The main difference between the cloud and a data center is that a data center refers to on-premise hardware while the cloud refers to off-premise computing. The cloud stores your data in the public cloud, while a data center stores your data on your own hardware. An on-premise data center includes everything from servers and email to the networking equipment. Depending on the organization, this can range from a server closet to a massive, dedicated private data center like those operated by large tech companies.
With a cloud data center, the actual hardware is managed and run by the cloud company, often with the help of a third-party managed services provider. Clients then run their applications and manage their data within a virtual infrastructure that runs on cloud servers.
So what’s better; the cloud or data center? While both have their benefits, it ultimately comes down to your specific organization, its needs, and future plans/goals.
Benefits of the Cloud
Many businesses are turning to the cloud; they believe that utilizing the cloud makes more sense. Start-up businesses with a lack of resources and large enterprise organizations with limited budgets, may find that the cloud is a good option for them because it gives them immediate capacity without the need for a big upfront investment. Other organizations may find that the cloud is useful for disaster recovery purposes.
With the increasing need for more storage, one big benefit of the cloud is that the transparent infrastructure can be extended when needed. The scalability of the cloud allows your organization to add or reduce capacity as your needs change. Because the cloud doesn’t require a big investment in on-premise hardware, it can reduce your total cost of ownership and simplify your environment. Flexibility, ease of use, speed, and agility are all attractive features of the cloud. Another benefit is that the cloud provider takes care of maintenance and management, like software updates.
Benefits of a Data Center
Maintaining an in-house data center can be expensive, but it can also be beneficial to be in total control of your computing environment. Organizations that have their own data center are in complete control of their environment’s security, capacity, and performance; while those organizations using the cloud have to depend on the cloud provider for cybersecurity, performance, and reliability. For these reasons, organizations that need high availability, require higher levels of performance, run mission-critical applications, or have strict compliance requirements may be better off with their own data center.
A Hybrid Solution
Sometimes the best solution is a hybrid of cloud and data center. Many organizations find that using their data center for critical data and using the cloud for less confidential information works well. Because the cloud is so easily accessible and scalable, using the cloud for additional capacity might be a good solution for some organizations. You may find that certain workloads are better suited for your data center while others run more effectively in the cloud. In the end, your flexibility, workload, and security needs will dictate whether a data center or the cloud is the best fit for your organization.
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