The shift from traditional information technology infrastructure to cloud-based offerings has provided businesses with a broad range of choices when it comes to server solutions.
While a traditional on-premises setup may still be the right choice for some organizations, others may find cloud-based servers to be a more cost-effective, reliable and scalable solution.
Here is a look at the factors that should be considered when evaluating cloud-based and on-premises servers.
Cost Considerations Associated With Cloud-Based & On-Premises Servers
Businesses must assess not only the upfront investment required for these solutions but also the operational expenses associated with each one.
Upfront Investment & Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
One of the main draws of cloud servers is their low costs. Businesses do not need to make an upfront investment in any hardware. Instead, there is usually a monthly fee, and businesses rent the hardware that is needed. Upgrades are typically included in the fee, and the cloud server provider will replace equipment that has become outdated.
Businesses that opt for on-premises servers must make a bigger upfront capital investment in hardware and installation. They will also need to pay for ongoing dedicated support and maintenance as well as upgrades.
Eventually, the hardware will need to be replaced at the organization’s expense. Businesses that have IT departments will find that their team must spend a significant amount of time maintaining the servers, leaving less time for more proactive projects.
Operational Expenses & Scalability
For many businesses, avoiding a large initial investment by choosing cloud servers frees up capital for marketing, research, or investment, which means they can grow their business faster. Another consideration is the cost of utilities. With cloud servers, a business is not responsible for powering or cooling the equipment as it is housed and maintained by their service provider.
However, a business with a significant number of on-premises servers will need to find space to accommodate the hardware and power and cool it around the clock, which can raise electricity bills significantly. On-premises servers also have higher costs associated with scaling; as a business expands, more hardware and labor will be needed to support this growth. Cloud-based servers are easier and more affordable to scale.
Performance & Reliability Of These Servers
Performance and reliability must be weighed carefully when determining the best server solution.
Uptime & Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Service level agreements (SLAs) are documents that explain to businesses what they can expect from their cloud service provider. It is essential to evaluate this agreement carefully, paying particular attention to the reliability and uptime guarantee.
The industry standard is 99.999% availability; although 99% of uptime may sound substantial, it could mean spending several hours at a time without service.
Businesses should also perform due diligence on the historical performance and track record of the cloud server providers they are considering to ensure they are reputable and that their current customers are satisfied with their service.
Network Connectivity & Latency
Cloud-based services rely on the internet and are therefore vulnerable to occasional connectivity and latency problems. Even the best cloud-based servers will not perform optimally without excellent internet connectivity. Users with poor connections may experience high latency, which can lead to frustrating delays in communication.
Businesses with unreliable internet connectivity may find that on-premises servers are a better choice because they can provide low latency and higher network speeds. This is particularly important for organizations that depend heavily on latency-sensitive applications.
Hardware & Infrastructure
Another consideration is the hardware and infrastructure needed for cloud or on-premises server solutions. For on-premises servers, organizations must research the available options and compare their prices and capabilities to ensure they select something that suits their budget and objectives.
For cloud-based servers, businesses will need to compare the performance levels being offered by various providers. They must also scrutinize the hardware specifications to ensure their systems meet the minimum requirements or can be upgraded easily and affordably to comply.
Security & Compliance Factors
Security and compliance are essential concerns, and businesses must consider each solution’s performance in these critical aspects before making a decision.
Data Security & Access Controls
While many cloud service providers offer cutting-edge security measures, including access controls and encryption, on-premises servers give businesses an unparalleled amount of control over their security. However, this means that they will also need to pay professionals to ensure their servers are properly secured.
Compliance With Regulations & Data Privacy
Another important consideration is how the options perform in terms of compliance with regulations and data privacy. Businesses in all industries must contend with some type of regulatory control, and it is essential to ensure that any third-party providers have a system in place to remain up to code and stay on top of the latest regulatory changes in the industry.
They must be able to guarantee the security and privacy of sensitive data belonging to businesses, customers, employees and partners. This responsibility belongs to the organization if they choose on-premises servers.
Scalability & Flexibility Of Cloud-Based Servers & On-Premises Servers
Cloud-based and on-premises servers each offer different advantages and drawbacks when it comes to scalability and flexibility.
Elasticity & Resource Allocation
Cloud-based servers generally offer much greater elasticity, adapting swiftly to any fluctuations in resource demands and increasing their capacity as workload demand increases.
These servers should also be able to reduce their capacity as demand wanes to optimize resource allocation and meet demands elsewhere. On-premises servers do not offer the same flexibility in adapting to changing demands.
Geographic Reach & Accessibility
An organization can easily expand its reach to additional geographic areas without needing to set up any new physical infrastructure when working with cloud-based servers as one server can be accessed from multiple locations. With on-premises servers, however, there are limitations when it comes to remote access and distributed operations that could be problematic for some businesses.
Maintenance & Support Elements
Maintenance and support are also important considerations that can impact a business’s IT staffing and budgetary demands.
Server Management & Updates
Businesses that are considering on-premises servers need to assess their ability to take on the responsibility of server maintenance and updates, tasks that are normally handled by cloud-based server providers. Those opting for cloud-based servers should consider the levels of control and support that are offered by various providers.
IT Staffing & Expertise
Cloud-based servers are often a good choice for businesses that lack IT staff with the expertise needed to manage and maintain on-premises servers. However, while support is a major advantage of cloud-based servers, businesses need to evaluate the quality of the support services offered by each provider they are considering as quality can vary.
Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Considerations
Here is a look at what businesses should consider in terms of disaster recovery and business continuity when choosing a server solution.
Data Backup & Redundancy
Many cloud server providers employ backup mechanisms that can ensure the data of a business is safe should a disastrous event occur. Redundancy is often used to duplicate data stored in the cloud so it can be accessed or retrieved if the service is compromised. Businesses that are considering on-premises servers should assess their ability to develop their own robust disaster recovery solutions.
Downtime & Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)
Cloud providers typically offer robust recovery services that can help a business resume operations seamlessly while minimizing fallout. With on-premises solutions, the business itself must design and implement its own strategies for disaster recovery, which can be expensive and complicated. It may be quicker to resume operations following a disaster with a cloud-based server.
Integration & Interoperability Capabilities
The compatibility of the server solution with existing infrastructure and applications should be assessed carefully; some businesses may even find that hybrid strategies meet their needs.
Compatibility With Existing Infrastructure & Applications
A cloud-based server will need to be integrated with a business’s existing systems and applications, and it is important to ensure this can be carried out with ease before making a decision. Businesses considering on-premises servers must also assess the challenges they may face during integration.
Hybrid & Multi-Cloud Strategies
In some cases, a hybrid deployment combining cloud-based servers with on-premises servers may provide a business with the best of both worlds. For some specific business scenarios, enlisting the services of multiple cloud service providers may be a good solution.
Reach Out To Advantage Technology For All Your Server Needs
There are numerous factors to consider when choosing between cloud-based and on-premises servers, from cost, performance and reliability to compliance, scalability and support. A business should evaluate its overall goals as well as its unique requirements before deciding how to proceed as this decision can have major ramifications on every aspect of the business.
Consulting with IT experts can provide valuable insight on the right server solution. The experienced server experts at Advantage Technology can help your business make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and objectives. Contact us today to learn more about our services.