Traditional IT Infrastructure vs. Cloud Computing
Between Traditional IT Infrastructure and Cloud Computing, there's a lot to consider when deciding on the best IT model for a business. Every company needs to ensure scalability, cost-consciousness, reliability, and security for their business. While there has been a major pivot over recent years from traditional IT infrastructure, or "on-premise" infrastructure, to the cloud, many forget that not all solutions work for everyone. Here are the pros and cons of traditional IT Infrastructure vs. Cloud Computing.
Cloud is considered the cutting-edge form of IT infrastructure for businesses today and it is rapidly surpassing on-premise infrastructure in popularity. According to the State of the Cloud Report for 2019 by RightScale, 94% of enterprises utilized the cloud. In 2021, that percentage increased to 97% according to a report done by Flexera. That said, there are still businesses out there that get more bang for their buck through traditional IT infrastructure.
What is Traditional IT Infrastructure?
Traditional IT Infrastructure, otherwise known as on-premise infrastructure, is made up of facilities, data centers, servers, networking hardware, desktop computers, and enterprise application solutions. It is usually installed on-premise for private use by a company, containing a business's stored data and applications.
With this system, physical data centers are used for storing data and running a complete networking system for daily operations. This IT model consists of various pieces of hardware that are connected to a network via a remote server on-site. Many businesses with this IT model need to have an in-house IT department to install and maintain the hardware.
What is cloud computing?
With cloud computing, the IT infrastructure can be accessed via the internet. Users have the ability to use computing resources without installing on-premise hardware through something called virtualization. Virtualization distributes the capabilities of a physical machine among many environments by connecting physical servers maintained by a services provider.
Cloud infrastructure is a virtual data solution that enables businesses to access applications and information online, regardless of where they are in the world. Because cloud infrastructure is public, it is often referred to as the "public cloud".
advantages of traditional It
Traditional IT infrastructure is considered the most secure data hosting solution because most of the advantages to this model place full responsibility on the company to manage it. Traditional IT heavily relies on an in-house IT team to provide maintenance and support. With this IT model, businesses can take advantage of outsourcing their IT staff in order to gain additional expertise, increase focus, and obtain support in deploying and managing their business technology.
Full Control of IT Environment
With Traditional IT, IT departments have full control of their infrastructure. Any problems, changes, updates, and basic maintenance would be the sole responsibility of the IT staff. With the function and execution of services being completely determined by the staff on-site, a business with this IT model could exercise a lot of flexibility.
Sole Responsibility of Security
Because only members of the company's staff have access to the data center in this IT model, most companies find solace in the security of their company data. This option appears more attractive to companies that have to ensure they meet compliance standards.
Around-the-Clock Data Access
Because data is stored on-premise, if network issues were to happen and the internet was interrupted - with a traditional IT infrastructure in place - the company could still access the data. There's a need to worry about downtime due to service outages or anything of the sort.
Ability to Customize Applications and Services
With complete control of the IT environment, businesses with this IT model would be able to fully customize their usage of applications and services. This would be another major perk for businesses that have strict compliance standards to meet with their IT environment.
The main reason I see organizations hesitant to move to the cloud is concern with a variable cost model. People hear horror stories of million dollar invoices and having to pay extra to move your data out. These situations make the news for a reason, they are rare. The last time I ran numbers with a customer this cost for them would have been less than $100.
Ariel Davenport, Solutions Architect
Advantages of cloud computing
Cloud computing is deemed the new frontier of business computing because of its ease of scalability among other inherently flexible features wrapped up in its attractive cost-conscious package. If not switching to the cloud completely, businesses will opt for a hybrid cloud solution.
In a hybrid cloud solution, the storage and services are made up of on-premise infrastructure, private cloud services, and public cloud services such as Microsoft Azure. With the benefits of utilizing cloud computing, whether altogether or by way of a hybrid solution, businesses can leverage a more flexible solution.
Most Cost-Effective Option
Cloud computing is notorious for being the most cost-effective option of the two. Outside of not having to hire a large in-house IT team, utilizing the cloud allows for lower power expenses, lower employee costs, and unlimited storage space.
With traditional IT infrastructure, businesses will usually have to ensure they have the physical space and finances to onboard additional employees. With the cloud, there is an unlimited ability for storage space and resources.
Avoided Downtime through Greater Resiliency
Because information is mirrored across a variety of servers, linked together, and managed by a load balancer, If one server failed or the connection was lost somehow, no data or service would be lost.
Flexible Working Solutions
Cloud computing offers the most flexible of work solutions, enabling employees to work anywhere at any time as long as there is an internet connection.
