldwide.

A vertical list displaying the advantages of cloud computing infrastructure, similar in design to the on-premises advantages list. It includes "Abstraction", "Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR)", and "Scalability and Storage" among others, each with a green check mark.

Abstraction

Cloud computing models decouple computing, storage and networking resources from the actual hardware assets and, therefore, abstract away much of the technical systems management and expertise required of a traditional infrastructure. Cloud providers also abstract technical administration for security tasks and provide specialized cloud security tools to manage access controls, firewalls and vulnerability assessments.

Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR)

Cloud technologies enable cloud and managed service providers to create a facility dedicated to a range of effective backup and DR services and capabilities beyond traditional DR options.

Scalability and Storage

IT professionals and administrators can dynamically add and remove capacity and cloud resources as needed so capacity and resources don’t go to waste. Less critical workloads can be stored on public cloud, freeing up on-premises storage for more critical and sensitive data and applications.

Pay-As-You-Go Pricing

Costs for cloud-based applications are generally lower. Monthly costs are much lower when compared to large licensing fees for on-premises applications. In a composable infrastructure scenario, organizations pay only for the resources they use, rather than the resources they have. If they typically use less than their compute capacity, costs can be significantly reduced and result in more affordable overall costs.

Uptime

When it comes to service disruptions, no cloud vendor can provide perfect uptime, but many providers guarantee at least 99.99% uptime.

Easier and Faster Deployment

Cloud computing software and resources typically don’t take long to install, a key asset especially when time is of the essence. Companies avoid the excess time and costs involved in long installations associated with on-premises infrastructures.

Managed Services

Cloud vendors typically offer management services, including hosting the software, purchasing the necessary hardware, making upgrades and monitoring networking operations.

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing Infrastructure

Despite its numerous benefits, cloud computing also poses several challenges and disadvantages that organizations need to consider.

A list similar in design to the on-premises one, this image outlines the disadvantages of cloud computing infrastructure with orange circles and red 'X' marks. Examples include "Reliability", "Complexity", and "Cost Management".

Reliability

Handing over control to a cloud provider also means relinquishing control over reliability. Cloud providers boast impressive uptime, but services occasionally go down. Even brief interruptions to cloud services can cause major problems for customers — and there isn’t much they can do but wait.

Complexity

Cloud providers frequently expand their service portfolios. The more advanced a company’s needs, the more complex it can be to select, implement and manage the appropriate cloud services.

Efficiency

Application infrastructure that isn’t designed for the cloud might not perform optimally. Internet connectivity and speed, permissions management and other factors can potentially reduce application efficiency.

Less Flexibility

Cloud-based software often comes as off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all applications and, therefore, lacks flexibility and customizability.

Vendor Lock-In

The more a company uses cloud-based infrastructure from one provider, the greater the risk of vendor lock-in. It may be difficult to migrate to a different provider’s infrastructure – or even move back on premises.

Cost Management

If organizations aren’t careful, they might inadvertently use more cloud services than planned. Huge upticks in resource requirements can quickly break the bank. Long-term subscription costs for cloud-based software can add up and may eventually exceed the cost of an upfront software licensing fee.

Storage Costs

The costs for housing applications in the cloud grow slowly and can accumulate unnoticed if not allocated and monitored properly. Plus, unused data residing in the cloud can bloat the monthly cloud storage bill.

Specialized Skills

Some traditional systems administrator skills may be less applicable in the cloud, and engineers need to master other cloud skill sets – from utilizing identity and access management (IAM) to understanding the nuances behind countless services on the platform.

Security

Migration and operation in the cloud come with inherent security risks. Though cloud security has improved, organizations need to ensure that cloud-based software packages support embedded security measures, like single sign-on and multifactor authentication.

Keep Reading: How Reliable is the Business Intelligence Data in the Cloud?

On Premise vs. Cloud: Key Differences

The decision between on-premise and cloud computing models impacts every aspect of an organization’s IT strategy, from deployment and management to security and budgeting. While both models serve to meet the technological needs of businesses, they do so in fundamentally different ways, each offering unique advantages and challenges. This section outlines the primary distinctions between on-premise and cloud computing, providing insight into the operational, financial, and strategic considerations that influence the choice between these two models.

Deployment

Deploying software in the cloud or on premises is relatively the same – but it’s drastically different for hardware-based resources. When IT teams need an additional server in their data center, they order, rack, network and provision it. To spin up a server in the cloud, they simply press a button or run a few commands.

