What Is Meant By “On-Prem Application”?

In my last piece, I talked about cloud-based applications. We discussed that when an infrastructure is being migrated, it’s essential to understand the soon-to-be-migrated environment’s architecture. As you recall, you need to know about the following:
backup schemas
client-access routines

…for all involved devices.
You can plan more effectively for a successful migration when you have a good understanding of the general scope of the migrating entities.

One of the many questions that you should ask for clarity on is, “Where is the application housed”? You will be given one of two answers for most applications: cloud-based or on-prem.

Now, let’s clarify the meaning of the second answer — ‘on-prem.’

When an application/suite is declared to be on-prem (on-premise, if you will), the majority of the network/servers/code/configurations/data warehouses needed for the application to perform as expected are located in a data center that is owned or partially controlled by your company.

Additionally, on-prem applications are customarily maintained by company support professionals. Sometimes these professionals are not direct employees of the company but can be directly hired via contracts or part of a support firm that the company hires to offer as-needed support for the application and infrastructure.

Supporting the application can include:
resolving operational issues
adjusting and updating configurations
maintaining the server hardware
keeping the operating systems that the application ‘sit’ on up to date
verifying and maintaining the security of the entire application and its data footprint

…and much more.

So, in short, ‘on-prem’ applications reside in locations usually owned (fully or partially) by the specific company in question.

What Is Meant By “Cloud-Based Application”?

When an infrastructure is being migrated, one of the main goals is to clearly understand the architecture of the environment that will be migrated. Specifically, you want to know about the servers, networks, backup schemas, databases, applications, and client-access routines for all devices involved. When you have a good understanding of the general scope of migrating entities, you are in a much better position to plan the migration effectively and execute it with success.

One of the many questions that you should ask for clarity on is, “Where is the application housed?” For most applications, you will get one of the following responses: cloud-based or on-prem.

So, let’s quickly clarify the meaning behind the first answer — ‘cloud-based.’

When an application is defined as cloud-based, it has the majority of its code and related operational assets (e.g., data warehouses, related applications, licensing structures, update schemas, etc.) located in a network/data center that is both logically and geographically separated from your ‘on-prem’ network.

Other popular names for cloud-based applications include:
SaaS [Software as a Service]
Hosted Applications
Paid Service

One popular example of a cloud-based application you may be familiar with is Microsoft Office 365. For this application, you pay a rate (yearly, monthly, etc.) to use all the software and underlying infrastructure located in datacenters owned by Microsoft (servers, databases). The rate includes technical support and guarantees that you are running the ‘latest’ updated and secure program.

To keep this short, a ‘cloud-based application’ refers to an application and related data infrastructure located in a data center usually owned by the software vendor or one of their sister companies.