Whether you are a business owner or a manager, the issue of data processing and storing will confront you sooner or later. Nowadays, in the digital era, your success depends on how well you acquire, manage, maintain and share information.
As any data requires computing power and space to be held, one of the key decisions you will have to make is whether to process and to store it on a local server or in the cloud. Let’s start by finding out more about these options so you can better decide which type of servers to opt for.
Cloud services are remote servers that you can reach and administrate on using an Internet connection. When you use this type, it means that you rent some virtual computing power and space but don’t need to own servers physically, cutting down on area you need to store it.
You are exempt from routine equipment maintenance that includes ensuring a stable power supply, cooling, fast Internet channel, protection from third-party access and cyber-attacks, updating for critical vulnerabilities, creating backup copies, etc. Using cloud servers, you will need just an Internet connection and subscription to use the service.
Now, let’s dive in and have a look at the pros and cons.
The first and primary advantage of cloud servers is resource flexibility. You will only pay for the computing resources and space you need. As your company grows you can upscale that amount of power and space, on the other hand you can downscale it if you don’t require as much at the moment.
Moreover, modern cloud services allow configuring rules for automatic upscale. Therefore, an increase in computing power will occur in certain situations, for example, by a season or an event related to the influx of visitors to the site.
Another advantage is independence from location. As a result, the user gets equally good access to data from every office (decentralized infrastructure is typical for corporations).
If you store your data on a cloud server, it is less likely to be wiped out due to unforeseen circumstances. Once you’ve backed up your data in the cloud, it stays online and that mitigates the possibility of losing it.
Moreover, as an additional feature there is versioning on the cloud storages: the system saves not only the last version of the file but also several of its changes. It allows rolling back of the data to the original version, making all intermediate copies visible.
You don’t have to fix any problems that may occur on the servers as the service provider will carry out routine maintenance of the equipment as well as install patches or update necessary security certificates, ensure a stable power supply and cooling, protect from cyber-attacks, update for critical vulnerabilities, create backup copies, etc.
Of course, this doesn’t cover your company’s private services which are hosted in the cloud – you should still take care of this area by yourself.
You can monitor your virtual working environment, modify it as you need, restore or backup your data from anywhere, using just a smartphone/tablet or a laptop connected to the Internet. Moreover, if you use a cloud-based systems such as at least: data storage and task management system, your employees can work from anywhere in the world at any time making outsourcing a fun bonus to consider.
Uptime is one of the most important criteria to evaluate hosting performance, as it is the amount of uninterruptible work of your virtual environment that is provided to you non-stop. For example, uptime influences how effectively your site works, which has an impact on ranking position on a search engine; the longer your site is accessible online, the higher its rank.
The costs of services that are provided on the cloud server, such as CPU cores, RAM size, storage space can be quite considerable. So before you chose your configuration, you should review the prices well so that you receive the most cost-effective solution for you.
If you are still hesitant on whether cloud-based servers are a good fit for your business, here is a familiar, time-honored solution – on-premise (local) servers.
On-premise servers, also known as traditional local or in-house servers, are the data computing and storage center which your company owns physically and has onsite. As a result, all the key features of local servers are based on the principle of location.
Many businesses choose local servers over the cloud for security reasons. This is because data is physically kept within the company and is not available to any third parties.
If you own on-premise servers then you will be responsible for both their software and hardware maintenance. It means that you can set up configurations which will work best for your business. Furthermore, you can upscale the computing power and/or storage space in a one-off expense, excluding monthly fees, which can make going local a cost-effective solution for small and medium-sized companies.
You don’t have to break your head with worry about stable Internet connection to access your servers. By going local you can reach your data anytime as it is connected to all your computers through the local network that doesn’t require any Internet. The only criteria is you will need to work in-office. This is very applicable for those businesses that don’t need to be online constantly and can store their data locally without the danger of third-party access.
The speed of uploading and downloading data to the local servers is usually higher in comparison to cloud servers due to the fact that it is not limited by Internet bandwidth; meaning, you get your data faster over local area network (LAN).
Yes, it can also be seen as a disadvantage. For example, when it comes to the cost of hardware purchasing or installation and troubleshooting, this will be your sole responsibility. That means you’ll have to organize and delegate responsibility to your IT support team, and budget for any unplanned expenses, which could end up costing you if the servers malfunction or goes down at the wrong time.
With local servers you will have physical control over your data, while the cloud has no such preference. On the other hand, if you have your servers on-site, you will be in charge of all set ups and maintenance, adding extra responsibility. On the other hand, the cloud provider is ready to assume these duties if you chose a cloud-based service.
Another issue to consider is security. Although it may seem that putting sensitive data online is a brave decision, keeping it on local servers may be equally unreliable due to the fact that it can be damaged by system’s faults, unpredictable circumstances like natural disasters or stolen by hackers.
Cloud providers are aware of (almost) all the security imperfections and continuously enhance the protection they provide by developing and implementing new technologies, such as data encryption and firewalls.
As with resource safety, information recovery is also more effective and complete than on local servers, as information may be retained in various copies with multiple timestamps.
Although cloud providers will charge you monthly fees for processing and storing your data and may request payments for additional services, the cost of having local servers may be almost as high, especially if your company is growing.
This situation occurs as when you invest in local servers, you will need to put down a large sum of money to do so, this may also increase depending on your needs and the size of your team, and this particularly effects large-scale enterprises.
Server expenses depend greatly on the size of the company: small and medium-sized businesses may benefit more from having local servers, while big companies and corporations that have many offices located in different places, may consider cloud services as the best option. However, the choice is highly individual.
As for each solution there are disadvantages and advantages, companies who are not satisfied fully with either may turn to a third option. Many businesses, in fact, prefer to switch to something that is more in-between, a hybrid compute infrastructure, a mix of both local and cloud-based servers.
The access to services is divided by types of needs:
While cloud technologies continue to gain in popularity, at the same time increasing their features such as diversity, flexibility, elasticity, speed, and reliability, local servers continue to hold their own in the market. The decision of which to use is a highly individual one for any company that will depend on their specific needs and expectations.