Management

Cloudproviders handle many of the management tasks, so users don’t have to do much more than monitor and adjust through a management dashboard or software tools. An on-premises environment requires hands-on hardware maintenance, such as replacing drives, managing configurations, maintaining the network, handling power and even upkeeping the buildings that house it all.

Security

Cloud providers handle most security requirements at the infrastructure level in a shared responsibility model, but it’s up to users to properly configure and secure data and applications. In an on-premises environment, IT teams are solely responsible for software patches, OS upgrades and security configurations for applications and networks.

Budgeting

Cloud-based instances are generally cheaper because users can pay for a fraction of a server and shut it down when they’re done. But companies must carefully configure and monitor their cloud usage to avoid consuming more services than they planned and experiencing monthly sticker shock. On-premises pricing is fixed, but underused resources are financially wasteful. Investment in additional hardware to upscale capacity may take years to be cost-effective.

Infrastructure

Cloud providers invest massive sums for infrastructure to support higher uptimes, faster response times and abundant resources. They control user access to their infrastructure. In an on-premises environment, IT teams own and control the infrastructure, but they’re also limited by it and what they can acquire.

Cloud vs. On Premise Infrastructure: 4 Questions to Ask Before You Choose

Deciding between cloud and on-premise infrastructures is an important choice that can affect an organization’s operational efficiency, scalability, and bottom line in a major way. This decision should be informed by a thorough examination of the organization’s specific needs, capabilities, and strategic goals. To guide this critical decision-making process, here are four key questions that organizations should consider.

Question #1: How Much Control Is Required? 

Consider how a cloud outage would affect the organization. If the company has mission-critical services that require high availability, determine how much risk the organization can live with depending on its internal capabilities. Cloud services can be configured with high reliability, such as redundancies across regions and availability zones. On-premises infrastructure almost always has a cap on this reliability and scalability.

Question #2: What Are the Cost Tradeoffs? 

Determine the infrastructure’s limitations, capabilities and – perhaps most important – costs when developing and running applications. It can be difficult to calculate and compare costs for on-premises versus cloud computing. Some investments require big upfront infrastructure costs, but they can become cost-effective over time. Many workloads make more sense to run in the cloud, but others do not. Big data analytics applications, for example, require transmitting, processing and storing vast amounts of data, and those requirements could make the cloud an expensive proposition.

Question #3: Who to Trust? 

Security is a common concern when organizations evaluate on-premises and cloud infrastructures. Although companies can own and manage their security in an on-premises environment, cloud-based computing enables businesses to focus less on security and more on products and operations. On-premises infrastructure and cloud computing models deal with security in fundamentally different ways. IT teams are responsible for all aspects of security for on-premises infrastructure. Cloud providers abstract this away. In either case, it’s important that companies carefully configure and manage their data and applications. While it may seem more secure to maintain physical control of the hardware, cloud providers likely have far more security expertise and resources than the company’s staff possesses.

Question #4: What are the IT Team’s Skills and Strengths? 

Evaluate the team’s expertise and the skills required for on-premises and cloud-based scenarios. While the cloud abstracts away many traditional on-premises IT tasks, it introduces the need for other skills, such as managing AWS IAM roles. Migrating to the cloud, for example, changes the company’s network administration role.

On Premise to Cloud Migration Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Migrating from an on-premise infrastructure to a cloud environment presents a range of challenges that can seem daunting at first. These challenges span technical complexities, security concerns, data integrity issues, and potential disruptions to business operations. However, with strategic planning and execution, organizations can navigate these hurdles successfully. Here’s how:

Technical Complexity and Integration

Cloud migrations often involve complex technical adjustments and the integration of cloud services with existing applications. To address this, conduct a thorough assessment of your current infrastructure and applications to identify compatibility issues early. Leverage migration tools and services offered by cloud providers, and consider enlisting the help of cloud migration consultants for more complex scenarios.

Security and Compliance

Ensuring security and meeting regulatory compliance requirements in the cloud is a major concern. Overcome this by selecting cloud providers with robust security credentials and compliance certifications relevant to your industry. Implement cloud-specific security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and monitoring services. Also, educate your team on cloud security best practices.

Data Integrity and Loss

The risk of data loss or corruption during migration is a significant worry for many organizations. To mitigate this risk, implement comprehensive data backup and recovery plans. Utilize cloud migration tools that provide data validation and synchronization features to ensure data integrity throughout the migration process.

