Leveraging the Cloud for Modern On‑prem
The pragmatic approach to Modern On-prem acknowledges that some amount of vendor based risk is acceptable in order to reduce operational overhead. The most likely vendors that should be included in a Modern On-prem strategy are the major IaaS providers. By leveraging the elastic compute, storage provided by IaaS providers, organizations can outsource the physical labor associated with racking and stacking servers. Going further, the managed services that these IaaS providers offer can serve as reliable primitives which other 3rd-party applications can leverage.
As ironic as it may seem a first, it is actually very common to set up a modern on-prem environment in “the cloud”. By this we simply mean that enterprises don’t need to physically rack and stack servers in order to reduce their data surface area. Instead, by trusting one or two IaaS providers they can achieve 99% of the benefit of Modern On-prem without taking on the huge effort of maintaining physical servers.
For the last 10 years, many enterprises have been moving internal workloads to IaaS providers. However, the nuance in the way they do it is important. They’re basically creating private spaces where their applications can be secured, away from the public internet. AWS pioneered this idea with their VPC (virtual private clouds) this has become the gold standard way to selectively restrict which the surface area that enterprise workloads are exposed to. They’re willing to do the vetting on Amazon, Google and Microsoft and trust them with their sensitive data. Once they’re running their technical operations inside of one of these environments they have full access to the elastic compute and storage (which means no lengthy procurement process for getting new resources.) New clusters, resources or namespaces can be easily put in new VPCs to isolate them from the most highly sensitive data, or integrated into an existing VPC with access to existing data sources. All of this can be done at a fraction of the price of servers would have cost 20 years ago (thanks mainly to Moore’s law).