On-Premise or Cloud Database Hosting: What's Right for You?

On-Premise or Cloud Database Hosting: What's Right for You?

Choosing between an on-premise and cloud hosting model for your databases can be the key to success, so it's important you make the right decision.

With data now at the heart of business' operations, how you choose to store, process and manage this crucial asset has become one of the most important factors in a firm's success. Companies that struggle to take control of this will quickly find themselves falling behind, as they don't have the insight they need to meet the expectations of today's customers.

On-premise vs cloud database

How you manage your databases is a key question. In recent years, a growing number of businesses have looked to migrate these applications to the cloud. The likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud SQL have all experienced huge growth, with Amazon alone seeing its cloud revenue increase by almost 50 percent in the second quarter of 2018.

But is this always the best solution? On-premise tools may not be the most fashionable option for businesses today, but for some scenarios, they could provide a better option for your database hosting. So how do you know which is right for you? Here are a few of the key factors you need to consider and the pros and cons of on-premise and cloud hosting for each.

Cloud-based solutions are more scalable

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of a cloud-based solution is the ability to scale up and add resources quickly and easily to meet your evolving needs. Cloud providers will be able to furnish organizations with all the tools they require to cope with the growing volume and variety of data that businesses now gather, whereas on-premise solutions may need to undergo a lengthy procurement process to secure the same capabilities.

This could be highly useful if you're expecting rapid growth, opening up new business units or expanding to new territories. However, it can also be valuable for firms in industries such as retail that see significant seasonal variations in activity, as in addition to scaling up on-demand, you can also scale back down again just as quickly.

Consider cost of ownership as well as expenses

In the past, the potential for cost-savings was often listed as one of the strongest drivers of cloud services, but with many businesses now having greater understanding and experience of the cloud environment, there's now a recognition that the picture is more complex than previously assumed. Indeed, recent research by Druva found that only one in five firms say that cost is their primary motivation for migrating to the cloud.

While cloud does have the potential to be cheaper, you need to consider total costs of ownership rather than comparing it to the upfront expenses associated with on-premise. However, even if the costs turn out to be broadly similar overall, companies may be able to benefit from the cloud-based model, where they only have to deal with a single, ongoing operational expense.

Where is your data most secure?

The question of which model is more secure is still hotly debated, particularly when it comes to public cloud options that don't offer the same level of control as private or on-premise tools. While there have yet to be any reports of large-scale breaches that have been attributed to cloud providers, it's still a concern for many people. Indeed, 86 percent of organizations cite the fear of data breaches as their biggest worry about the cloud.

Cloud providers do, however, aim to mitigate these concerns by offering the highest levels of security protection - something which may not be within the financial means of many companies looking to build on-premise solutions. So, if you have a limited IT budget to devote to this, the economies of scale that cloud provides can be very useful.

On the other hand, some more-heavily regulated industries may have more security reservations about using the cloud. Healthcare and financial services organizations, for instance, may decide the greater control offered by on-premise is too important to discount.

The necessity of database speed and reliability

For many firms, a key point in favor of on-premise tools will be the fact that their data will always be right there, in the building, whenever they need it. This means they are fully responsible for their own infrastructure and, as such, don't have to worry about any issues with latency or lag, or any speed limitations that are caused by their internet connectivity. These considerations will be especially important for real-time data processing.

All good cloud providers will offer a solid uptime guarantee - usually somewhere in the region of 99.9 percent availability - and firms will be entitled to compensation if these promises are not kept. But this still leaves cloud firms with a little leeway for downtime that could be unacceptable for firms where constant availability is a top priority, and any financial reparations may not make up for the impact of lost opportunities as the result of failures to access data.

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