Cost Management

Unexpected costs can arise during and after cloud migration. Develop a detailed cost analysis beforehand to understand the full scope of your cloud expenses. Take advantage of cost management tools provided by cloud platforms to monitor and optimize your cloud spending.

Change Management

The shift to cloud computing affects not just technical infrastructure but also people and processes. Prepare your organization for this change by providing training and support to your staff. Establish clear communication about the benefits and changes that the cloud migration will bring.

Performance and Downtime

Minimize potential downtime and performance issues by planning the migration in phases, allowing for testing and adjustments. Select off-peak times for the migration to lessen the impact on operations.

On-Premise to Cloud Migration Best Practices

Transitioning from on-premise infrastructure to a cloud environment is a major move that promises scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. However, the journey to the cloud requires careful planning and execution to ensure success and minimize disruptions. Here are best practices for on-premise to cloud migration.

A list of ten best practice steps for migrating from on-premise to cloud infrastructure. Steps include "Comprehensive Planning", "Choose the Right Cloud Model", and "Prioritize and Categorize Workloads" among others, arranged in a numbered, vertical list with blue bars and orange circles with numbers.

Comprehensive Planning

Begin with a thorough assessment of your current infrastructure, applications, and data to understand what can and should be moved to the cloud. Define clear objectives for your migration, including cost savings, performance improvements, and scalability goals.

Choose the Right Cloud Model

Decide between public, private, or hybrid cloud models based on your business needs, compliance requirements, and budget constraints. Each model offers different levels of control, flexibility, and responsibility.

Prioritize and Categorize Workloads

Not all applications and data are suitable for immediate migration. Prioritize workloads based on their complexity, dependency, and criticality. This helps in creating a phased migration plan that starts with less critical applications.

Use Cloud Migration Tools and Services

Leverage tools and services offered by cloud providers and third-party vendors. These tools can simplify tasks such as data transfer, application portability, and environment replication.

Implement Robust Security Measures

Security in the cloud operates under a shared responsibility model. Ensure you understand your responsibilities and implement necessary security controls, including identity and access management, data encryption, and network security policies.

Ensure Compliance

Understand the compliance requirements relevant to your industry and ensure that your chosen cloud environment meets these standards. Work with your cloud provider to ensure that compliance is maintained throughout the migration process and beyond.

Plan for Downtime

Even with meticulous planning, migrations can involve some downtime. Plan your migration in stages or during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on business operations. Communicate these plans to stakeholders well in advance.

Test and Validate

After migrating each workload, conduct thorough testing to ensure it operates as expected in the new environment. Validate performance, security, and compliance post-migration.

Train Your Team

Cloud environments require different skills and knowledge. Provide your team with the training and resources they need to manage and operate in a cloud environment effectively.

Monitor and Optimize

Post-migration, continuously monitor the performance and costs associated with your cloud environment. Cloud platforms offer tools to help optimize resources, improve performance, and reduce costs over time.

Keep Exploring: Budgeting in the Cloud – A Viable Option for Government?

Best Cloud Service Providers

The landscape of cloud computing is dominated by a few key players, each offering a robust platform with a unique set of services tailored to various business needs, from startups to global enterprises. Each of these providers brings its strengths to the table, catering to different business needs, technical requirements, and budget constraints. The choice among them depends on factors such as specific application needs, performance and scalability requirements, compliance and security considerations, and overall cost-effectiveness.

Logos of various cloud service providers including "Amazon Web Services (AWS)", "Google Cloud Platform (GCP)", "Snowflake Data Cloud", "Oracle Cloud", "Microsoft Azure", "Qlik Cloud", and "IBM Cloud", arranged horizontally against a white background.

Here’s an overview of what we consider the best cloud service providers in the market.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

As the pioneer and leading provider in the cloud market, AWS offers an extensive array of services ranging from compute, storage, and databases to analytics, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT). Its global network of data centers ensures high availability and reliability, making it a top choice for businesses of all sizes.

This video highlights the areas you should think about when it comes to your migration, some  tools that can help in your journey to the cloud, and why you should really think through your entire migration beforehand.

Explore Our AWS Services

Microsoft Azure

A close competitor to AWS, Azure provides a comprehensive suite of cloud services, including solutions for AI, machine learning, and blockchain. With its deep integration with Microsoft’s software ecosystem, Azure is particularly appealing for organizations that rely on Microsoft products.

Explore Our Azure Services

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Known for its strong offerings in data analytics, machine learning, and open-source technologies, GCP is favored by companies looking to leverage Google’s cutting-edge innovations. It offers highly scalable and reliable infrastructure services.

