Redefining On-prem Software seeks to redefine "on-prem" software. No longer the old-school, client-server based software that installed into a server racked in a closet or data center, modern approaches to on-prem software leverage cloud-native architectures and security best practices to streamline the management and distribution of software (i.e. "Modern On-prem"). This guide is an open source work in progress with the goal of establishing the context for why modern on-prem is important, exploring examples of how it can be implemented, and fostering a community of vendors and enterprises interested in refining and promoting modern approaches to software delivery.

What is "Modern On-prem"?

Modern On-prem is a method of 3rd-party enterprise software distribution and management focused on enabling large organizations (enterprises) to leverage the vast ecosystem of 3rd-party applications (software vendors) with reduced data security risks and incremental operational ease for both enterprises and vendors (thanks largely to a Kubernetes-based implementation).

Modern on-prem is best understood from the independent perspectives of both enterprises and software vendors.

The Enterprise Perspective

Modern on-prem management seeks to blend the data security of traditional on-prem software with the operational ease of using multi-tenant SaaS software.

Instead of enterprises sending data out to thousands of multi-tenant vendor applications, applications are delivered to servers controlled by the companies where the data already resides. Stop sending your data to apps. Start bringing apps to your data.

Unlike traditional on-prem software, modern on-prem software leverages reliability primitives and 1st-party software deployment pipelines to consolidate processes and reduce the ongoing effort of operating the application.

View the Enterprise Guide to Modern On-prem or Enterprise FAQ

The Software Vendor Perspective

Modern on-prem distribution seeks to simplify traditional on-prem software development and delivery by consolidating application development to portable, cloud-native artifacts and embracing automated operations with standardized reliability primitives.

Instead of software vendors assuming significant liability by processing the data of thousands of enterprise customers, modern on-prem distribution allows the vendor to provide the software without ever taking possession of data. Data is recognized as equal parts asset and liability.

View the Software Vendor Guide to Modern On-prem or Vendor FAQ

Kubernetes-based Implementation

Currently, the best implementations of modern on-prem put Kubernetes at the center. The application vendor creates a Kubernetes based application and distributes it to an enterprise to deploy into their existing Kubernetes cluster. Kubernetes is a natural choice for this--it is becoming the industry standard for the patterns and primitives for creating truly reliable applications at scale. Leveraging tools that allow for increased reliability at the application level reduces the operational overhead of managing the application.

What is

The goal of is not to discredit SaaS as a viable part of the solution, rather to highlight that like all complex systems, there is more nuance to the problem than a single black and white answer to the SaaS vs. On-prem debate. The real world requires embracing shades of gray across a broad spectrum of delivery models.

Additionally, the evolution of Modern On-prem is still underway, there are several areas of imperfect solutions and deep technical rigor that are required to participate in the ecosystem as either an enterprise or a software vendor. The primary company behind Modern On-prem, Replicated, is a commercial entity working on a combination of open source and proprietary tools to advance the future of Modern On-prem. Together we've developed, operated, and delivered software into thousands of on-prem environments ranging from bare-metal appliances to kube-native private clouds. While we intend to benefit substantially from the success of this movement, we have also obsessed over this for 5+ years and have gone deep into the idea and execution maze.

Much like the EnterpriseReady guide that we produced 3 years ago, Modern On-prem is designed to create a common vernacular for enterprises and software vendors in order to facilitate conversations about the requirements and implementation details that this transition will require. Most of what is published here are not net-new thoughts, rather the details have been selected from a comprehensive survey and analysis of existing and emerging technologies and processes.

If you’re interested in this topic (agree or disagree), we’d love to have you join the community.

Join the Community

Or dive a bit deeper into our Enterprise Guide to Modern On-prem or our Software Vendor Guide to Modern On-prem.