If we look at the current rate of technological advancements, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cope. Such is the very nature of technology and if multi-billion dollar companies are fueling this innovation, it comes as no surprise that there will be major breakthroughs in a matter of just a few months.
Intro to On-Premise Virtual Machines
Virtual Machines (VM) can be regarded as one of the most basic and effective Cloud Based Solutions. In a typical such deployment, all the hardware for the solution is set up on the premise of the solution employing company. The organization has to incur all the costs for setting up the in house data center.
In addition to the data center, a lot of additional hardware also needs to be procured such as servers, storage solutions, routers, network switches and much more. All the virtual machines are created over the on premise data center of the company and served from this central location as well.
Server less or Outsourced VMs
This is basically a continuation of the on premise VM infrastructure but differs in certain ways. In an outsourced or serverless setup, all the hardware that runs the VMs is the sole responsibility of a third party called Cloud Service Provider (CSP). In this case, the cloud tenant doesn’t have to procure any hardware whatsoever.
In addition to the hardware, security of the data is also the prime responsibility of the CSP. However, some security related controls have to be exercised by the cloud tenant to ensure data security. All the business critical data of the cloud tenant also resides over the data center of the CSP.
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The CSP charges the cloud tenant a usage fee against providing this serverless setup. Generally, there are no fixed charges associated with a serverless architecture. A major downside of this solution is that if an entity goes serverless, it loses substantial control over its business critical data.
Comparison b/w On Premise and Server less VMs
Both types of deployment have their own set of pros and cons and it will depend on the preference of each entity. An on premise VM infrastructure warrants establishing a data center within the premise of the solution employing entity. This is a costly option but gives the entity almost full control over its business critical data.
The obvious downsides of this type of deployment include high upfront cost, regular maintenance of the IT infrastructure and managing full responsibility for the entire solution. These drawbacks of an on premise solution often tend to overshadow the expected benefits of the solution.
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Emergence of Alternate Solutions
As on premise VMs were rapidly adopted and matured towards the mid of 2000, some alternate cloud based solutions also emerged as strong contenders for the spot. We will briefly discuss two such solutions which are serverless and containers.
Server less Architecture
The other type of deployment involves far less work on the part of the solution employing entity. All the above services such as hardware costs, maintenance costs and all other related activities are performed by a CSP in exchange for a pre agreed usage fee.
A great advantage of an outsourced or serverless solution is that it takes over all the administrative activities from the cloud tenant. The entity that employs the cloud based solution can channelize those resources and efforts towards its core business areas.
This is another cloud based technology that is creating a lot of waves over the past few years. A container architecture enables you to run stand-alone application over the cloud. That’s just not it, some solution providers are even offering containers of bundled applications that an organization may need for productivity.
A key limitation of a basic VM is that is offers a very limited functionality in its very basic state. Virtually no productivity application or software comes along with a basic VM offering. If a cloud tenant wants to execute productivity related tasks or manage its enterprise resources, it finds itself constrained.
If the solution is a serverless option, the CSP would be more than happy to offer the productivity software or application but it would come as an add-on. It will not only entail additional costs but also give rise to configuration related bottlenecks.
This gap was filled very effectively by software companies who started developing cloud native “containers” of productivity and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. One container would be comprised of a single or in most cases, more integrated applications.
Another very good feature of these containers was that they were designed in such a way that certain common resources could be shared across the container native programs or applications. This not only created efficiency but also greatly reduced the bulk of all the well-integrated components.
What Makes Virtual Machines Still Relevant
Now that we have briefly touched upon the two major contenders of a typical on premise VM infrastructure, let’s discuss why they are still a very relevant proposition.