Here’s a video on how Google Cloud’s global VPC (virtual private cloud) differs and how to set one up.

Qlik Cloud

Specializing in data integration and business intelligence, Qlik Cloud provides a powerful platform for data analytics, enabling organizations to unlock valuable insights from their data. It stands out for its user-friendly data visualization and discovery tools.

Keep Exploring: All You Need to Know About Qlik Cloud. Moving From On-Premise to Cloud.

Here’s how Qlik Cloud helped PizzaExpress move to advanced and interactive analytics. With access to real-time, exact insights, employees are equipped with accurate, relevant data that enables them to take informed actions, such as when forecasting product demand, allowing them to make accurate purchasing choices that minimize food waste.

Explore Our Qlik Services

Snowflake Data Cloud

Snowflake Data Cloud is specifically designed for the cloud, offering a cloud-native data warehouse solution that separates compute from storage for scalability and cost-efficiency. Snowflake supports a multi-cloud strategy and excels in data sharing and analytics.

Discover More: Superior Data Management with B EYE and Snowflake Data Cloud

Enjoy this Snowflake Data Cloud overview with Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO of Snowflake.

Explore Our Snowflake Services

IBM Cloud

Offering a mix of traditional and cloud-native capabilities, IBM Cloud is known for its enterprise-grade services. It specializes in AI and machine learning through Watson, hybrid cloud, and blockchain, catering to industries that require robust security and complex, high-performance computing.

Oracle Cloud

Focused on delivering cloud applications and platform services, Oracle Cloud is particularly strong in databases, machine learning, application development, and integration services. It’s ideal for businesses that use Oracle’s suite of enterprise applications.

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud

When it comes to cloud computing, organizations can choose from three main deployment models: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. Each model offers distinct features, benefits, and considerations, making it essential for businesses to understand their differences to select the most suitable environment for their needs.

A table comparing features of public, private, and hybrid cloud options. Categories include "Scalability", "Cost", "Control", "Security", "Compliance", and suggestions for "Best For" certain types of users or data. Each cloud model has different attributes listed under these categories

Public Cloud

This model provides cloud computing services over the internet by a third-party provider. Resources such as servers and storage are owned and operated by the provider and shared across multiple tenants. The public cloud is highly scalable and flexible, offering a pay-as-you-go pricing model that can lead to significant cost savings. However, it may offer less control over security and compliance compared to private cloud options.

Private Cloud

Private cloud services are dedicated to a single organization, offering a higher level of control and privacy. This model can be hosted on-premises or by a third-party provider. While private clouds can be more secure and customizable, they typically require a higher investment in infrastructure and management compared to public clouds.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud combines public and private clouds, allowing data and applications to be shared between them. This model provides the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud while retaining the control and security of a private cloud. Hybrid clouds are ideal for businesses that have varying workload requirements, need to comply with data sovereignty laws, or wish to optimize their infrastructure for cost and performance.

The choice among these models depends on an organization’s specific requirements, including budget constraints, regulatory compliance needs, performance requirements, and strategic objectives.

Case study: Modernizing Business Intelligence — Migration from On-Premises Qlik ETL to Snowflake Cloud Data Warehouse + DBT

There is no simple on-premises to cloud migration. According to Gartner, 83% of all data migration projects either fail or exceed their budgets and timelines. Regardless, data migrations are a fact. There is no one-size-fits-all migration strategy. That’s where the right partner is the key for proper execution of the migration project.  

This case study explores the journey of a client company, as it modernizes its business intelligence (BI) infrastructure by migrating from an on-premises Qlik environment to Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehouse using DBT – the elegant way of data modelling. The case study details the challenges faced, the migration strategy adopted, and the benefits realized post-migration. 

The Client

Our client, a global pharmaceutical company, relies heavily on data-driven insights to drive business decisions. Over the years, the company has invested in Qlik Sense for ETL, data visualization and analytics. However, as data volumes, velocity and sources grew – the need for scalability and flexibility increased, our client recognized the limitations of its on-premises infrastructure. 

The Challenges

In its journey to modernize its business intelligence systems, the company encountered several critical challenges, including difficulties with scaling, maintaining infrastructure, adapting to changing needs, and optimizing costs.

Scalability

The on-premises Qlik environment struggled to handle increasing data volumes and sources efficiently and managing high complexity of business logic across many different departments and units. 

