The Premise of On Premises

enterprise cloud adoption

As a technical architect I am used to the rapid evolution of language to describe an accelerating technical world. Only a couple of years ago using the word Cloud would most likely conjure images of the cumulonimbus variety. Today I rarely join a conference call where The Cloud is not mentioned and we can be confident in technical circles that everybody understands the term.

The Cloud

According to Wikipedia, references to The Cloud began as early as 1996 when Compaq used the term in an internal document. Much later Amazon began to use it as part of their Elastic Compute Cloud terminology. We now use the term to describe great new services like Azure and Office 365.

I like The Cloud and feel it is a very fitting term for describing the way we now host services. My compliments to whomever actually first coined the term! It makes a lot of sense.

Now that we have The Cloud we have the premise of On Premises and need a term to clearly refer to services hosted on site (as opposed to in The Cloud).

So, do you say On Premises or On Premise?


“A house or building, together with its land and outbuildings, occupied by a business or considered in an official context.”


“(British also premiss) Logic A previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion.”

Was it a Mistake?

It seems clear to me that On Premises is correct whereas On Premise is derived from a mistake made and copied many thousands (millions?) of times.

I find the discussion interesting because I think it highlights the rapid adoption of terminology, correct or otherwise. As technical professionals I think we should always strive to communicate better. Describing technology more accurately, clearly and concisely is important and will help us serve the needs of decision makers and users better. I think we should always question the terminology we use and improve upon it whenever possible.

Thoughts on “The Premise of On Premises”

  1. Shravan Nagarajan

    Good observation, Chris! This post was really good reading as were the others before it.

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Chris Hines

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