On-site servers were commonplace a decade ago. With the technology at the time, it made sense to keep the servers on-premises rather than using a remote option or colocating in someone else’s data center. These days, cloud technology create a compelling case for ditching on-site servers.
The Cost of Your Technology Infrastructure
Companies pay a lot to maintain their technology infrastructure. The direct costs include the hardware, networking equipment and services, software licenses, and operating systems.
Cybercrime shows no sign of slowing down, so they’re also responsible for the digital and physical security of this infrastructure. Without adequate measures in place, the organization is at risk for frequent data breaches. Sensitive data may get accessed and used for malicious purposes.
Customers stop doing business with the company because they don’t trust it to take good care of their personal information. The downtime associated with the attack also proves disruptive to other areas of the company. A large-scale breach could lead to massive losses for the organization and may even result in it going bankrupt.
The overhead expenses for heating, cooling and supplying electricity to the buildings that the infrastructure is housed in is also significant. If the equipment isn’t kept at the right temperatures, they end up failing early or crashing. The systems also need to account for power surges and other risks that could render hardware unusable.
Drawbacks of Premise-Based Servers
Some organizations don’t mind the overhead costs associated with premise-based servers, but they should consider the other drawbacks of using this option.
- Harder to manage: Server administrators are responsible for managing the servers. However, they also have many other tasks that they need to accomplish during the day. They often end up taking a reactive approach to problem-solving, which leads to many long-term issues with performance.
- Need to account for long-term maintenance needs: The organization needs to keep the firmware and software updated, as well as choosing when to add to the server or to swap it out for a newer solution.
- Upgrade related downtime: Some upgrades require the server to shut down during the process, which can cause disruptions elsewhere.
- Stretching in-house IT resources: Server administrators come with a big price tag, thanks to a competitive job market that has far more demand than supply. Companies need to think carefully about where to allocate their IT personnel.
- Susceptible to environmental failure: If a natural disaster takes out that office, the servers would be a loss as well.
- Security only as good as the organization’s resources: Some companies have extensive budgets for IT security, but others consider it a low priority.
Benefits of Cloud Servers and Applications
Cloud servers and applications address many of the weak points of on-premises servers, leading to a more modern infrastructure that is flexible, resilient and available.
Scalability is the biggest advantage that cloud technology brings to the table. Since companies are dealing with distributed resources, rather than one particular piece of hardware, increasing capacity involves no downtime and happens quickly. They no longer need to go through a process that involves purchasing the server, scheduling the deployment, rolling it out and eventually upgrading it as the business grows.
Flexibility is another key characteristic of cloud servers. Businesses can choose data centers in many locations, which limits the chances that a natural disaster will disrupt operations. They can experiment with different types of hardware and software, without going through the trouble of setting everything up.
Accessibility gives organizations the power to use many types of clients to connect to the cloud service. Mobile devices are commonly used to login to cloud applications, rather than staff members getting chained to a particular workstation. They can work from more locations, which is particularly useful for companies that have a lot of field workers and remote offices.
The cloud provider is responsible for maintaining the equipment and updating the software, so many tasks fall off of the in-house IT team’s plate. When they have more time available to focus on the infrastructure, they can start using a strategic, proactive approach to the organization’s IT needs. No one needs to go around to 100 workstations to apply a software update or worry about fielding a dozen support tickets when something doesn’t work quite right during any deployments.
Many companies see a boost to their IT security. The cloud providers have a business model that demands top security measures. They have to protect their systems, their own data and their customers’ data. They don’t take this responsibility lightly, which leads to robust security measures.
The total cost of ownership comes out ahead with cloud servers too. The company eliminates the upfront costs with the equipment, as well as indirect costs like hiring someone to maintain it, the HVAC system that cools it, and the electricity to power it.
Cloud-based servers and applications are the way of the future in the business world. On-premises servers played an important role in the history of computing, but it’s time for them to take a step back and allow the cloud to take its place as the primary server solution.