Public cloud isn’t delivering but is a U-turn to three-tier infrastructure the right answer?

Public cloud is becoming increasingly important for businesses as it offers numerous benefits such as cost savings, and flexibility.

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Pledging resilience, agility, and economic nirvana, the public cloud hyperscalers promised to make it incredibly easy to move applications and data into their environments. However, organisations are finding it incredibly difficult and costly to move those apps in or out when those promises weren’t delivered.


Indian companies that jumped head-first into public cloud have found the costs kept piling up and their concerns for data protection and sovereignty are greater than ever. These challenges are leading some enterprises to pull back workloads that were rushed to the cloud prematurely. But unless the on-prem infrastructure these workloads are being repatriated to is modernised, application performance (along with business performance) will suffer greatly, and the desired results will be even further out of reach. 

Should the world return to Three-tier time datacentre architecture?

A concerning trend has emerged in India of those looking to move away from cloud, due to the aforementioned challenged and considering a ‘better the devil you know’ – i.e. the return to outdated three-tier architecture in the datacentre.


Three-tier architecture had its place, but that place is long gone. Today, this infrastructure model cannot offer companies the flexibility and resiliency they need to innovate and cannot keep pace with business needs in today’s digital world by default. 

Apps today are increasingly built to be operationally intelligent and storage aware. For business-critical apps to live up to their full potential, they require the automation, intelligence, and efficiency that only cloud-like architectures can deliver. As these apps require to be cloud-native in the approach to deliver best outcomes, three-tier architecture can not enable this. 

The needs of these modern applications mean three-tier environments will be a handbrake on business growth and innovation. Since COVID-19 overturned digital capability from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ companies have acquired more and more modern software solutions to address individual pain points, and most are cloud native. 


The way forward with hybrid multicloud

For many years, ‘cloud’ in India and around the world has been thought of as merely a destination. Somewhere an organisation ‘goes’ and, by doing so, magically transforms its business once it’s arrived. 

The Great Cloud Repatriation trend in India is a good reminder of why IT professionals and business leaders have dropped this ‘destination’ mentality and have realised it is an operating model. It has led to a misguided strategy that sees a company try to shift all its applications to a single cloud provider – regardless of the specific needs and nuances of each individual workload.


Some applications might be suited to one public cloud provider, some to a different public cloud, while others might need the control and security of a private cloud. Rarely, if ever, will an application perform better on three-tier infrastructure. 

Remember why we moved away from three-tier to begin with? It requires more management, more parts to support, and with a lack of on-site technical resources, it hinders ambitions to do more with less.  So instead of choosing one cloud over another, enterprises today are looking at how to best use a combination of public cloud, private cloud, and edge cloud to reach the cloud-promise of flexibility, resiliency, and economic nirvana through freedom of choice. This is the hybrid multicloud approach. 

In fact, the 2022 Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index also suggests that 82 per cent of Indian enterprises believe hybrid multicloud is the ideal choice for infrastructure transformation. This is further supported by success numbers of those companies that implemented hybrid multicloud infrastructure. Future Generali India Insurance, one of India’s foremost insurance providers deployment of hybrid multicloud has enabled them to reduce their 5-year IT cost by 43 per cent and ensured 99 per cent reduction on time to resolve support tickets. 


This strikes at the heart of what enterprises need in their infrastructure. 

Enterprises and government organisations in India need the flexibility to choose where their workloads run and the freedom of choice to be able to shift those workloads as needs and priorities change. Cloud-first public cloud strategies and three-tier architectures are an anathema to this need; the former due to the vendor lock-in inherent in hyperscale consumption models, and the latter due to the archaic way in which applications need to be built (or retrofitted) to run on them.

We as technologists understand the pace at which IT moves. Knowing that only echoes the reality that hybrid multicloud architectures, underpinned with an intelligent, cloud native and private cloud, offer the flexibility needed to finally reach that promised land we search for.

-By Faiz Shakir, Managing Director - Sales, Nutanix India & SAARC at Nutanix