Cloud belongs somewhere else, right? This is the pervasive view of how we often define cloud solutions. Juxtaposing that is on-premises, the catch-all word for technology investments that physically reside inside a company. This comparison has made it easier to define the cloud and made some sense in the cloud 1.0 days. But matters have evolved considerably.

Today, we can comfortably break down the cloud in two ways. First, there are the different flavours of cloud – private, public, hybrid and multi. These are different configurations through which the cloud can manifest. Second is how the cloud works – and here we can draw a new distinction, a new type of cloud – the EaaS (everything as a service) cloud. As the market matures, we can now explore this more advanced concept where cloud and on-premises come together to create something very potent.

“As we know, in the public cloud one can acquire resources on a pay-per-use model. How about having the same pay-per-use economic model in a private cloud and on-premises solution? This is what EaaS offers,” says Dino Psoulis, Solution Architect for Hewlett Packard Enterprise at Axiz.

To understand this new concept, we should break down the cloud into its ingredients: Virtualisation, scale and remote provisioning. The cloud virtualises workloads and resources, allocating them more efficiently. It can scale, growing and shrinking with demand from different parts of the business without needing big overhead capacity for specific projects or services. This is often referred to as elasticity. And remote provisioning speaks to these two elements, made available over networks. Accessing your e-mail remotely via an app, efficiently and immediately, is the culmination of those forces.

The EaaS revolution

Up to this point, these concepts resided in the other cloud flavours. Even private cloud – where a company owns much of its cloud services or infrastructure – tends to be located away from the company premises. On-premises systems, in contrast, still often use a monolithic approach without much elasticity or easy provisioning. Yet there are many benefits to an on-premises system, such as greater control and closer alignment to business outcomes. On-premises would still be very appealing if only it had the cloud’s knack for flexibility and efficiency.

Enter EaaS. This concept layers cloud paradigms on top of on-premises benefits. It places an enterprise back in complete control of its IT estate, but with all the advantages of cloud environments, Psoulis explains: “Everything as a service may be components of or a combination of PaaS (platform), IaaS (infrastructure) and SaaS (software), including the managed services thereof. Your IT teams stay in charge, but you pay for only what you use. You don’t have to deal with distant ROI horizons or sweating outdated systems so that your books balance.”

EaaS also addresses several other areas that traditional on-premises cannot. For example, skills requirements aren’t as demanding since EaaS fits comfortably with managed services – meaning you can outsource the management of critical infrastructure, applications and workloads to a trusted partner who, in turn, works closely with your IT and business teams. It’s a popular choice among service-based cloud solutions, and a welcome way to reduce on-premises costs.

Another EaaS change is improving deployment times. Traditional on-premises systems have a reputation for lengthy and costly deployment projects, often only delivering on some of the anticipated value. EaaS blends the best of both worlds, adding the cloud’s managed and convenient deployment frameworks to on-premises stability: “The one key factor behind an EaaS solution model is much quicker times of deployment. You’d look at what service workload the business requires, and which OEM predefined product and solution set would meet that requirement. This is treated as a day-one requirement, which would alleviate over-provisioning. If you want to expand an existing service workload, this would generally be a change order to the original contract – so it’s a quick time to deploy over a typical procurement life cycle.”

Cloud inside your company

EaaS also scales, thanks to it embracing the cloud’s provisioning and pay-per-use models. It provides a stable foundation for enterprises to build their enhancements and services, and develop their platforms and platform strategies. Essentially, EaaS puts all the power, convenience, flexibility and affordability of the cloud into an on-premises framework. This change enables companies with honed technology experiences to do what they do best, using the best that modern digital business technologies can offer.

It’s also a fact that the cloud cannot provide everything. As repatriation trends reveal, the cloud isn’t the best place for everything. Some parts of a technology estate – certain types of hot data or critical workloads, for example – are better on-premises. But on-premises lacks the attributes that make the cloud such a runaway success for modernisation. EaaS aligns all those stars.

“EaaS is a relatively new development on the market, but it is growing fast,” Psoulis adds. “It’s years ahead of other offerings and the uptake of EaaS models shows that companies want the best of both worlds. I believe that in a few years’ time, EaaS will be the standard every business will want to adapt in some form. It’s definitely the next stage in the digital and cloud revolution.”