Data Center vs. Cloud: Finding the Right Fit

By: Jacqueline Lee| - Leave a comment

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Although estimates of growth rates vary, cloud computing is growing quickly. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2017, cloud demand will have grown 18 percent, with the industry generating $246.8 billion in worldwide revenue, reports Fortune. When it comes to the enterprise data center, spending growth is down. According to Gartner, spending on data centers will grow just 0.3 percent this year, with plummeting demand for on-site enterprise storage, CIO reports.

Despite these optimistic growth estimates for cloud, not every organization is ready to ditch its data centers. For some, existing data centers, aided by virtualization to expand capacity, provide sufficient resources for their needs. In fact, many organizations would prefer to expand their existing IT architectures rather than move workloads into the cloud. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for creating the IT environment that’s right for you.

Venturing Into the Cloud

As businesses press forward with digital transformation, they’re launching a host of devices and applications that generate unbelievable amounts of data. Their current data centers often lack the storage capacity to deal with this data tsunami; they may also lack the compute resources to run analytics programs that help them extract value from this data.

Although transitioning legacy applications to the cloud may not be feasible, it often makes sense to host new applications in the cloud. Within hybrid environments, it’s critical to ensure that data centers can call upon additional cloud resources for bursts of activity. It’s also crucial for applications to be able to share data no matter where they’re hosted, which means that clouds and on-premises data centers have to play well together.

One of the fastest-growing segments of cloud computing is public cloud. According to Fortune, Gartner predicts that public cloud providers will see revenue increases of 36.8 percent for a total of $34.6 billion in 2017. However, many organizations still have concerns about public cloud security, and even though they may appreciate the flexibility of public cloud, these organizations may prefer to host complex or sensitive workloads in a local data center. Designing the perfect IT environment often involves a blend of public cloud, private cloud and data centers, whether hardware is local or co-located elsewhere.

Investing in cloud can also benefit disaster recovery. Cloud object storage, for example, enables copies of data to be stored in multiple locations, making recovery possible even when on-premises storage isn’t available. A good cloud data center support services provider can integrate these environments, helping businesses identify when to keep applications on the premises and when to host them remotely.

Adding Data Center Capacity

Hosting applications and storing data on-site can sometimes be the best option. For applications that must be low-latency and for situations in which IT teams prefer to keep tight control over their data, it makes no sense to get rid of existing data centers simply to move workloads to the cloud.

One of the drawbacks of data centers is that scalability is only achievable to a certain point. Adding computing or storage resources requires a capex investment. For situations in which additional temporary capacity is needed or where existing facilities can’t contain new equipment, the modular data center can be a great solution. It adds resources without requiring a building addition, and its cooling needs don’t add to the load on existing facilities.

Finding the Right Balance

Different organizations have different needs when it comes to creating the ideal environment. A lot depends on existing infrastructure and on the nature of the organization — and the data it protects. Virtualizing existing servers can consolidate workloads in existing data centers, help you get more from existing resources and lower your power and cooling costs. But don’t hesitate, where plausible, to take advantage of the cost savings and flexibility achievable with the cloud.

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About The Author

Jacqueline Lee

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Lee specializes in business and technology writing, drawing on over 10 years of experience in business, management and entrepreneurship. Currently, she blogs for HireVue and IBM, and her work on behalf of client brands has appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. Magazine. In addition to writing, Jackie works as a social media manager and freelance editor. She's a member of the American Copy Editors Society and is completing a certificate in editing from the Poynter Institute.

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