On-Prem Servers vs Azure Cloud: Choosing the RightAngle Implementation

Noor Mohamed Written by Noor Mohamed

On-Prem Servers vs Azure Cloud: Choosing the RightAngle Implementation

In today's digital landscape, businesses face a choice when implementing RightAngle, do they use their existing on-prem servers and infrastructure, or do they create a new infrastructure and provision servers for the deployment in the Azure Cloud? This choice can significantly impact a company's operations, efficiency, and overall success. In this article, we will explore the benefits and considerations of each option to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right platform to implement RightAngle for your organization. We will delve into the advantages of on-prem servers, such as control and security, and the benefits of Azure Cloud, such as flexibility and scalability.

Additionally, we will discuss the potential challenges and considerations associated with each option. By thoroughly examining these factors, you can determine the best fit for your organization's needs and goals.

On-Prem Servers

On-prem servers refer to physical servers and network infrastructure located within a company's premises. Organizations own, manage, and maintain these resources. Here are advantages of using on-prem servers:

  1. Control: Companies have complete control over their infrastructure. Their servers and network can be configured according to the organization’s requirements without being subject to the limitations or standard configurations that a cloud service provider may place on the resources provisioned within its datacenters.
  2. Data Security: Data is stored within the company's datacenter and accessible only via the organization’s network. This can be particularly important for organizations that deal with sensitive or confidential information, or international corporations that must address issues regarding data sovereignty.
  3. Compliance: Certain industries have strict regulatory requirements regarding data storage and privacy. On-prem servers allow companies to meet these compliance standards more easily or may be the only way organizations can meet their data compliance criteria if there are no Azure data centers located in the geography where the data would need to be stored in the Azure cloud.
  4. Latency: On-prem servers can provide lower latency as the data is kept within the company’s physical network. This can be crucial for applications like RightAngle where transactions are processed in real-time, or that require extremely low response times.

Despite these advantages, keep the following considerations in mind when opting for on-prem servers to support your RightAngle implementation:

  • Cost: Setting up and maintaining on-prem servers can be expensive. Companies must invest in the hardware and software licenses to support the servers, as well as the IT personnel to manage the infrastructure. Servers must sometimes be outsized with sufficient processor, memory, and disk headroom to accommodate future growth.
  • Scalability: On-prem servers have limited scalability options as compared to cloud solutions. If your business experiences sudden growth or requires additional resources, scaling up can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive, requiring the purchase, configuration, and installation of new hardware.
  • Security: Implementing security for on-prem networks requires that an organization plan and provide for the following levels of security – security to control physical access to the network, network security to prevent intrusion, data security to protect the data in transit and at rest, endpoint protection, incident monitoring systems and response plans to support rapid responses to potential security incidents, and regulatory compliance.
  • Backups: RightAngle implementations are highly transactional and can create tens of thousands of database transactions every day. Regular data backups will ensure that data can be restored with minimal downtime in the event of a security incident or system failure.
  • Disaster Recovery: Planning a DR environment for a RightAngle implementation can be complex. The disaster recovery infrastructure must mirror the RightAngle production environment and maintain connectivity with all data sources and targets served by RightAngle interfaces. The RightAngle web servers, service monitor servers, file server and database server in the disaster recovery environment must be synchronized with their counterparts in production multiple times a day to minimize loss of data and loss of functionality to be able to meet the organization’s RTO and RPO objectives.
  • Maintenance: Organizations are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and updates of their infrastructure. This includes hardware upgrades, software patches, and all aspects of security.
  • Reliability: Infrastructure required to support critical applications must be reliable and resilient. The organization must bear all costs related to the on-prem infrastructure, software, redundant components, and IT skill sets that will be necessary to meet the organization's reliability and resiliency goals.

Azure Cloud

Azure Cloud is a cloud computing platform provided by Microsoft. It offers a wide range of services and solutions that can be accessed remotely and managed by a central Azure portal. Here are benefits of the Azure Cloud:

  1. Flexibility: Organizations can easily scale their resources vertically or horizontally based on their needs. Servers can be added, or their resources increased, to address increased workloads and then, after the workload has been processed, left in place to provide transactional headroom, or deactivated to reduce costs. Organizations can adapt quickly to changing demands without significant upfront investment. RightAngle performance can be impacted by transactional load. When this happens, the Azure servers supporting the application can be scaled to meet the increased workload.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Azure Cloud operates on a pay-as-you-go model, which means companies only pay for the resources they use. Organizations can provision and configure only the Azure components they need to support the current RightAngle business requirements and transactional load, and then scale the number of resources or their configuration up or down as their workloads change. For instance, Azure servers supporting non-critical activities like a RightAngle development environment can be provisioned only when needed or automatically shut down after business hours and restarted at the beginning of the business day to reduce costs.
  3. Reliability and Resiliency: Microsoft has a robust global infrastructure that is designed to be resilient. Azure datacenters are organized into a hierarchy of regions and geographies that support fault tolerance, high availability, and elimination of single points of failure. Within regions, datacenters are organized into Availability Zones which also support resource resiliency and high availability. Azure resources supporting the RightAngle application can be configured to take advantage of these features, which can be leveraged to support an organization’s business continuity and disaster recovery requirements.
  4. Tools and services: Low code solutions can be integrated easily into your RightAngle application with seamless access to Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform – PowerApps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Pages. The Azure Portal can be used to create Azure Monitor alerts for RightAngle servers and their resources. The alert rules capture signals from the servers, compare them to the rule’s condition criteria and initiate an action group if the criteria are met. The action group can trigger notifications to the appropriate teams or take further action via an automated workflow.
  5. Security: Azure Cloud provides extensive security measures to protect infrastructure and networks, applications, and data, as well as provide threat detection and protection. Azure datacenters comply with key industry international and US standards like ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and NIST SP 800-53, respectively. Organizations can use Update Management in Azure Automation to manage and schedule OS updates for their Azure servers.
  6. Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD): Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a cloud-based desktop and application virtualization service provided by Microsoft Azure. It enables users to access a full Windows desktop experience from virtually any device, allowing for flexibility, scalability, and centralized management. AVD allows you to virtualize both full Windows desktops and individual applications. The AVD’s will support the RightAngle clients that users need to access the RightAngle UI and data.
  7. Azure Portal: The Azure portal is the web-based central hub, with all the reports and user interfaces that the organization will need to provision, monitor, and manage its Azure subscriptions, resources, and services. Azure billing is managed within the portal. IT teams will use it to provision and scale the Azure infrastructure and services, as well as manage access and security.
  8. Training: Microsoft offers a comprehensive curriculum of training courses and certifications covering entry level, administrative and solutions architect and technical expert skill sets.

