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Data Center vs. Cloud: Determining Which is Right for You

By: Blair Felter on July 1, 2020

For many organizations, the steep cost of building out a state-of-the-art, in-house IT solution is simply beyond their available resources. This once made it difficult for smaller companies to compete with larger, more established enterprises. Fortunately, the availability of colocation data centers and public cloud computing platforms have leveled the playing field by giving even modest upstarts access to world-class computing resources at a fraction of the cost it would take to build them. The only challenge, however, is determining which solution makes the most sense for an organization: data center vs cloud.

Advantages of Data Centers

While data centers may strike some companies as an outdated and inflexible solution on the decline, these assumptions are actually more reflective of the way businesses once utilized private, on-premises data solutions. Whether it was a dedicated facility or a server room (or, more often, a closet), these on-premises arrangements were generally inefficient from a power and cooling standpoint and quite expensive to maintain.

When organizations are considering data center solutions today, they’re usually looking at modern colocation facilities, which are far more sophisticated, reliable, and versatile than the data centers of previous decades. Today’s colocation data centers not only offer incredibly reliable infrastructure with multiple redundant systems designed to ensure maximum uptime, but they also provide an abundance of connectivity options to help tenants build the hybrid IT systems they need to meet their ever-changing business needs.

Data centers deliver high levels of security and can meet the exacting compliance needs of a variety of industries, such as healthcare (HIPAA) and retail (PCI DSS). Thanks to intelligent monitoring tools like vXchnge’s in\site platform, organizations can also retain the same high level of visibility and control they would expect from managing their own private data solution. When combined with remote hands services, these tools allow them to manage their technology stack remotely without having to worry about sending people to the data center every time there’s an issue to address.

Once an organization has migrated their assets into a data center environment, they can easily scale their network to accommodate their increasing capacity needs. Whether that means adding new equipment to the deployment or securing additional virtual resources through direct cloud on-ramps as part of a robust hybrid IT environment, colocation data centers afford their tenants maximum flexibility when it comes to meeting their business priorities. This flexibility helps companies to avoid the vendor lock-in that so often accompanies cloud services and ensures that essential data can be kept secure on private servers.

In the event the worst should happen, data centers provide an ideal environment for disaster recovery solutions. This could include access to DRaaS providers or setting up redundant hot or cold site backups in separate data center locations to ensure ongoing data availability. Given the high level of uptime offered by leading colocation facilities, this is often the most secure business continuity solution an organization can deploy.

Advantages of The Cloud

Long heralded for their affordability and ease of use, cloud computing platforms are an attractive solution for organizations looking to unload their physical IT infrastructure and go entirely virtual. By migrating essential data and applications to the cloud, companies can get out from under expensive capital investments in equipment and outsource all physical IT management to a third-party provider.

The primary advantage of cloud services are their flexibility and scalability. Public cloud platforms provide almost limitless computing power that can be leveraged in a variety of ways, allowing companies to store data, develop new programs and applications, and manage their business entirely online. Provisioning new resources to accommodate business growth is as simple as contacting the cloud provider and securing more capacity. Almost every type of software and digital service today is available through the cloud, allowing organizations to pick and choose the platforms they need to meet their specific business requirements.

Public cloud platforms are continuously being monitored and improved by providers to strengthen their cybersecurity protections and improve stability. While they may not be able to match the superior uptime reliability of data center solutions, the leading cloud platforms typically offer 99.99% uptime SLAs that easily meet the availability needs of most industries and customers.

Of course, many organizations are drawn to the cloud for the potential cost savings. Since cloud providers are able to leverage economies of scale when it comes to power and cooling infrastructure, they can pass those savings along to their customers. Provided companies can right-size their data needs, a well-optimized cloud deployment can significantly increase budget flexibility by shifting costs from CAPEX to OPEX.

Data Center vs Cloud: How to Determine Which is Right for You

Given all of these advantages, the decision between a data center and the cloud may seem like a matter of preference. While this may be the case for some small businesses with modest IT requirements, many small to medium-sized businesses and larger enterprises will be much better served by opting for a colocation data center over a purely cloud-based solution.

That’s because data centers offer far more secure and reliable environments for essential data and applications. vXchnge’s colocation data centers, for example, are engineered for perfection and backed by 100% uptime SLAs to ensure that customers will always have access to their mission-critical resources. For industries like healthcare and financial services, no level of downtime is acceptable, making data centers the only viable option when they’re looking to outsource their IT infrastructure.

While cloud computing platforms offer tremendous advantages in terms of rapid scalability, carrier-neutral data centers offer all those capabilities and more. Thanks to direct cloud on-ramp connectivity, data center customers can not only provision cloud services quickly, but they can also create dynamic multi-cloud environments that connect their secure private servers to any additional cloud platforms they need.

The intelligent monitoring capabilities of data centers (thanks to platforms like in\site) also deliver a level of transparency that no cloud provider can match, providing visibility into key performance metrics that allow companies to save costs and improve efficiency. Where month-to-month cloud billing can vary wildly due to unexpected spikes in power and bandwidth utilization, data center performance is easier to monitor and adjust, which makes it easier to budget IT expenditures and make future capacity plans.

Get the Best of Data Centers and the Cloud with vXchnge

With multiple data center locations in key markets across the country, vXchnge can help colocation customers get closer to their end users to minimize latency with edge computing architecture and set up strategic backup sites for unparalleled risk mitigation and business continuity. Thanks to our robust connectivity marketplace, vXchnge customers can leverage all the benefits of an efficient data center infrastructure without sacrificing the versatility of the leading cloud computing platforms. To learn more about how our data centers can transform your business, contact one of our colocation experts today.

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