Keep control of your cloud journey

Over the past decade, there has been an undoubted shift towards companies adopting and efficiently managing their applications and data in the cloud. However, this rush towards the cloud has left many companies with more complexity within their IT environments and unexpected costs.  In reality, most customers today are operating in a hybrid environment for a variety of reasons. We’ll take a look at a number of those reasons below.

Even those companies that rushed their customers to the cloud are now offering those same customers more options to take a step back from the cloud; including hybrid and on-premises options for their IT environments. However, these options come at a higher price to the customer.

At Parallels, we have always believed in offering choice and flexibility for customers, as they should be able to take their cloud journey at a pace that best suits their needs. Customers vary in their requirements for public cloud services. For some, it is a fundamental requirement to realize the benefits that public cloud services bring, such as agility and ever-green architecture. For others, it’s not a core part of their IT strategy at all, at least not today. There are many in between, as surveys continue to show.

Why hybrid cloud deployments?

The options for deploying your IT environment are diverse, ranging from on-premises, single-cloud and multi-cloud configurations and various combinations of these. In July 2023, the Parallels team conducted a survey aimed at gaining deeper insights into businesses’ choices of IT environments, the infrastructure types they employ, and the motivations driving these decisions.

Of the 805 IT professionals we surveyed, 64% were actively using a hybrid cloud approach within 2023. Of the respondents spanning North America and Europe, 38% intended to increase their hybrid approach throughout 2024. This suggests there is a clear understanding of the benefits of making use of both on-premises and cloud deployments. Within the same survey, 89% believed that the public cloud offers significant value for their business.

Furthermore, many of our respondents cited flexibility, security, and cost savings as their primary reasons for choosing the hybrid cloud over 100% public and 100% private clouds. Of this group, 49% chose the hybrid cloud because of increased flexibility, 46% for improved security, 45% for cost savings, 44% for increased reliability, and 40% for more scalability.

For businesses using a hybrid approach, flexibility is important because it offers them the time needed to navigate their cloud journey at their own pace.

The emphasis on security in choosing hybrid cloud solutions is understandable. With cyberattacks on the rise, security concerns weigh heavily on IT leaders, causing significant worry. Sensitive data or information subject to regulations is best-kept on-premises rather than in the cloud, reflecting a cautious approach.

Cost considerations also drive organizations toward hybrid cloud solutions. While cloud adoption promises lower initial costs by eliminating the need for physical infrastructure like data centers, long-term operating expenses (OpEx) must be carefully evaluated.

The study also explored the primary cost benefits expected from a hybrid approach. Among participants, 31% noted that a hybrid strategy helps manage expenses associated with transitioning to the cloud by implementing the shift gradually.

Based on the findings from this survey, it’s clear that the value of the cloud is almost unanimous, offering near-instant access to key resources and the ability to scale up or down depending on the business needs. However, it’s clear that many IT organizations also intend to retain an on-premises environment to combat concerns with data security and cost predictability. Furthermore, the hybrid model offers many businesses flexibility in when and how they transition to the cloud.

A gold rush…to the cloud

Several years back, a plethora of companies advocated for a significant shift among businesses, urging them to abandon their VDI and on-premises setups in favor of embracing a cloud-first strategy. The rationale behind this push was that these advocating companies stood to gain the most from such a transition. By leveraging the vast array of cloud resources and enjoying the flexibility of accessing cutting-edge technologies, businesses were promised a multitude of benefits. However, for many, this migration came at a hefty cost.

Citrix was a keen advocate of this move as well as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. These companies made significant investments in products and solutions to support businesses moving to the cloud and had reason to encourage them to completely move to a public cloud model.

Many businesses that eagerly embraced the call for a cloud-first approach found themselves grappling with unexpected challenges. The transition unfolded at a pace that often outpaced their accustomed rate of change, causing significant struggles. Some of the hurdles these businesses faced in the transition to a cloud-first approach included effectively managing IT costs, skills, and the organizational culture changes that came with it.

Additionally, some businesses hesitated to fully commit to a single delivery model, recognizing the potential drawbacks of locking themselves into one approach. Nevertheless, they still felt pressured to follow the prevailing trend towards cloud adoption.

The cost of moving at a pace different from your own

Moving towards a public cloud approach at a speed that is not befitting to your competencies can have a significant impact on the performance of your business. Here are some concerns to be aware of:


Embracing the public cloud is often seen as the most financially savvy approach to establishing an IT infrastructure, as it eliminates the need for substantial upfront capital expenditures on hardware such as servers. Instead, it necessitates only lightweight client and endpoint devices to access applications and data from the cloud.

However, over time, the costs associated with configuring, deploying, and managing public cloud instances can escalate compared to the predictable costs of owning and managing servers over a 5–10-year lifecycle. These costs are contingent upon usage, and any usage spikes result in additional expenses. Furthermore, price increases contribute to additional costs. Without meticulous management, automation, and analytics, businesses may find themselves paying for resources that remain underutilized.

Skill shortage

Skill shortage emerges as a critical, albeit potentially short-term, concern for numerous businesses transitioning entirely to the public cloud. This shortage often stems from hasty migrations undertaken without adequate preparation. Shifting applications and data across platforms essentially entails a full reset, introducing new processes, software, and systems that demand a heightened level of understanding. This understanding can only be cultivated through extensive training of existing staff.

In instances where businesses rush their migration to the cloud, the existing team may not have sufficient time to undergo training and formulate a comprehensive migration plan. Consequently, companies may resort to recruiting individuals with the requisite skills to expedite the migration process, albeit at inflated costs.

While this skill shortage may self-correct over the next five years, it remains a critical consideration in the present landscape. Organizations must carefully assess their readiness for cloud migration, ensuring adequate preparation and resource allocation to mitigate the impact of skill shortages on their transition to the public cloud.

