So Many Clouds, So Little Time
We get quite a lot of questions these days about the cloud and how an organization can get away from having to use in-house or on-premise servers that must be maintained and replaced on a regular basis. In this article we will be discussing the pro’s and cons of an in-house vs cloud server as well as cloud applications.
Firstly, what does it mean to use a “Cloud” server? Well there are two primary ways of working in the cloud. There are cloud based applications such as Quickbooks online and G Suite to name a few which are essentially applications that run on remotely hosted servers in large data centers and provide you the customer, with a web based interface to interact with their software.
This means gone are the days of installing and updating programs on the many computers at your office. Instead, you simply login to a website from any computer and always have access to your data and the latest version of the software. They may tell you that you don’t need to worry about backups either but I would always recommend doing an export of your data once on a regular basis just in case.
The other way to run your business in the cloud is to move all your data and programs to a remotely hosted virtual server that “Lives” in the cloud (actually in a large data center just like the previous option). The difference with the cloud server is you (or your IT company) can install whatever software you need directly onto this server (if it’s not a cloud application as above) and in addition store all your files, databases and more.
The server will provide you with a desktop that looks just like the one you sit at every day and it can also manage the administrative tasks on your network just as a normal in-house server would such as managing IP addresses, user accounts and passwords, network management and all the other stuff an in-house server typically performs.
A cloud server is more like taking all the benefits of an on-premise server and storing it in a data center rather than in the back room at your office. You get all the benefits without the hassle of having to manage the hardware or outlay the cash to replace it every 3-5 years. Your cost also boils down to a monthly per user fee, instead of an up-front cost for hardware coupled with ongoing maintenance and support.
Cloud vs Physical Server Points To Review
Below is a list of points to review for both on-premise and cloud servers. I have tried to stick to the facts as much as possible so you can make the best decision based on your needs. Note that the information is based on our experience dealing with both sides of the coin.
- Data is stored at your location
- You can still work during an Internet outage*
- Inititial up front investment
- Lower monthly costs
- Complete control over all aspects
- Forecast and purchase resources for next 3-5 years
- Becomes obsolete
- Labour costs to replace failed parts if occurs
- Physical space required for server in office
- Subject to theft, fire, flood etc
- Requires regular physical cleanings
- Responsible for physical security of server
- Data stored in secure enterprise data center
- Completely reliant on active Internet connection
- Minimal initial setup cost
- Monthly per user cost includes all Microsoft licensing
- Ability to work from any location with Internet
- Lower workstation / PC performance requirements**
- Lower IT support costs for individual workstations**
- Compatible with all operating systems
- Compatible with PC, Apple, tablets, smartphones
- Elastic resources, increase and decrease as needed
- Only pay for resources you need when you need them
So How Do You Choose The Right Solution?
Choosing the right solution really depends on the needs, policies and budget of your business. A cloud server solution is a monthly (which fluctuates as your business grows / shrinks) budgetable amount you can rely on and frees you up from having to store and pay for a large in-house server infrastructure. That said, you’re stuck paying a somewhat hefty monthly cost each month that would likely otherwise be a lot less.
Going in-house means you have complete control over your data and can always walk over and look at it so you know it’s still there. The ability to do this means a lot to many businesses especially those dealing with highly confidential information. I will note here however that any cloud server provider you go with should always have much more physical and network security than you have in your office or I wouldn’t give them a second look. Most, including Daxtech have multiple layers of physical security checks including an on premise security guard in the data center.
Please feel free to contact us for more information or to get a free estimate for either option for your business.