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On-Premise vs Off-Premise: Best Value for the Remote Office

By: Alan Seal on November 5, 2020


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to work remotely, there was already a sizable shift toward more distributed workforces. In fact, according to a 2019 study, more than half of all server racks around the world will be located in an off-premises facility by 2024. Although on-site server rooms make up roughly 95 percent of all data solutions, that number includes only 23 percent of total utilized racks, and a full 60 percent of enterprise data center floor space is less than 10,000 feet. The rush to the cloud and colocation facilities will surely accelerate in the coming years now that organizations are doubling down on their remote workforce investments.

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Remote Office Networking Needs

Managing a truly distributed workforce presents a number of challenges for an organization. The remote office requires high levels of IT flexibility and reliability. Employees must have access to the appropriate tools to do their jobs effectively, and the data and applications they’re working with must be available at all times. While a brief system outage can be disruptive to the traditional office, downtime is even more devastating for the remote workplace.

When distributed employees are accessing the company network remotely, there are a number of important cybersecurity concerns that need to be addressed. Since many home networks lack the same security protections found in most workplaces, strong access controls are needed to help preserve compliance and keep sensitive data secure.

On-Premise vs Off-Premise Data Solutions

In order to meet these requirements, organizations need a data solution that provides extensive connectivity options, high levels of uptime reliability, and heightened network security. Enterprises have typically met their IT requirements with a private data center, while small-to-medium businesses traditionally turned to a more modest on-site data solution, such as a server room or closet within their main office space.

These on-premise data solutions have always come with their fair share of problems, however. They tend to be very inefficient in terms of power utilization. That’s because organizations are rarely able to optimize the IT environment where their servers are located. Sometimes they’re stored in rooms with poor ventilation, which increases cooling demands. In other cases, unplanned capacity expansion has led to server sprawl, with multiple machines creating high power demands without delivering any performance improvements. Over time, these on-prem data solutions become quite expensive to manage.

For organizations with a remote workforce, however, this arrangement poses additional challenges. Direct connectivity is often limited. Securing direct, low latency access to cloud service providers and a broad range of ISPs is expensive. Without the benefit of a convenient interconnection, companies connect to cloud services over a standard internet connection, which can severely limit performance and also exposes them to numerous cybersecurity risks.

Cost of Building Data Centers

Of course, an enterprise could avoid many of these problems by building its own data center. The substantial capital expenditures involved, however, make this route unviable for the vast majority of companies. While tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft routinely make headlines for their hyperscale facilities, most organizations simply can’t afford to build and maintain their own private data center.

The problem isn’t just the initial cost of construction (although that’s a significant issue), it’s also leveraging the economies of scale necessary to make operating a dedicated private data center practical. Major tech companies are able to build on such a vast scale and offset costs by delivering a high volume of services, but that approach isn’t going to work for a company that just needs a place to deploy a server cabinet or two. The amount of resources and attention needed to maintain such data center infrastructure is simply beyond the capabilities of most organizations.

Going Off-Prem With Colocation Services

Migrating servers and other IT equipment into a colocation facility provides companies with all of the advantages of a dedicated data center at a fraction of the cost. Rather than making a sizable capital investment to build and maintain such a facility, organizations can instead convert their IT costs into an operational expense that provides much greater flexibility.

This is especially valuable for companies that are truly embracing the concept of a distributed workforce and doing away with their existing office space. One of the advantages of going remote is that it allows businesses to get out from under burdensome rent and real-estate obligations. Migrating equipment into a colocation data center enables them to retain ownership of their IT stack while also gaining access to a wide range of additional benefits that their previous on-prem solution most likely lacked.

Colocation data centers provide extensive connectivity options, allowing remote organizations to easily connect their distributed workforce to multiple cloud platforms while retaining full control over how their mission-critical data is managed. Off-premises colocation facilities typically offer tremendous uptime reliability to ensure that remote employees are always able to access the data and applications they need to do their jobs. Since their infrastructure is designed to meet a variety of compliance requirements, these data centers provide an ideal foundation that companies can build their networks upon. And thanks to on-site remote hands support, organizations don’t have to worry about sending a technician to the data center every time there’s an IT issue that needs to be resolved.

On-Premise vs Cloud

Since many organizations rely heavily upon cloud computing platforms, it’s hardly a surprise that some are electing to ditch their physical infrastructure altogether and migrate everything to the cloud. Transitioning to a purely cloud-based solution offers significant advantages over on-prem deployments, mainly in terms of flexibility and scalability. They can be accessed more easily and provisioning additional services is often only a mouse click away.

Transitioning entirely to the cloud does have some drawbacks, however. Many legacy systems are not properly configured to run in a cloud environment and may experience problems if they’re simply lifted and shifted without being rearchitected. Since the infrastructure is managed entirely by the cloud provider, organizations have little direct control over many aspects of their network. This is oftentimes a nonstarter for industries with substantial compliance or security requirements. Finally, while cloud providers may offer better reliability than some on-premises solutions, their uptime SLAs typically fall well short of what a colocation data center can offer (compare Amazon AWS’s 99.99% uptime SLA to vXchnge’s 100% uptime SLA, for instance).

Colocation Data Centers and the Remote Workforce

The shift to remote and distributed workforces is fundamentally changing what organizations need from their technology infrastructure. Colocation data centers offer a “best of all worlds” solution because they allow customers to retain extensive control over their assets while also providing them with the resources they need to build dynamic hybrid IT environments that connect their remote employees to a broad array of scalable cloud services. And thanks to robust access security controls and redundant infrastructure, colocation facilities ensure that a distributed workforce will be able to remain productive, safe, and efficient.

With multiple data center locations across the US, vXchnge has already helped many companies make the transition to an increasingly remote world. Thanks to the power of in\site intelligent monitoring, vXchnge customers have the same level of transparency they expect from their own private data center while also gaining access to low-latency direct cloud on-ramps, powerful access controls, best-in-class DDoS mitigation, and experienced remote hands support, all backed by a 100% uptime reliability SLA. To learn more about how vXchnge can unlock the potential of your distributed workforce, talk to one of our colocation experts today.


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