Limited control

The public cloud serves to relieve businesses from the burden of configuring and maintaining the infrastructure needed for a virtualized IT environment. However, this transfer of responsibility can lead to a loss of control. Public cloud services often provide standardized configurations and services, which may not fully align with your specific needs. This limitation can hamper your ability to customize the environment to suit your exact requirements and may result in reduced visibility into the underlying infrastructure supporting your applications and data. Consequently, troubleshooting issues, optimizing performance and ensuring compliance with internal policies or regulatory requirements may become more challenging.

Additionally, despite public cloud providers typically offering high availability and reliability, service disruptions can still occur due to factors beyond your control, such as outages or maintenance activities. These disruptions may limit your ability to mitigate their impact on your IT operations.

Vendor lock-in

Transitioning to the public cloud can lead to vendor lock-in, where your applications and data become closely tied to specific cloud provider services or technologies. This entanglement can complicate and raise the cost of switching providers later on, exacerbating the limitations on your control over your IT environment.

Moreover, migrating to the public cloud means relying on the cloud provider for many facets of your IT infrastructure, such as hardware provisioning, network configuration, and software updates. This dependency diminishes your direct control over these crucial components.

Back peddling from cloud to on-premises

Even companies that initially encouraged the move to the wholesale cloud have started to recognize this was not the best course of action for many customers or that these customers want more flexibility in their own cloud journey.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT infrastructure framework that integrates compute, storage, networking, and virtualization resources into a single, unified system. In traditional data center architectures, these components are often managed separately, leading to complexity and inefficiency.

Leading companies like Nutanix and Scale Computing have been offering this type of framework to customers for many years, which in essence, offers the advantages of a cloud model but within your own data center. This integrated approach not only simplifies infrastructure management but also provides scalability and agility, helping organizations meet their evolving IT needs with ease.

Microsoft is now following this type of framework with its own HCI offering, which hosts Windows and Linux VMs or containerized workloads and their storage. It’s a hybrid product that connects the on-premises system to Azure for cloud-based services, monitoring, and management. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI offers the security of an on-premises server located within your company’s office walls but is managed through the Azure subscription and based on virtualization principles.

The key difference here is that the business is not purchasing the initial hardware. Microsoft is providing it as part of the service at a monthly cost, which includes the flexibility of both cloud and on-premises, loaning of hardware and cloud resources, and the management and analytics of the environment.

Universal licensing

Another example is Citrix and its Universal Licensing model. Before the introduction of Universal Licensing, Citrix offered two main pathways for delivering its digital workspace solutions. Firstly, customers could opt for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) to run on virtual resources in a location of their choice, traditionally purchased as a perpetual license with annual maintenance, but now available solely through a subscription model for new customers.

Furthermore, customers seeking the flexibility to operate across both public cloud and on-premises environments require Universal Licenses. This newfound flexibility, however, comes at a higher cost for customers and depends on the size of the organization. Therefore, limiting this option to organizations with more than 250 user licenses and to those customers wanting to stay away from the more costly Universal Licensing model and remain on their existing afraid cannot.  Learn more in our blog post that asks: “Does Citrix Universal Licensing provide simplicity — or not?”

Many leading cloud-centric companies are acknowledging the importance of allowing customers to transition to the cloud at their own speed, with hybrid solutions emerging as a valuable option for many on this migration journey. However, these companies have also effectively leveraged this gradual transition and customer preference for hybrid environments to develop more profitable business models for themselves. So, what is the solution? Find out how Parallels® RAS can help.

Parallels RAS: A simplified hybrid deployment for app and desktop delivery

Parallels RAS has always offered a universally licensed approach, with a simple subscription model eliminating complexity for businesses. Parallels RAS grants access to all features, including secure gateway access, across various deployment options such as on-premises, public cloud, or hybrid environments.

This flexibility extends to optimized Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), VDI desktops in the public cloud or data center, and remote access to physical workstations. Parallels RAS emphasizes avoiding vendor lock-in, prioritizing customer choice, and maintaining simplicity in its offerings.

With a focus on meeting customer needs, Parallels RAS continues to deliver on its promise of simplicity, empowering users to consume resources where they are most effective. Consider evaluating your current or potential virtual apps and desktops vendor to ensure alignment with your requirements and preferences.

Making your move to the cloud

A scenario for many customers could involve retaining the current on-premises infrastructure while transitioning away from Citrix to Parallels RAS or adopting a hybrid model. Many organizations have said it is easier to migrate to Parallels RAS rather than moving to the next version of Citrix.     With this approach, organizations can utilize Parallels RAS to manage Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) deployments alongside their existing on-premises systems. This strategy offers the flexibility to carefully plan and execute change management strategies at a pace that suits the organization’s needs.

It allows for thorough testing and gradual migration of specific workloads or departments to the cloud while maintaining stability and continuity with the on-premises infrastructure. This method enables organizations to leverage the benefits of cloud technology while mitigating risks and ensuring a smooth transition for users and IT operations.

Final words

The cloud presents tangible benefits that many companies can swiftly access.  An on-premises infrastructure remains essential for providing security and cost predictability to businesses. By embracing a hybrid approach, companies can leverage the strengths of both environments.     Contrary to common belief, achieving a hybrid deployment doesn’t necessitate an increase in costs; instead, it allows organizations to tailor their cloud journey according to their unique pace and requirements.

Parallels champions choice and flexibility through its universally licensed Parallels RAS, empowering organizations to seamlessly manage virtual desktop deployments across on-premises, public cloud, or hybrid environments. This approach ensures a gradual transition to the cloud while preserving stability and control over IT operations.

Ready to try Parallels RAS yourself? Get started today!