On-Premise vs Cloud – What are the pros and cons?
What we got to look at first is what exactly does your company need and what is the best solution based on that need. Let’s compare a couple of scenarios to highlight the differences.
If your company just has one single office and you are running some special programs for your business, some line of business applications that require a sever then an on-premise server would make the most amount of sense for different reasons.
First, the performance would be quick because the programs and data is accessed on the local network so it’s a lot quicker.
The second advantage is that you physically got control of your data and you know you can back it up. Some people feel comfortable using a USB drive for backup. The other benefit here is that you are not reliant on the Internet so if the Internet link goes down you can still use your applications.
In comparison if you need to access programs and files from outside of the office or from a branch location, you will need think about how that can be done. You can use the traditional way of setting up a virtual private network (VPN) where you can securely come in from outside and still be able to access data and programs.
Or you can look at the cloud option. If it’s just the data you are wanting to share then there is a lot of online document sharing programs available. Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint being the most popular one. There is also Google Drive as an option. This way you can access data from any location and give different levels of access even to people outside the organisation.
What you do have to think about is the backup of the data. Most people don’t realise that Microsoft for example, has a 14-day retention policy on emails and data files. If any files are deleted and you don’t realise in time then that information could be permanently gone. There are tools available for that as well where the Cloud backs up to another Cloud so that way it gives stronger retention. Also if one Cloud provider goes down the data is still available on an alternate platform.
How about a hybrid cloud option?
The hybrid option is also a good idea especially for businesses whose internet link is not that great. In this case the hybrid model could make sense where your programs or data is hosted in your own premise and gets backed up to the cloud overnight which we highly recommend. In fact, this is a requirement for certain industries like finance, legal and medical where the data must be stored off-site. So the backup is in the cloud but the data is still hosted locally.
The other option is to hire space with a Cloud provider like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can run your programs in the Cloud environment with backups in the Cloud itself but make a local copy available on your local network for speed of access.
What are the common types of Cloud offerings?
There are three main types.
The first is online document collaboration and file sharing services such as Microsoft SharePoint or OneDrive for Business, and Google Drive.
Moving on from that if you need to run a special program on a server then it can be run in a public Cloud environment like Microsoft Azure or AWS.
Stepping up from that is when you want to have your own private Cloud environment and not sharing it with the public then you can hire rack space in a data centre. In this set up you can either use the equipment provided by the data centre or you can put your own equipment in there to have more control. You are also not constrained by certain limitations from the public Cloud providers.
Important considerations when choosing Cloud?
First, look at how centralised or distributed your workforce is. If it is very distributed which is very common these days with people using bring-your-own (BYO) devices, then the Cloud option might be a better idea.
The second consideration is your Internet speed and type of internet connection you have. This will have a huge impact on the performance of the Cloud.
The third one is the budget. People think Cloud is cheap but we’ve done analysis quite a few times. It is always more expensive than on-premise over a period of time. The reason is that you are renting as opposed to buying. There is less upfront costs, sometimes zero upfront costs because you are not buying hardware but when you add up those costs over a period of 5 years which is the life-span of a server, it adds up. It depends on whether you want capex or opex models for your business.
The other things is the cash flow. If you simply do not have the funds to set up an on-premise server then there is not many options available. You have got to rent in the Cloud.