Easy Software Implementation
Another perk of the cloud is that software is offered on-demand as a subscription service. This is also a major time-saver because businesses don't have to worry about uploading the software to each computer utilizing it.
disadvantages of traditional it Infrastructure
While on-prem infrastructure offers a number of benefits for those that are ready to endure full responsibility of on-premise IT hardware, it comes with its downsides.
Limited Server Capacity
On-premise software doesn't guarantee a consistently high level of server performance. Should a server fail, there could be limited capacity and depending on the situation, this would typically degrade performance or cause a complete outage.
Limited Data Access
Should a power outage occur, there is no access to data from anywhere else. Employees won't be working from home temporarily or accessing data from the local coffee shop — company data is as good as gone until the business is able to recover from the power outage.
More Time Consuming
Any growing business will need more storage space at some point. Utilizing on-prem, more storage space looks like having to purchase or rent another server, get additional software licenses, and have these manually uploaded onto your office hardware. With all of the time required to complete such tasks, traditional IT is not the most timely solution.
High Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)
Because traditional IT involves the usage of physical servers, in order to enable more storage space, a business would also have to pay for any additional hardware needed. Traditional IT forces you to have to purchase an entire suite of supplies, even if your intention is to only use one tool.
Susceptible to Human Error
Having sole responsibility for company data requires a lot of time and money to ensure the right security is implemented and data recovery systems are in place to safeguard it. Without the right training, systems, and backup plans in place — sensitive company data could be jeopardized and the business in charge could face legal fees.
Not Very Accommodating
On-prem hardware doesn't offer remote working capabilities with the same ease that the cloud does. In order to enable remote working, the company would have to set up a VPN and associated security protocols. Because this often comes with problems regarding IT support, however, it's not a feasible way to enable remote working.
While these disadvantages may cause a few bottlenecks, there are options for solutions that can minimize or even eliminate their impact on running a successful Traditional IT environment. Businesses can overcome these challenges by involving a trusted managed services provider like Centre Technologies to provide solutions that embolden security with around-the-clock software and hardware support, monitoring, and maintenance.
disadvantages of cloud computing
With cloud being all the rave, it's not common to touch on the disadvantages. Depending on the needs of the business, there could be a few downsides to cloud computing that may be important to acknowledge.
The first disadvantage is the most obvious - control is limited. Moving services to the cloud requires a business to hand over its data and information. This means that in-house IT staff would not be capable of fixing issues on their own.
Succeptible to Downtime due to Network Issues
The cloud may not be subject to downtime like traditional IT infrastructure, but it is subject to reboots, network outages, account or service highjackings, denial of service attacks, and technology vulnerabilities (more so on shared environments). If any of these were to occur without being accounted for in the cloud strategy, it could cause downtime.
Lack of Security Insight
It is advised that before a business commits to cloud services from a managed services provider, that a security risk assessment is carried out to assess and safeguard against potential vulnerabilities.
Many businesses refrain from cloud computing, especially if they have compliance standards to meet, because of the lack of direct involvement they would have with their IT environment. Businesses with this IT model can enjoy personalized solutions, planning, and support in cloud services via a managed service provider (MSP).
Through utilizing an MSP with a solid cloud strategy, organizations can have access to Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) to ensure round-the-clock access to data and on-demand technology.
Determining Your It Budget
When businesses make a decision regarding the IT model that would be most beneficial to them, considering the budget is critical.
Traditional IT infrastructure will be more costly than the cloud, but if a business needs the ownership that traditional IT allows — it could be the best decision of the two.
On the other hand, if a business is trying to remain cost-conscious, cloud infrastructure would be the best option. Whether by implementing a hybrid solution or utilizing all of the benefits of the cloud, the flexibility would prove invaluable to a team also looking to save.
Which model is right for your business?
Traditional IT Infrastructure and Cloud Computing each offer different advantages and disadvantages, which is why choosing the right IT model can be a challenge for most businesses. If you're unsure of the right IT model for you, utilize the IT consultants here at Centre Technologies. We are ready to assist you in your switch or cultivation of a cloud, hybrid, or traditional IT environment.
Our IT consultants will assess your current environment and develop a unique IT blueprint that not only aligns with your business goals but is crafted to enable business growth. That way, you'll have confidence in the IT model your business utilizes.
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About the Author
Organizations count on Centre to deploy secure and efficient IT solutions that support business-critical operations. On an as-needed basis, Centre’s IT consulting and professional services deliver enterprise-grade solutions customized to customers’ unique business. Centre’s certified consultants design and execute a tailored IT Blueprint™ — a comprehensive plan to manage customers’ immediate needs while enabling long-term business continuity and operational efficiency. Learn more about IT Consulting »