Ever since Amazon launched Amazon Web Services, kicking off perhaps the most transformative shift in the massive data center industry, the debate has raged about which data storage solution companies should adopt: the public cloud or onsite data centers.
Before we get into the merits of each approach, we need to understand what they are. Is a cloud a data center? Is a data center a cloud? Or are the two completely different?
While the two terms may seem interchangeable, the two computing systems have little in common.
The main difference between them is that a cloud is an off-premise form of computing that stores data on the internet while data centers refer to on-premise hardware that stores data within an organization’s local network. Also, cloud services are outsourced to third party cloud providers who perform all the updates and ongoing maintenance while data centers are usually run by in-house professionals.
Cloud vendors often own multiple data centers in several geographic locations to maintain data availability during outages and other data center failures.
Using the cloud offers many advantages over on-site data centers. These include:
Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. If your needs increase it’s easy to scale up your cloud capacity, drawing on the service’s remote servers. Likewise, if you need to scale down again, the flexibility is baked into the service. This level of agility can give businesses using cloud computing a real advantage over competitors – it’s not surprising that CIOs and IT Directors rank ‘operational agility’ as a top driver for cloud adoption.
2. Disaster recovery
Businesses of all sizes should be investing in robust disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses that lack the required cash and expertise, this is often more an ideal than the reality. Cloud is now helping more organisations buck that trend. According to Aberdeen Group, small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid large up-front investment and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.
3. Automatic software updates
The beauty of cloud computing is that the servers are off-premise, out of sight and out of your hair. Suppliers take care of them for you and roll out regular software updates – including security updates – so you don’t have to worry about wasting time maintaining the system yourself. Leaving you free to focus on the things that matter, like growing your business.
4. Capital-expenditure Free
Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of hardware. You simply pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that’s kind to your cash flow. Add to that the ease of setup and management and suddenly your scary, hairy IT project looks at lot friendlier. It’s never been easier to take the first step to cloud adoption.
5. Increased collaboration
When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better. Cloud-based workflow and file sharing apps help them make updates in real time and gives them full visibility of their collaborations.
6. Work from anywhere
With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection you can be at work. And with most serious cloud services offering mobile apps, you’re not restricted by which device you’ve got to hand.
7. Document control
The more employees and partners collaborate on documents, the greater the need for watertight document control. Before the cloud, workers had to send files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on by one user at a time. Sooner or later – usually sooner – you end up with a mess of conflicting file content, formats and titles.
When you make the move to cloud computing, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees one version of the truth. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier bottom line. If you’re still relying on the old way, it could be time to try something a little more streamlined.
While cloud systems offer many advantages, they are not without fault. Some of the challenges one may encounter when using cloud computing systems may include: downtime, security, vendor lock-in, and limited control. Still, it is easy to see how the advantages of cloud computing easily outweigh the drawbacks. Decreased costs, reduced downtime, and less management effort are benefits that speak for themselves. Quadrant Softwares is a leader in implementing cloud-based solutions for business. You can talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .