On-Premise vs Cloud

Evaluating on-premises vs colocation vs cloud
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Evaluate the benefits and costs of On-Premise vs Cloud


What are the benefits and drawbacks of on-premise vs cloud and is their an alternative?


There has been a general trend over recent years of an increasing number of businesses to abandon their on-premise infrastructure in favour of the cloud.  There are several factors influencing this:


1) Increased popularity of productivity applications such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.

2) Proliferation of web-based tools and applications.

3) Rising energy and hardware costs.

4) Growing complexity in security.

5) Changes in working environments towards hybrid or remote working.


Some still maintaining their on-premise infrastructure are now starting to wonder if cloud is right for them.  Cloud has many advantages and it works for a wide range of business types, however it is not one size fits all. Some industries have unique storage and security requirements needing consideration when evaluating a shift in infrastructure.


So which solution works best for your organisation? Check out our review of the three main infrastructure solutions, On Premise, Cloud and Co-Location to find out.



Long before cloud was an option, servers were typically hosted within a company’s office (on-premise) consuming valuable space. Cabinets were installed into corners, cupboards or (in larger organisations) a secure room.  Whilst it is the tried-and-true approach for many businesses, it does come with a much higher price tag and is more resource intensive than either co-location or cloud options.



The Benefits:


Control: You have complete control over your environment, your hardware and your security. You decide what to buy, when and how to deploy it.


Access: You have no reliance on any third party to access to your infrastructure.


Compliance: Industry specific data storage and access compliance.



The Drawbacks:


Cost: Hosting all your infrastructure on site is the most expensive approach. Not only does it come with a large up-front cost for hardware and software, you also have ongoing maintenance, space, power, cooling, and the cost of any future hardware upgrades or failures.


Flexibility: It is more difficult to scale up or down your compute based on your company’s requirements.


Talent: Manging an entire companies’ infrastructure takes expertise which needs to be hired in house or managed through a third party. Hiring and retaining the talent required is costly and difficult in the current employment market, is often under utilised and limited in skill set.


Space: Not only is it unsightly, but a server cabinet or rack typically takes up a large amount of space in your office.



Where it works best:


Nowadays, on-premise works best for organisations who require direct access to their physical servers or local applications on a regular basis.  Typically, it is large enterprises who have the resources to fund and support an on-premise solution which meets the needs of businesses.


If your infrastructure is on-premise and you are looking for advice, speak to our team of experts to evaluate which option works best for you.





When storing your data in the cloud, you are making use of someone else’ hardware which is most likely on a shared tenancy with other customers. Cloud infrastructure gives you the most flexibility in being able to scale your infrastructure when you are looking for increased compute or storage and requires no investment in hardware.  This makes it much more flexible than on-premise; but that does not mean it works for everyone.


The Benefits


No Hardware: Because you are utilising a virtual server, you have no upfront or replacement hardware costs.


Scale: Cloud is the most flexible when looking to scale your infrastructure up or down because it does not require any change to hardware, and typically a cloud provider can spin up a new virtual server within a very short period.


Predictable: Much like your phone contract, most cloud providers will fix your cloud subscription price for the length of your contract.


Labour: You will not require any IT networking or cloud specialists to manage your infrastructure depending on your compute requirements.


Resilient: Benefit from the cloud providers SLAs and guarantees about uptime and security.





Compliance: Some compliance or data regulations prohibit the use of cloud to host certain types of data, or there are limitations on which countries data can be stored or accessed.


No Control of Hardware: Cloud providers will choose the hardware and maintain it to their standards.


Vendor Lock-in: Particularly true for public cloud, most cloud vendors will lock you into a contract for a fixed period which could limit your ability to exit or reduce your usage mid contract.


Internet Required: Whilst you can typically guarantee the Internet connection for your server will be resilient, if your office experiences connectivity issues, you or your staff may not be able to access your resources.



Where it works best:


The best thing about cloud is that it is very flexible and can work for most businesses, the main factor to consider when considering cloud is how much access and/or control you require of your physical server.


To add a spanner into the works, when considering a cloud solution, you also need to think about whether you want this to be a public or private cloud.


Option Three: Co-Location


Co-location is the halfway house between on-premise and cloud.  You get all the benefits of on-premise including control and access to your infrastructure but by hosting it within a data centre it reduces and stabilises energy costs, increases resiliency and removes the need to accommodate servers and the supporting infrastructure within your office.



The Benefits:


Resilience: Dual power normally comes as standard and almost all data centres feature battery and generator backup power.


Sustainable Cooling: Data centres typically have industrial grade, energy efficient, cooling systems to prevent overheating.


Predicable Costs: One fixed price, no more variable energy costs to power or cool your servers.


Flexibility: Data centres have plenty of room if you are looking to expand.


Experts: You have the benefit of experts to lend an extra pair of hands when you need it.


Security: Your hardware is more secure than if you had it in your own office. Data centres use top level security for anyone accessing the site including photo identification, authorised access but can also include biometric security.


Multi-carrier: Flexibility to take your choice of carriers and even have an alternative back up in the event of a failure on one.


Control: You are still in full control of your hardware and environment, the only thing that changes is the location.


Compliance: Maintain compliance with any data processing requirements your business needs to adhere to.





Access: Your servers and infrastructure are no longer on site; you will be required to travel to another destination to physically access your hardware.


Hardware Costs: Still requires an upfront investment in hardware and the cost of any replacement kit.



Where it works best:


Co-location is a great solution for small to medium sized businesses who require physical access to their infrastructure on a regular basis, have to adhere to compliancy regulations and/or need increased levels of security for their data without the increased cost of a fully in house managed IT department. By moving to a datacentre, these organisations get all the benefits of on-premise, but with increased security, reduced energy costs and more resilience for their equipment.


Considering co-location? Speak to Xiria’s team about co-location in our racks at the Ark Data Centre in Farnborough.  This government grade, tier 3 data centre has all the latest features including blade room cooling and sustainable energy solutions.



Hybrid Cloud


Of course, you also don’t have to go all in with one solution.  It may be that a mix of solutions is the best way to go.  You could have all your general business data stored in Microsoft 365 (public cloud), but your confidential personal data or specialised application hosted on a server(s) co-located in a datacentre. Speak to experts about your storage and compute needs to make sure your getting the right fit for your business.


Fundamentally, when considering a shift in your infrastructure, make sure you consider these 5 key things:


Cost – of energy, hardware, labour and maintenance

Scalability – vendor lock in, upfront vs. ongoing investment and capacity

Access – direct or indirect access to your hardware is needed

Security – risk assess which data needs to be kept in higher levels of security as well as compliance to regulations

Resilience – what would the impact be to your business if you lost power or connectivity


For any advice on your infrastructure, speak to the team at Xiria about having a free, no obligation consultation.