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What is On-Premises IT Infrastructure?

This article aims to demystify the concept of on-premises computing, exploring its meaning, characteristics and advantages.

CDW Expert CDW Expert

On-premises, often abbreviated as "on-prem," refers to a computing model where an organization manages and hosts its own hardware, software applications, and data within its physical location, such as in an office building or a dedicated data center. In this model, the organization is responsible for purchasing, installing, configuring, maintaining, and securing all the components of its IT infrastructure.

Key Characteristics of On-Premises Computing

  1. Ownership and Control
    With on-premises computing, organizations have complete ownership and control over their hardware, software, and data. They can tailor configurations to specific needs, providing a high degree of customization.

  2. Data Security and Privacy
    Since data is stored within the organization's premises, there is a perceived level of security and control over sensitive data. This is particularly important for industries with strict regulatory requirements.

  3. Capex Model
    On-premises computing typically follows a capital expenditure (capex) model, requiring significant upfront investments in infrastructure, including servers, storage devices, networking equipment, and associated licenses.

  4. Maintenance and Upkeep
    Organizations are responsible for the ongoing maintenance, updates, and management of their hardware and software, which can require dedicated IT staff and resources.

Advantages of On-Premises Computing

  1. Control and Customization
    Organizations have the freedom to customize their IT infrastructure according to their specific needs, ensuring optimal performance and alignment with business processes.

  2. Compliance and Data Sovereignty
    Certain industries with strict compliance and regulatory requirements may prefer on-premises solutions, allowing them to maintain control over data within their jurisdiction.

  3. Predictable Costs
    Despite the initial high capital investment, on-premises computing offers predictable costs over time, allowing organizations to plan their budget more accurately.

  4. Reliable Performance
    On-premises solutions can provide reliable and consistent performance since the organization has direct control over the hardware and software configurations.

Is On-Premises Still Relevant?

In the era of cloud computing, some may question the relevance of on-premises solutions. However, on-premises computing remains relevant for various reasons:

Security and Compliance Needs: Industries with strict data privacy and compliance regulations often opt for on-premises solutions to maintain control over their data and meet specific requirements.

Legacy Systems and Investments: Organizations with significant investments in existing on-premises infrastructure may find it cost-effective to continue utilizing and maintaining these systems.

Hybrid Approaches: Many businesses adopt a hybrid approach, leveraging both on-premises and cloud solutions to benefit from the advantages of each model and meet diverse business needs.


On-premises computing offers a level of control, security, and customization that appeals to organizations with specific requirements. While cloud computing continues to gain traction, on-premises solutions remain relevant and valuable, particularly for businesses prioritizing data security, compliance, and a customized IT environment. The decision to embrace on-premises computing should align with an organization's strategic goals, budget considerations and data management preferences, ensuring a harmonious integration of technology to support business objectives.

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