Cloud computing is no longer just a buzzword. It is a technology rapidly taking over the IT industry, making all other hosting solutions obsolete. In this article, we will compare on-premise infrastructure with cloud infrastructure.
Why Organizations Need to Consider the Cloud
Previously, we've presented some facts and figures about cloud computing and its benefits. But to further stress its importance, here are five points that every business, regardless of its size, should consider when thinking about the cloud.
Resilience – If something goes wrong, you want your business to recover quickly. With cloud infrastructure, you are safe no matter what happens. All data that is crucial for your operation is stored in the cloud. If you add a backup solution on top of it, nothing will be able to catch you off guard.
Flexibility – Cloud infrastructure can adapt based on your needs. That is a tremendous advantage when thinking about cost and on-demand computing power.
Automation – Unlike on-premise infrastructure, you can configure cloud infrastructure to run parts of your business on autopilot.
Superb Uptime – The 99.99% uptime guarantee is not a myth but a reality with cloud infrastructure. When properly configured and managed, the cloud can run even the most demanding applications.
Collaboration – This is a huge benefit but also the most overlooked one. FlexJobs ran a post-COVID era survey, and 65% of surveyed people stated they want to work 100% remotely. Cloud infrastructure is what enables all of us office workers to work from home. So if your business requires several remote teams to work together, cloud computing is the right choice.
In this article, we will dive a bit deeper into the technology that is powering the cloud. By explaining the concepts of both on-demand and cloud infrastructure, we hope you will better understand the advantages of the cloud.
On-Premise and Cloud Infrastructure
This term describes a setup in which your company owns the complete hardware configuration it uses, along with the software setup. A definition like this one is as simplified as it can be, but running this type of infrastructure is anything but simple.
Let's use the example of a company that focuses on business intelligence.
Everything starts with databases. These databases are writing and reading data from a physical cluster of servers. They are also being replicated to an additional cluster that serves only as a storage/backup solution.
These databases handle the data that is being used in the business intelligence software (for example, Power BI). In this case, end-users would access the software through virtual machines. Between the software and the end-user is a load balancer. It is responsible for handling and balancing the requests that are being sent to the software.
The primary duty of the load balancer is to distribute the load of the requests on the servers to ensure that everything is working, and uptime goals are met. On top of everything, an active directory service gives users access to their virtual machines.
Now, all of this can sound a bit confusing if you are not familiar with the concept and technologies in use. Imagine the expertise, technology, and effort it takes to run something like this on-premise.
The amount of space needed in the building for the servers, costs that you have to pay to set up and maintain all of this, and ultimately, limited scalability is something that you can easily avoid.
When it comes to the hardware that powers it, cloud infrastructure is not too different from on-premise. However, if you use the cloud, everything is handled by your provider.
Whether it is AWS, Microsoft, Google, or someone else, the architecture is more or less the same. Cloud providers use software to control tenants and operations that were migrated into the cloud.
The cloud is composed of mail, web, files, and database servers based on the needs of the applications. Of course, storage units house and secure the data.
A hardware network layer is also an integral part of the cloud infrastructure. It consists of firewalls, routers, and switches. This network layer exists to provide you with additional security for your data.
Without a need to get into more technical details, we think it is clear what the big difference is. All those cables and server racks are not in your office. They are physically somewhere else, and someone else’s team manages them. Outsourcing these resources increases flexibility, lowers overheads, and can decrease risk. From a logistical standpoint, it is pretty clear which solution is better.
Why Are Some Businesses Still Using On-Premise Infrastructure Instead of Cloud?
“If it works, don’t fix it.” That is why a lot of companies still stick with on-premise infrastructure. Servers and applications set up years ago are still fulfilling their purpose, and companies do not feel the need to change anything.
Additionally, some companies fear that any attempt to change infrastructure could go poorly, resulting in financial damage.
Hosting your business on-premises means that only a few selected people can access your server room. One bad experience with a cyberattack can be enough for the chief of IT or CTO to decide to keep company data and infrastructure locked away. They could feel it is the most secure when only the team responsible for it has physical access.
Independent Internet Connection
When you host your business on on-premise infrastructure, you operate on your network. The potential loss of connection is something that will not be a problem. When the internal network is in place, you and your staff can access anything related to your business as long as it resides within your on-premise infrastructure.
In other words, the productivity of your employees will not be affected if the connection goes down. Additionally, on-premise infrastructure means that your servers are hardwired, reducing the need for a high-speed internet connection.
How Can You Benefit From Cloud Infrastructure?
While it is understandable why organizations may want to stay with their on-premise infrastructure, with the cloud, you can amplify the perceived benefits of on-premise.
Fully Managed Migration From On-Premise to Cloud Infrastructure
There is no excuse not to start migrating to the cloud, as you can transition from on-premise infrastructure to cloud infrastructure painlessly. Major cloud providers (and digital transformation experts like Bright IT) will offer their full assistance during migration, making it easy to let professionals take care of the transition for you.
Despite concerns that some may have about the security of the cloud, there is not much to worry about. Modern cloud infrastructure has multi-layered security systems in place. Hardware firewalls are common and offer more than enough protection for your applications and data.
Also, rest assured that the cloud infrastructure of large cloud providers is kept safe in racks under video surveillance and heavy security. No one can access your cloud unless they have permission to do so.
High-Speed Internet Connection is Stable
Unlike on-premise infrastructure, cloud infrastructure requires you to have an internet connection from your ISP. But internet connections today are so stable that it is hard to imagine that you will have issues with accessing your cloud because of connectivity issues.
In the case that your internet connection is disrupted, employees can always use mobile data through a hotspot. Data plans from mobile operators tend to offer more than enough to keep you going until the issue is resolved.
As we mentioned previously, to run on-premise infrastructure, you need an experienced team of engineers to maintain it. Hardware alone is not cheap, either. You can expect to pay a high price when you buy your own physical servers, disk arrays, and network devices, and continue to pay to maintain and power the system.
While cloud providers perform regular upgrades and maintenance, you will be responsible for upgrading your on-premise infrastructure as technology advances.
With cloud infrastructure, you can reduce costs by an order of magnitude. Powerful virtual machines will cost you only a couple of dollars per hour on a pay-as-you-go system. That means you only pay for what you use, and when you do not need the resources, you can cancel them.
Cloud Infrastructure: The Present and The Future
The migration to the cloud infrastructure is inevitable. With all the benefits described above, it is hard to dispute that cloud infrastructure is superior to on-premise infrastructure.
We discussed some key reasons that some businesses still use on-premise, but we have also provided counterarguments to show how cloud infrastructure is superior.
Many companies have already moved away from on-premise infrastructure and can confirm the improvement in their day-to-day work. Migration is simple, cloud servers are secure, and connectivity is stable. Reduced costs are just a bonus. With everything said, we hope that this article has left you more informed about why businesses are making the switch to the cloud and has helped to nudge you in the right direction.