Premise vs. Premises

It’s difficult to be a member of the technical community these days without talking about the cloud: do we host our application/system/server in our organization’s data center, or do we move it to the cloud?  As part of those discussions, there’s a phrase used to distinguish between cloud & data center, and it is almost always misused.  Let’s see if we can clear that up.

prem·ise  noun      \pre-məs\
a statement or idea that is accepted as being true and that is used as the basis of an argument
“The premise of this post is that many people are misusing a certain term”

prem·i·ses  noun     \pre-mə-sez\
a building and the area of land that it is on
“The police performed a thorough search of the premises but found no sign of an intruder”

As you will note from the definitions above, the correct term to use when distinguishing between something that exists in your organization’s data center and something in the cloud is on-premises.  If a server is in your data center, it is not there on the basis of an argument.

I know — search anywhere for information on Office 365, Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, etc., and you’ll see the term on-premise (I can’t even write it without a strikethrough).  I get a little twitch under my eye every time I read it or hear someone say it.  My secret wish is that one of Satya Nadella’s first acts as Microsoft CEO will be to issue a corporate mandate banning use of the word on-premise.

Consider this my grassroots attempt to turn the tide, who’s with me?