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The Last Installation?

Cloud technologies continue to evolve, increasing in capabilities and scope, making them increasingly attractive to many businesses and organizations. Just a few years ago, IT organizations would undergo complete software upgrades, usually replacing hardware, runtime operating systems and other ancillary software. This was (and still is) very expensive. It requires extensive planning and knowledgeable team members to plan, acquire new hardware, implement fix packs and version upgrades, and test the applications. 

At that time, the notion of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) was not well known and hardly accepted. Business and financial pressures to do more with less—and faster—have continued to increase, pushing IT organizations to find alternatives to the traditional, time consuming and expensive hardware and software upgrades. This has helped move CI/CD into the mainstream with the promise of faster and more reliable delivery of business applications. 

Moving toward CI/CD and away from on-premise

Today, most companies have accepted the concept of CI/CD and have developed at least one application for their organization to internally test its viability. Runtime containers such as Docker and workload managing platforms like Kubernetes continue to grow in acceptance and success, making it difficult to ignore them any longer.

As companies adopt CI/CD organizationally, on-premise servers will not be immediately discarded. This adoption will vary by organization and industry, and it will be limited by security and privacy requirements. While this occurs, on-premise servers must continue to be available and supported along with all software products. However, the need for these on-premise servers will reduce significantly over the next several years.

The end of “traditional” installations?

Software that traditionally only ran on-premise using standalone or virtualized servers is also evolving in capabilities beyond the traditional model. Rather than requiring IT organizations to plan, purchase, install, upgrade and repeat, evolving software is now providing a model for continuous delivery. 

As this evolution occurs, companies are positioning themselves for what, in many cases, will be their last traditional “installation.” They are upgrading their current software and servers to the latest versions and hardware technologies while effectively stabilizing their use of on-premise software. Some are using this as an opportunity to rethink which products are being used and if these products are still strategic. This has reopened doors for many vendors, including those based on open-source technologies. It makes sense as the requirements are changing, and many technologies have matured since they were last evaluated. 

As industry software products increase their support and use of containers, the value and use of “traditional” on-premise machines and software will diminish. Use of CI/CD—not only at the application development level, but at the software product level as well—along with IaaS and PaaS will increase, making it easier to develop and test while reducing the need for expensive server upgrades. This will increase time-to-value for nearly all organizations. 

Hybrid topologies will be needed until organizations are fully enabled on “cloud,” while others will require a hybrid model to meet their specific organizational requirements.