A very common question we get these days concerns on-prem servers vs “The Cloud”. Though saying “The Cloud” sounds way cooler, it’s not an automatic slam dunk in all situations. There are pros and cons to both, so let’s take a quick look!
Whenever someone says “The Cloud”, please mentally replace that phrase with “someone else’s computer”, because that’s all it really means. Using someone else’s infrastructure definitely has a lot of benefits:
- Availability – Access your data from anywhere!
- Reduced maintenance – For you and your staff that is. Someone else gets to deal with upkeep, patching, etc.
- Redundancy – If you’re using a reputable vendor, having data stored in multiple data centers can help reduce downtime in the event of a failure.
- Scalability – Need more CPU power or more RAM? Easy, just pay more!
But The Cloud also means a few weaknesses:
- Cost – It’s like leasing a car, you pay forever and never really own anything.
- Security – Being able to access your data from everywhere also means anyone else can try to access your data from anywhere. If you’re not on top of your security, that can be a major vulnerability.
- Availability – How will you access The Cloud if your office Internet connection goes down?
- Control – Depending on the vendor, how much control do you have over your cloud service? How is the data backed up? How responsive is their support?
Well, how about an on-prem server? It’s not just old school! For a lot of simple tasks, or things that don’t require the Internet or external access, it makes sense for a lot of businesses!
- Cost – In the long run, it’s cheaper to buy the hardware and own it outright. Think of your on-prem server as a consumable with 5-8 years of service!
- Security – Easier to secure behind your office firewall.
- Control – You have total control over your equipment, and can specify whatever you need to exactly fit your budget and requirements.
But then there are the weaknesses:
- Availability – Increased requirements for users to access data from offsite via VPN or remote access tools.
- Increase maintenance – Someone has to dust it regularly!
- Redundancy – If the server fails, you’ll need to either accept increased downtime or pay for a solution to mitigate hardware failure.
- Scalability – When you buy the server, it’s better to get a little more than what you need. If you underspec, you may end up replacing the server sooner than expected if your needs change.
Like most situations, there is no cut and dry answer for which is better. It boils down to your needs and your budget, and it’s different for every business. Now that you know a little more, feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions!
We are always here for your IT needs! Please feel free to give us a call at (858) 880-0355 x 2 or submit a query support ticket here.