Infrastructure Maintenance

Managing and maintaining hardware infrastructure, software updates, and backups consumed significant IT resources. 

Limited Flexibility

The static nature of on-premises infrastructure posed challenges in adapting to changing business requirements and scaling resources as needed. 

Cost Optimization

Our client sought to optimize costs by moving away from capital-intensive hardware investments and adopting a pay-as-you-go model. 

The Solution: Migration from Qlik to Snowflake Cloud

The company embarked on a phased approach to migrate its Qlik environment to Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse. The migration strategy included the following steps. 

A blue pyramid diagram with steps of migration from Qlik to Snowflake cloud, starting from the base with "Complexity Management" and moving up to "Optimization" at the top, suggesting a layered approach to the migration process.

1. Complexity Management

Migration will touch everything from data sources and ETL procedures to BI applications and user permissions and everything in between. The more the existing system is customized and the longer it is in use, the more attention is expected to be needed. Be warned, this is the exact time when all the skeletons will come out of the closet. 

2. Recognizing Poor Data Quality

If the selected approach includes data warehouse modernization, be prepared for a parallel project dedicated to data quality. 

3. Subject Matter Expertise

Data migration is not something that is done regularly within a company and so it is important that you have the right people and expertise on your side.  

4. Assessment and Planning

Our client conducted a comprehensive assessment of its existing Qlik environment, identifying data sources, dependencies, and performance bottlenecks. Based on this assessment, the company formulated a detailed migration plan, outlining timelines, resource requirements, and success criteria.  

5. Data Extraction and Transformation

The company leveraged Snowflake’s native integration capabilities with DBT to extract data from its on-premises databases and transform it as per business requirements. This involved restructuring data pipelines and optimizing ETL processes to ensure compatibility with Snowflake’s cloud-native architecture.  

6. Migration Execution

The migration was executed in phases, starting with less critical and simple workloads (quick wins) to minimize disruption to ongoing operations. Our client closely monitored the migration process, addressing any issues promptly and conducting thorough testing to validate data integrity and performance. 

7. Optimization and Performance Tuning

Post-migration, the company focused on optimizing queries, fine-tuning data models, and leveraging Snowflake’s built-in features for workload management and performance optimization. This ensured that the new environment met the company’s performance expectations and provided superior scalability and flexibility. 

The Result

Following the migration to Snowflake and the implementation of DBT, our client experienced remarkable outcomes, including enhanced performance, cost efficiency, increased flexibility, and streamlined management processes.

Improved Performance

Snowflake’s scalable architecture and optimized query processing capabilities resulted in significantly improved performance, enabling faster data retrieval and analysis. 

Cost Savings

By eliminating the need for on-premises hardware infrastructure and adopting Snowflake’s pay-as-you-go pricing model, the company realized substantial cost savings in infrastructure maintenance and operational expenses. 

Enhanced Flexibility

Snowflake’s cloud-native platform offered greater flexibility in scaling resources dynamically based on fluctuating demand, allowing our client to adapt quickly to changing business needs. 

Simplified Management

With Snowflake and DBT managing infrastructure provisioning, maintenance, and updates, our client’s IT team could focus on higher-value tasks such as data modelling, analyses and driving innovation. 

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Trends in Cloud vs. On-Premise

In the evolving landscape of IT infrastructure, trends in cloud vs. on-premise solutions continue to shift as businesses increasingly favor the flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of cloud services. The cloud’s ascendancy is marked by its rapid adaptation to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT, offering businesses innovative tools to drive growth and efficiency. Meanwhile, on-premise solutions, though declining in popularity, remain relevant for organizations with stringent regulatory, security, or data sovereignty requirements. Hybrid models emerge as a bridge, combining the security and control of on-premise with the cloud’s agility, reflecting a strategic balance that aligns with the diverse needs of modern enterprises.

On-Premise vs. Cloud Migration FAQs

Cloud Migration with B EYE

Venturing into the cloud isn’t just about keeping up with technology trends—it’s about setting your business up for long-term success, reducing costs, and enhancing operational efficiency.

At B EYE, we’re here to make sure your move to the cloud is smooth, strategic, and aligned with your unique objectives.

Our approach isn’t one-size-fits-all; we tailor our cloud migration services to fit the exact needs of your business, ensuring you get the most out of this transformation.

We’re all about clear, straightforward guidance and support, every step of the way.

Start a conversation with us to discuss how we can ensure a hassle-free cloud migration process, packed with strategic benefits for your business.

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