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5 Key On-Premises Technologies That ITOps Engineers Must Still Know

Despite the widespread adoption of the cloud, these five on-premises technologies remain critical to modern ITOps work.

Table of Contents
1. On-premises Virtualization Technology
2. On-premises Productivity Software
3. On-premises Storage Technology
4. Hardware Management
5. On-premises Networking Technology

In today's cloud-centric world, "on-premises" is virtually synonymous with "outdated" — or so you might believe given the widespread focus on cloud architectures and technologies.

Yet the truth is that on-premises technology continues to play an important role in modern organizations, and IT operations teams need to be able to deploy and support that technology.

To prove the point, let's look at five key on-premises technologies that remain critical to modern ITOps work.

Related: Top 10 In-Demand IT Operations Skills, and What They Mean for Business

1. On-premises Virtualization Technology

Even if your business deploys most of its workloads in the cloud, chances are that you need to manage at least some on-premises virtual machines (VMs) using virtualization technology that lets you create VMs on local hardware.

Developers might ask the ITOps team to create on-prem VMs that they can use for testing purposes, for example. Or business units might need to run VMs on PCs in order to run special software that isn't supported by native operating systems.

That's why it's still important for ITOps teams to understand conventional virtualization. Cloud services like EC2 have made it trivially easy to run VMs, but that doesn't mean on-premises VM technology is no longer relevant.

2. On-premises Productivity Software

Many organizations have also now turned to the cloud for productivity software. Word processors, calendaring software, and so on that once ran locally have been replaced by alternatives like Office 365 and Google Workspace.

Related: Office Productivity Suites: Microsoft 365 vs. Google Workspace

But here again, not everyone can or wants to rely on cloud-based solutions. For privacy or security reasons, some organizations may choose to stick with on-premises productivity software, which allows them to keep data out of the cloud. Although not every ITOps team still needs to be able to support on-prem productivity technology, some do.

3. On-prem Storage Technology

The ability to implement and support on-prem storage technology, too, remains critical even in a cloud-focused world.

That's true in part because some businesses still rely on on-prem storage to house production data because of security, cost, or performance benefits. But it's also true because keeping some copies of data on-premises is one way to implement a 3-2-1 backup strategy if the rest of your data lives in the cloud.

So, don't write off local storage management as an obsolete ITOps skill.

4. Hardware Management

The tools and technology necessary for tracking and managing physical on-premises hardware are not going away anytime soon. Even if your organization has moved 100% of its business workloads onto the cloud, employees still need on-premises devices for connecting to those workloads. Someone has to manage and support those devices, and that someone is usually the ITOps team.

This means that tools for tracking which physical devices exist on local networks and determining whether they are secure remain a critical on-premises technology. Equally important is the ability to support and troubleshoot hardware issues.

5. On-prem Networking Technology

For similar reasons, ITOps teams still need an understanding of on-premises networking technology. The cloud may be a great place to host workloads, but the cloud is useless if you can't connect to it, and you can't connect if you lack reliable on-premises networking solutions.

Indeed, the cloud has only made on-prem networking technology more important than it was prior to widespread adoption of the cloud because the network plays an absolutely central role in workload performance and security in a cloud-centric world.

For this reason, IT operations teams must understand how networks work, how to implement and manage on-premises networking equipment, and how to integrate local networks securely with the cloud.

Conclusion: Keep Loving On-prem Tech

Even at businesses with a high degree of cloud maturity, on-premises technology remains indispensable. From running VMs, to delivering productivity software, to configuring networks and beyond, IT operations teams continue to face a high degree of responsibility for keeping on-premises solutions running smoothly.

About the author

Christopher Tozzi headshotChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.
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