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Renovate hardware or migrate to a public cloud?

Last updated : May 11, 2021
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Renovate hardware or migrate to a public cloud?

The trend towards public clouds is evermore clear, however, there are still those who prefer to have their own infrastructure. In this article we discuss new elements that discourage persisting in this old practice.

The speed of technological change and business transformation demand that IT departments provision infrastructure in an increasingly agile and flexible manner. It has long been clear that to achieve these goals it is necessary to migrate to public clouds.

In an earlier article, published in 2016, we explained the prevailing trends and benefits obtained by moving from owned infrastructure to hiring infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Today, this stands proven. We can find the largest companies in the world using cloud services, and even mission critical government institutions from many Latin American countries. Even so, there remain cases where the IT departments seek to acquire and maintain infrastructure, whether in their own or third-party datacenters. Why does this happen?

In a few cases there may exist non-technical reasons, such as regulatory issues that forbid or hinder using foreign public clouds. In other cases, there may be technical reasons associated to latencies produced by datacenter’s distances (even though there are mixed alternatives, known as Edge Computing, which we will cover in a future article).

This resistance in adopting public clouds often results from common mistakes made during the evaluation of these alternatives, for example:

  • Unawareness of the cloud’s technical and economical advantages, leading to evaluations of public clouds option while applying the same parameters as the on-premises option. A typical case is the provisioning of capacities in advance, for three or more years of growth, which makes no sense in the cloud.
  • Unawareness of the security features available in the cloud, which are clearly superior and easier to implement than in a traditional datacenter. Sometimes, the idea that keeping everything at home is safer predominates (which is the same as the belief that it is safer to keep money at home than in a bank).
  • Resistance in adopting the cloud, thinking that only one and definitive provider must be chosen, for the medium or long term, as is the case with traditional hardware providers. Today, both user and provider companies regard themselves as multicloud. It is possible to use without any problem different services from different options: infrastructure clouds, such as AWS, Azure, or GCP (Google Cloud Platform); platform clouds, such as SAP Cloud Platform (SCP); or application clouds (SaaS), such as Salesforce, SuccessFactors, Ariba, Concur, etc. Cloud connectivity allows the combination of all these services without major difficulties. On-demand infrastructure subscriptions may be cancelled at any time to move from one cloud to another, etc.
  • Resistance in trusting services delivered by third parties. Not only relative to the cloud’s own services, but there may also be lack of knowledge or skepticism about expert value service providers based on public clouds – as in the case of Novis – for specialized migration services and SAP solutions operation in the cloud.

Solely with the above examples it is already possible to arrive to an incorrect evaluation of the cloud option, privileging to remain in the traditional practice of owned infrastructure. Added to this is the political resistance of IT departments to retain their dominance over a greater amount of assets, staff, budget, etc.

And finally, strategic factors must not be left out. In the evaluations only immediate technical and economic elements are often taken into consideration, without reviewing change tendencies, which occur evermore faster. Some examples of this are:

  • Traditional hardware providers are facing a situation everyday more difficult. Proprietary architecture providers have been for a long time under the pressure of open architectures, based on Intel. Some providers, such as IBM, simply sold their server business on Intel architecture to Lenovo. Others, on the contrary, renounced or lowered the profile of their proprietary architecture, such as HP with Itanium.
  • Today, Intel’s main customers are not IBM or HP, nor Dell, etc., but Hyperscalers: AWS, Azure, and GCP, among other smaller public clouds (Oracle, Alibaba, Huawei).
  • Intel is facing a disastrous situation, after having been an almost monopolist player in this market. The Hyperscalers are already using Intel alternatives, produced by ARM or by themselves, based on ARM technologies (even Apple and Miscrosoft are using Intel alternatives).
  • IBM is splitting in two. HP has already sold its HPE division. Dell, Cisco, and others are under pressure from Chinese manufacturers, such as Lenovo and Huawei.

Thus, the hardware infrastructure market available to end customers will be increasingly reduced to collector’s items and, progressively, less likely to compete with the enormous flexibility and variety of services offered by public clouds.

In the SAP’s case, the services offered initially by the company, SAP ES (HEC), are all being migrated to AWS, Azure, and GCP. The HEC option on its own datacenters is quickly being diluted. Many SAP clients who lived this alternative are already evaluating public clouds.

Novis currently has a customer base of more than 80 SAP clients with permanent services. In this whole universe, we practically do not find resistance in migrating to the cloud, with few exceptions. For this reason, we have already done more than 20 cloud migrations of SAP solutions, to the three Hyperscalers. It is the client’s choice, but we can evaluate all the alternatives for each specific case, so each company may be able to choose the best option for their case.


You may find more information in our success cases and videos.

Feel free to contact us and discuss your projects. We shall be pleased to be able to advise you.

Feedback/discussion with the author: Glen Canessa, Pre-sales Manager at Novis.