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On-Premise or in the Cloud — How the Best-In-Class Deploy SQL
Dick Csaplar
AUG 16, 2013 08:00 AM
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There is a continuing revolution in how IT deploys enterprise applications. A number of years ago, physical servers were the only choice. Today, on-premise physical servers are joined by virtualized servers and multiple versions of the Cloud. With this plethora of options, it behooves business leaders to make the best choice for their particular needs. To that end, in January 2013, Aberdeen surveyed the IT community to learn how they deploy their enterprise applications. This blog examines a subset of those results — how the Best-in-Class deploy their SQL (Structured Query Language) database applications. The full report can be found at "On-Premise or in the Cloud — How the Best-In-Class Deploy SQL".

Best-in-Class Deployment Choices

In January of 2013, Aberdeen asked 126 organizations how they deploy their business critical applications. These respondents were then divided into two groups, the top 20% performing organizations or Best-in-Class and All Others. A total of 60 respondents indicated that they have currently deployed a SQL database.

As seen in Figure 1, the majority of both Best-in-Class and All Other organizations deploy SQL on an in-house physical platform, however All Others are far more likely to do so (60% versus 41%). Forty-two percent (42%) of the Best-in-Class use a Cloud solution (SaaS, App Hosted in the Cloud, or Hybrid Cloud) when deploying SQL versus just 26% for All Others.

bar graph of Best in class versus others

Source: Aberdeen

With so many choices for deployment, it is imperative that an organization is aware of all the pros and cons that come with each option:

On-Premise: Physical versus Virtualized Platform — The bulk of organizations (41% of the Best-in-Class and 60% of All Others) surveyed indicated that they deploy their SQL applications in the traditional manner, on an in-house physical server. This is similar to the deployment of many other enterprise applications such as Manufacturing, Finance and Accounting, and Exchange applications. However, there are many benefits to virtualizing servers, to which many surveyed organizations are not availing themselves. For example, virtualization allows for faster application deployment, more application uptime, enhanced disaster recovery capabilities, as well as server consolidation. As seen in Figure 1, 30% of Best-in-Class organizations with an in-house deployment are doing so on a virtualized server with only 19% of All Others doing so. As more and more organizations continue to see the benefits of virtualization one can expect to see fewer and fewer business critical applications such as SQL databases deployed in the traditional manner.

On-Premise versus Public Cloud — As seen in Figure 1, 42% of the Best-in-Class choose to deploy their SQL applications in the cloud (either via SaaS, the Public Cloud or Hybrid Cloud). One of the main benefits of an organization deploying SQL in the cloud is very scalable. SQL is a database language, and databases by nature grow and expand to collect and catalog more data. As an enterprise grows, so too should their databases. A cloud deployment makes the process of obtaining more storage simple as it does not involve the purchase and maintenance of new servers. However, with the public cloud there are drawbacks. Many organizations use their SQL to catalog not just internal data, but also data about customers. With the usage of the public cloud, one necessarily relinquishes a measure of data control which can be worrisome.

Cloud: SaaS — Among the Best-in-Class, SaaS is the most popular cloud option as 18% have chosen this option. This is unsurprising, as there are many benefits to this type of deployment. It is comparatively simple; a SaaS deployment usually includes some sort of IT support, and requires no costly investment in hardware or infrastructure. Data is generally backed up regularly by the software, thus providing disaster recovery capability. Aberdeen expects to see this form of Cloud computing grow in popularity as other mission critical applications have far higher rates of SaaS deployments than SQL currently has.

Cloud: Hosted — A sizable minority of Best-in-Class organizations (12%) deploy their SQL Databases in the hosted cloud (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). A far smaller minority of All Others (5%) choose this option. IaaS can be as easy as SaaS deployment as the hosting company provides the computing infrastructure. The company still controls the application, software upgrades and data access but the application is still hosted on a remote computing platform so the data is outside the company firewall.

Cloud: Hybrid — The Hybrid Cloud is the newest form of cloud computing, it combines an organization's internal cloud with a public cloud. It requires specialized IT skills in order to deploy. However, when done properly, in can include a myriad of benefits, including privacy and security, scalability, and application failover in the event of disaster. While there are only minimal deployments of Hybrid Cloud for SQL and other enterprise mission critical applications, Aberdeen expects to see this form of Cloud deployment grow as organizations become more comfortable with open Cloud platforms. Currently 13% of SQL users claim that their deployment is in a Hybrid Cloud.

Several years ago, deploying enterprise applications on a physical server was the only choice. Today, there are more options to meet an organization's exact needs. Examine the deployment platform choices and choose the one that maximizes the goals of your company.

Dick Csaplar
Senior Research Analyst, Virtualization and the Cloud
IT Infrastructure Group
Aberdeen Group

See more at: http://blogs.aberdeen.com/it-infrastructure/on-premise-or-in-the-cloud-how-the-best-in-class-deploy-sql/#sthash.MNSVets1.dpuf

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