As large enterprises such as Dropbox continue to choose data centers over cloud computing, more and more businesses are wondering how they may benefit from such a transformation.
No matter your industry, data is the linchpin of your operation. How you store, manage, and secure such data is a critical decision that has impact all across your business. We understand why organizations have already moved on from on-premise data centers as the sole means of storage (think cost and obsolescence). But why is a giant cloud hosting company migrating away from third-party cloud storage?
"Data center" and "cloud" are terms that are often confused to be the same solution. After all, cloud service providers use data centers. In fact, public cloud providers own many data centers in several locations to maintain the data availability you demand. The biggest difference of a data center partner is in the network.
A cloud solution uses off-premise infrastructure, but stores your data on the internet. A data center partner leverages its own infrastructure, but connects you to your own private network. Edge data centers are particularly advantageous because they allow you to store data closer to your end-users, IT staff and customers.
Businesses choosing data center solutions over cloud computing often champion the connectivity, flexibility, scalability and security of the former option. How do each of these elements impact your business?
Unlike public cloud solutions, data centers give you the ability to configure your infrastructure to suit the needs of your business and operations. A wide variety of connectivity options ensures that your data can optimally flow throughout your networks and users can accesses any file they need, at any time. Ultimately, cross connect ability gives your data center a greater spectrum of options to configure your optimal solution – from a performance and cost perspective.
Cloud computing companies must have direct connectivity and access to all major cloud providers, including AWS, Microsoft, Google and more. Megaport empowers data centers to make a direct connection.
The geographic reach of a data center is also an important consideration. With a variety of locations, your data center should be relatively close to your place of business. That geographic optionality is especially beneficial if you plan to expand your business to multiple locations. With data safely stored and accessible in data centers across the country and world, users can access the information they need from any location. With protocols in place to ensure uptime, you also ensure that users can access data at any time.
Your business growth also requires you to scale your equipment and management needs. With a data center partner, you’re spared the need to invest heavily in new infrastructure. Constrained space and power often compels businesses to over-provision and unnecessarily waste valuable dollars to keep up with customer needs. The ability to scale as you grow ensures that you can always configure your storage and manage your data for optimal flow and cost.
The most important consideration of many businesses is the security of their computing environment. Businesses universally suffer from cloud users’ lack of expertise. Unbeknownst to them, your employees may configure their cloud storage hazardously. In fact, the GDI Foundation tracked nearly 175,000 instances of misconfigured cloud software and services in the first nine months of 2017 alone.
Data centers protect against data leakage and theft with end-to-end encryption, privacy controls and limitations to minimize your data exposure. But with data threats and security continuously evolving, risk minimization must be a top priority for any data center. Your partner must test, update and patch your environment to maintain the highest security standards at all times.
A key component of security management are data centers’ security protocols, which include physical access control, network secure zones, server and host lockdown protocols, coordinated communication and vulnerability monitoring and scanning. Implementing patches and software updates (as well as fire prevention updates) ensures that your data is protected against the latest attacks and methodologies.
A data center is often ideal for businesses that require customized systems that gives them maximum control over their data and networks. Companies such as Dropbox have complex workloads across a number of different applications.
While a cloud solution is scalable to your business needs, with potentially unlimited capacity, your costs can skyrocket quickly. While AWS, Azure and Google Cloud made a combined $7.5 billion in Q3 2017, its customers wasted an average of 35% of its cloud spend – a cumulative total of $10 billion over the course of a year.
Without the control of a data center, business have to work harder to create a cloud environment that optimizes their performance and costs. If your data needs are relatively simple, cloud services may be your best option. But like Dropbox, many organizations need the customization and expertise of data centers to streamline their operations and bottom line.
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