While Azure Cloud offers many advantages, there are also the following considerations:

  • Dependency on Internet Connection: Azure Cloud relies on an Internet connection for access. The organization’s ability to access critical data and applications may be impacted if an internet connection is unavailable. Additional infrastructure may be required to provide backup internet connectivity if the organization’s primary internet connection goes down.
  • Data Privacy: Storing data in the cloud raises concerns about data privacy, data sovereignty, and regulatory compliance. It is essential to understand the data protection regulations in your industry and ensure that Azure Cloud meets those requirements.
  • Learning Curve: Implementing RightAngle in the Azure cloud requires skill sets and expertise that may not be readily available in your organization. Implementing an Azure infrastructure may involve training your IT staff in Azure cloud technologies or hiring external consultants with Azure experience to assist with the implementation.
  • Cost: There can be substantial startup costs associated with creating an Azure infrastructure to support any robust, mission-critical application. Initially, there may be a tendency to provision too many resources or over configure them, which can lead to inflated costs. Services and configuration options can be enabled automatically when resources are provisioned, which may also increase costs. The bills themselves are highly itemized and can be difficult to understand. As with anything new, it will take time to understand the bills and cost structures, learn how to manage costs, and provision resources efficiently. Azure offers a vast array of servers and an exhaustive range of services, and each has its own pricing structure. Microsoft provides the Azure Cost Calculator, which can be used to estimate costs for any Azure resource or service. Unfortunately, the complexity of pricing models for resources and related services can make it challenging to estimate costs accurately.

Choosing the Right Implementation Platform

When deciding between on-prem servers and the Azure Cloud to support your organization’s RightAngle implementation, consider the following:

  1. Workload: Assess the nature of your RightAngle workload. Will it be static or grow quickly? Is the organization planning to roll out new product offerings or acquire new capabilities, and would the organization’s growth be restricted if the application or infrastructure could not be scaled up quickly enough to meet the increased workload?
  2. Budget: Estimate upfront and ongoing infrastructure costs for on-prem versus Azure Cloud with regards to the implementation. The comparison must account for all of the following - current and projected hardware requirements for supporting the RightAngle application, RightAngle interfaces, all associated software licenses and upgrades of existing support software that will be required, network infrastructure, data backup and recovery, business continuity, disaster recovery, RightAngle ETRM support, and security.
  3. Security and Compliance: Consider your company's security and compliance requirements. Assess whether your organization has the infrastructure and resources to meet these requirements internally or if the Azure Cloud can offer a more secure environment and the tools required to meet your organization’s compliance goals.
  4. Future Growth: Consider your organization's growth plans and the infrastructure scalability required to support that growth. If you anticipate rapid growth or fluctuations in resource demands, the Azure Cloud may offer a more cost-effective solution than on-prem servers.
  5. Flexibility: How many environments will be required to support design, configuration, coding, testing and implementation of the RightAngle project? How will the various phases of the implementation timeline overlap? Will the project timeline be dependent on acquisition and installation of hardware? Azure could facilitate a more streamlined timeline by allowing resources to be provisioned just in time for each phase of the project. On-prem hardware acquired for the implementation might need to be decommissioned or repurposed, while Azure resources could simply be shut down to reduce costs.
  6. Performance/Scalability: Increases in RightAngle transactional load are unavoidable, be they temporary or related to increased workloads, and they can dramatically impact application performance. Transactional load will also impact the runtimes of critical RightAngle processes like snapshots, risk and exposure processing, month-end close processes. Azure's scalability ensures that as workloads fluctuate, the platform can seamlessly scale resources to manage these resource-intensive tasks, maintaining optimal performance even during peak trading periods and month end close processes.

A thoughtful evaluation of your specific system management needs, and an understanding of the benefits and considerations associated with each option will empower you to make an informed decision aligned with your business goals. Whether opting for on-prem servers or Azure Cloud, leveraging the expertise of seasoned professionals can ensure a successful implementation. Connect with consulting experts today to discuss your unique requirements and receive expert guidance on cloud services, migration, secure hosting, Azure Arc, sizing, cloud migration, RightAngle installation, and more. Find a team dedicated to helping companies like yours navigate the complexities of technology and make the right choices for their IT infrastructure.

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