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Organizations that take advantage of public cloud resources have a range of options available when designing their storage architectures. One perfectly viable choice is to keep their resources in-house by using on-premises storage appliances and applications. At the other end of the spectrum, an enterprise can decide to store all of its data using the storage capabilities of a public cloud provider. Between these extremes is the hybrid option that leverages both cloud and on-premises equipment and methods to create a holistic storage environment. 

Deciding which type of storage architecture is right for a particular organization requires a knowledge of the data resources to be stored and the alternative available solutions. Questions need to be answered regarding the amount of data the needs to be in ‘hot’ storage where it can be accessed immediately as opposed to ‘cold’ storage for long-term archival retention. There may also be security concerns that affect the data associated with certain mission-critical or sensitive applications. 

On-Premises Versus Cloud Storage

Here’s how on-premises and cloud storage compare on multiple fronts. An on-premises storage environment can also be referred to as a private cloud. 

Cost

The financial burden involved with providing reliable data storage is one of the factors that initially drives customers to search out cloud solutions. Purchasing on-premises storage devices is expensive and requires capital expenditures that may be prohibitive to some organizations. The upside of this arrangement is that the enterprise owns the devices and can better understand and control costs.

Cloud storage does not necessitate a large initial financial outlay. This can make it an attractive option for organizations not prepared to part with their hard-earned cash. Over time, the initial savings can evaporate due to the continued operating expenses demanded by the cloud provider. These recurring expenses will not go away and may go up over time.

Data security and privacy

The security and privacy of enterprise data resources are vitally important. There are tradeoffs involved when considering how these concerns are handled with public or private cloud storage options. If an organization keeps its data in-house, it can exert complete control over it. It is, however, limited to the technological expertise and solutions possessed by the enterprise.

Cloud providers can offer focused expertise that provides enhanced security to data assets. The drawback is that the data is out of the original enterprise’s control which may result in privacy or compliance issues.

Scaleability

The ability to rapidly scale up and down to address business needs is one of the overriding benefits of cloud storage. An enterprise can fine-tune their capacity with a cloud provider in ways that are virtually impossible with on-premises purchases. 

Adopting a Hybrid Solution

Organizations taking advantage of a hybrid approach to data storage can get the best of both worlds with some forethought and planning. A hybrid cloud storage implementation involves the combination of cloud and on-premises devices and applications that are securely linked and operating in concert. 

IT architects need to balance the security, scaleability, and cost factors when designing the storage infrastructure. While it may at first seem that archiving to the cloud makes sense, the long-term costs may make an in-house solution a better financial choice. Security may be able to be addressed more effectively by cloud providers except for extremely critical data resources that benefit from enterprise expertise.

Finding the right mix of cloud and on-premises storage solutions can result in more effective data processing and reduced costs. It’s worth investigating if a hybrid storage architecture can benefit your organization. 

Last modified on Monday, 24 August 2020
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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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