As more businesses transition to the cloud, questions persist about the benefits of a cloud environment compared to physical servers. It's important for IT managers of small businesses to understand the difference between the two and how each could affect your current organization's infrastructure.
Below is a breakdown of cloud verses physical environments to help you decide which solution is best for your organization:
Physical servers are stored on-prem or in a datacenter and often have dedicated functions such as file storage or data processing. According to Gigaom, dedicated servers may be the most financially viable option for startups because of the cost of maintaining a cloud service.
Collocated servers stored offsite at a datacenter provide another benefit to startup organizations by removing the burden of maintenance and uptime off their shoulders and onto the service providers. Oftentimes, collocated servers are paired with a managed network service agreement, giving the service provider full responsibility of maintaining the organizations IT infrastructure.
A drawback to physical servers is lack of scalability. In order to accommodate for business growth, you would need to buy additional servers, often purchasing more than what you actually need. Virtualized servers allow you to divide a physical server into multiple virtual environments so you can do more with less; however, that can create vulnerabilities in your infrastructure.
The Cloud is a web-based platform for software and services that are hosted by cloud service providers. It can perform much of the same functions as physical servers, but through the Internet instead of a physical environment. The cloud service provider is responsible for maintaining its infrastructure.
There are many benefits for businesses using the cloud, most often cited by business owners is cost savings and enhanced productivity. It is also easier to streamline operations as more cloud services integrate with each other. Increased efficiency and better use of business resources are both important advantages of computing in a cloud environment, according to Wired contributor Edwin Schouten.
A survey conducted by RightScale found that 55 percent of enterprises have cloud-friendly architectures despite not running a significant portion of their application portfolios in the cloud.
Whether or not a company should adopt cloud hosting could be a simple question of what is the most advantageous to the company at the time. Many organizations have chosen a hybrid approach, storing line-of-business applications on dedicated or virtual servers, while hosting office productivity tools in the cloud.
Pinnacle, an Advanced Imaging Solutions company, can assess your current infrastructure to guide you on the best options for your business. Whether you need physical or virtualized environments, or a robust cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure, we have experienced personnel ready to help you get started. Contact a Pinnacle representative today to discuss your server needs.