Server or Cloud? Advantages and disadvantages of business hosting

With digitalization, the demands on hardware and software are increasing and with them the need for highly qualified personnel – at the same time, the shortage of skilled IT staff is becoming more acute. But the more limited the IT resources a company can draw on, the harder it will be to keep up with developments – not to mention technical innovation. A way out of the dilemma is offered by custom-fit cloud solutions. Maintenance and support are outsourced, more efficient processes pave the way for the digital transformation in the company. The classic in-house server is now obsolete? Or are there arguments that speak against the step into the cloud? A comparison: server or cloud.

Manageable running costs or regular investments?

Even the best system becomes obsolete at some point and has to be replaced. The good news: hardware is getting cheaper, so investments are relatively lower. One point in favor of the classic server solution? Not necessarily.

Of course, moving infrastructure to the cloud initially incurs certain costs. But these often pay off quickly when you look at the whole picture – including all the cost guzzlers in your own IT. After all, it's not just the server hardware and license fees that have to be paid, but also the staff and premises, as well as the costs for energy, set-up, maintenance and support … So it's worth doing the math and taking a close look at how the cloud service compares to this.

Security: Who offers more?

Offload valuable corporate data to the cloud? Even before rationally considering the pros and cons, some people initially focus on an emotional question: Isn't your own server more secure than the cloud?? Instead, however, you should ask yourself: Is your own IT more secure than that of the cloud providers??
Complex systems, separate networks, sophisticated defenses, promptly applied patches and updates: if you have an appropriately positioned IT department, you can host on your own server with a clear conscience – otherwise one of the strictly secured cloud solutions is the better, because lower-risk choice.

The company's own IT department: efficiently deployed or hopelessly overloaded?

Those who decide to host in the cloud in the future not only relieve their investment budget, but also their own IT department: the cloud provider provides the effort and know-how for operating the infrastructure, and can adapt the functions and processes to the company's individual needs. Companies with a manageable IT department can thus target their employees where they are needed most urgently, because time-consuming mandatory tasks such as backups are now eliminated.

On the other hand, less responsibility also means less control, because even the best cloud is not as individual as an in-house solution that is tailored to the company's needs down to the last detail. So if you have a well-equipped IT department with suitably qualified specialists in-house, you can do without the cloud.

Connection failures: a tolerable risk?

The spectre of cloud hosting is connection failure: if the line is down, nothing works – and downtime is expensive. But how likely is this to actually happen?

Anyone who signs a contract with a cloud provider is assured of guaranteed availability, usually covering 99.9% of annual working hours. If for some reason this is not the case, the risk lies with the provider, who has a great interest in ensuring availability, and not just for image reasons: If the cloud fails, a contractual penalty becomes due. Companies with several branches also have the option of having their locations connected separately in order to minimize the risk of failure.

PaaS, IAAS, PAYG: Excuse me??

Anyone thinking about switching to cloud hosting is often confronted with an unexpected challenge: completely unknown offerings and terms that you first have to get to know and understand. Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS), Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) … If you first have to build up new basic knowledge before you can get started, the familiar company network suddenly seems very attractive again. However, you should not be put off by the lack of know-how, because what is still unfamiliar to you today quickly becomes familiar – and what cloud hosting requires in terms of training time, it makes up for with the fast, flexible and secure service.

How to scale the cloud?

If you don't want to be left behind, you have to be able to react quickly to new requirements. Medium-sized companies with their own IT are in the clear: they can simply upgrade, while the cloud offers less flexibility. So much for the theory. In practice, things look a little different, because new hardware or additional personnel must first be procured and integrated. This costs time that you don't have during performance peaks.

The cloud provider is prepared for fluctuating demand and has the necessary resources to adjust performance accordingly at short notice. Those who spontaneously need more performance can simply rent it as needed, while the competitor with the in-house server is still waiting for the expensive new hardware.

How cloud-compatible is the everyday working environment in SMEs??

If the entire company infrastructure is to be outsourced to the cloud, one important condition is: Afterwards, everything should work as before – you want to be able to continue working with the tried and tested applications. The good news is that this is also possible in the cloud. The less good: outdated software designed for use in the network can cause problems here. These can be solved well with the right technical answer, but the move to the cloud will be a little more expensive and time-consuming. And if the Internet connection at the company site fails, a cloud solution leaves you looking down the tube. Two points that speak against the cloud.

The picture is different when you run the existing software on the basis of Infrastructure-as-a-Service. This not only saves the technical effort that will in future be borne by the cloud provider, but also makes everything run more quickly and securely after the changeover. Companies with larger locations can connect directly to the cloud via MPLS for a more stable and powerful connection; here, fault clearance times of four hours are possible on the operator side.

The cloud, the big energy guzzler?

If you think beyond the performance aspects of the cloud, you quickly come to the subject of energy consumption: the data center of a cloud provider runs around the clock and must be constantly up to date – this does not work without the corresponding power and energy consumption. Stand-by, night shutdown, power saving mode? Does not exist here.

On the other hand, a correspondingly large number of customers are also connected to the cloud, which in turn do without their own servers. This in itself does not make a difference – but thousands of individual servers that are being eliminated in favor of the cloud solution do make a difference. Even more sustainable with a cloud provider with green power supply.

Thinking about tomorrow today

The classic in-house server may still be an option today – but what will it look like tomorrow?? Is it still worth investing in your own IT infrastructure in the medium and long term?? Or should the budget for it be diverted as soon as possible to a technology that is not only more future-proof, but also means less responsibility and effort??

You are still looking for answers to these questions? We help you find it. ProTRONIC has been offering the IT tailor-made suit for companies for thirty years. From server hardware and classic hosting offers to individually tailored (Microsoft Azure) cloud solutions, we have just the right thing for your needs.

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