Cloud computing is taking the place of a range of traditional data options for many businesses, with enterprise cloud adoption rates almost tripling since 2015. In some cases, the cloud is taking the place of data centers for business, but are the two really interchangeable?
The functions that you use each for or the solution you opt for entirely depend on the needs of your company. This means that what works for one business might not be the best option for another, even if they are operating within the same sector.
In order to assess whether you should use one, the other or a combination of both the cloud and a data center, there are a few things you need to know first.
The difference between the two
The biggest difference between a data center and the cloud is that data centers refer to hardware that is hosted on-site. In comparison, the cloud is an online form of computing that allows you to store data on the internet without the need for a data center at your business' location.
When it comes to the cloud, a third party provides and maintains the service, performing updates and ensuring data can be accessed. This means that if any issues occur, it is not up to your organization to address them. However, in the case of data centers, these need to be managed in-house, which can be costly in the long-run due to the expertise and equipment required.
Another big difference, as highlighted by Business News Daily, is the fact that while they can both be used to store data, only data centers can store servers. This means that if a company needs to run its own servers, it will need a data center to do so.
One of the biggest concerns for businesses is how data is secured and backed-up. Having reliable processes in place when it comes to backing-up data means that not only is it safer, your company can get back online in the event of an issue.
The fact that cloud providers often use multiple data centers located across the world to store and backup data, along with around the clock monitoring and management - as Tech Target reports - ensures that you have full access to your information at all times. If one data center has issues, this means you should still be able to access the cloud through another.
However, if the cloud provider experiences series problems, this can mean that you don't have access to your data and that you won't know when you can get back online. This can be incredibly disruptive, even if it is a very rare occurrence.
If you opt for an on-site data center, you will need to invest in data safeguarding options and perform any repairs if there is a failure. This can be expensive if it requires buying new equipment or specialist skills to maintain the hardware. You will also need to look at back-up systems to ensure quick access to and minimize the loss of data.
On the plus side, information that is stored via data center tends to be more secure in comparison to that stored online. Hackers are better able to isolate cloud servers and so gain access to valuable company information. This can mean that sensitive data is better placed if you're using an on-site data center.
Amount of power
A big difference between cloud computing and data centers is the amount of power a business has access to. As Network Specialists points out, companies that require a dedicated system that can be fully customized are likely to find that an on-site data center is the best option.
Dedicated data centers mean that storage and equipment is not being shared with any other businesses, allowing your organization to use all available capacity. However, this also means that if more storage or power is required in the future, your company will need to purchase more equipment, as well as hire more people to manage the system, which can be expensive.
However, in the instance that you don't need dedicated storage and a fully customizable system, costs can be drastically cut by outsourcing storage needs to a cloud provider. This reduces spend on equipment, staff and electricity, although it does limit the control you have over the system.
You can also combine the two to allow for online data storage that frees up space on data centers that can be used for other company processes. This could better allow you to mitigate costs and still meet the needs of your business.