Cloud Backup vs. On-Premise: The Great Debate

Cloud Backup vs. On-Premise Appliance -The Great Debate









It doesn’t matter what size your company is, if your data is important to you, you need to decide how you will back it up. Comparing on-premise backup solutions to cloud offerings is likely the first step in deciphering which is right for your organization.

On-premise backup

The traditional, more well-known option, on-premise backup refers to the process of storing data locally, whether on hard drives, discs or servers. For the purposes of this article, we are going to group geographically similar backup locations together, as in the event of a disaster, they would likely both be impacted. For example, if an organization stores their backups on a server at a location 25 miles away, that will still count as “on-premise.”

As I mentioned, on-premise solutions are practical and well-known, and most view them as “safe.”  They are quick and provide low latency as they are backed by networking communications, which are suitable for a variety of different workloads, including those that require high performance. The farther away the backup lives, the higher latency there will be, and in some circumstances, applications that enterprise companies rely on will not run optimally as a result.

On the negative side, on-premise backup solutions can have hefty up-front costs due to the large volumes of disk space that businesses must purchase. Local backups are hardly disaster-proof, as natural disasters and in-house user error can plague this type of backup, making them vulnerable. Further, continual software and hardware maintenance, electricity, and personnel to manage the systems are costs that never go away.

Cloud backup

Newer backup technologies are bunched together under the umbrella term “cloud”, whether an organization uploads everything to an online backup service or creates a replication center in a despot location. A cloud solution typically involves the storing of data outside of the organization. Instead of storing data by yourself, someone else does it for you while charging you a monthly cost. Cloud options tend to be cheaper than their on-premise brethren, and can also store large volumes of data.

Cloud storage solutions traditionally offer reduced downtime in the event of a loss and allow for easier locating of data. Additionally, using the cloud as a backup medium can allow for increased scalability, as you have the ability to increase your storage at any time. Further, you only pay for the data you use, and nothing more. When you need to access your data, you can do so, and after the number crunching is done, you can simply download the results. This works well to meet the needs of growing businesses.

Using the cloud is not perfect, however. While there is no large upfront costs, there is a monthly fee to use this kind of a service. Conversely, any time you make a data request there is a small fee. There is also another charge depending on how many gigabytes of data you use per month, although that is mitigated to some degree if you are using a large amount. And data transfers, whether into or out of the cloud provider’s server, will cost you. Then there is the upfront decision: do you go with the basic cloud backup package, or the premium? While cloud storage saves you some money in the beginning, the costs can definitely add up.

Although security is growing, the cloud is less safe. Many cloud systems have trouble with security, downtime and recovery performance. A quick Google search of cloud breaches in recent years will portray this, as the cloud is obviously much more susceptible to hacking and malware as well.

While the cloud does seem to be the backup platform of the future, it is not without its flaws. On-premise recovery solutions are still much more stable and produce faster results. However, the cloud solutions do grant users ease-of-use and a smaller price tag. With a local approach, you possess complete control over all of your vital business information, but with a cloud solution, you don’t need to remember to constantly back things up, since that process is automated by the provider.

Decisions, decisions. Hopefully this brief guide to the battle between on-premise and cloud backup solutions gives you some new insight.

Timothy King
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