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In-house, In-Cloud, In-data-centre or hybrid – which way to go?

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In today’s digital world, businesses have the luxury of exploring a wide range of choices about their future software architecture.

As older operating systems fall out of support, businesses naturally look to replace them with newer alternatives. This has seen a rise in companies choosing to implement Cloud-compatible or Cloud-only systems. While it is advantageous to have so many options on offer, today’s IT and data communications manager must choose wisely in order to find the operation which best suits the unique needs of their business. The management, manipulation and communication of information is the main function of most businesses, Therefore, only by researching and taking your business’ requirements into consideration can the correct decision be made.

With this in mind, this blog will explore the most popular software architecture systems on offer today and the benefits and disadvantages each type can bring to a business.

In-house

One option is in-house, which provides visibility, control and the notion that management is completely in control. In reality, this is an illusion. The requirements laid on an in-house data centre are no less than those of a commercial data centre, but most fall far short. They don’t necessarily have 24/7 manned security, duplicated power systems, duplicated diesel generators and multiple fibre providers. In-house operations also come at a price – space, especially in bigger cities, is expensive and insuring your business’ IT can also quickly rack up the bills.

I am not at all surprised 25 per cent of businesses plan to move away from their in-house data centres in the next year. With more appealing options on offer, a decline of this type of operation is inevitable.

Commercial data centres

Commercial data centres are an obvious choice. They allow an organisation to move its IT and data communications operations to a third-party facility where all the shortcomings of the in-house data centre are fixed.

Commercial data centres bring to the table what in-house operations normally lack; 24/7 manned security, ISO27001 data security certifications, fully redundant cooling and power systems, dual diesel generators and at least a dozen fibre providers on site. A commercial data centre offering colocation services overcomes the disadvantages of an in-house data centre and can be cheaper overall.

Public and private Cloud

It’s no secret more businesses are embracing the Cloud as their future software architecture. Public Clouds are massive arrays of computing power in purpose-built data centres operated by large US-based multinational corporations. In an all-Cloud implementation of an organisation’s IT and data communications, the business no longer needs to look after physical equipment, but still needs the same DevOps staff. Using public Clouds also moves cost from capital expenditure to operational expenditure, which may be an advantage depending on the organisation’s financial policies. Security is probably the most common problem associated with this solution as there is no clarity of where the data is and who else can access it.

An alterative is private Cloud, which is simply remote hosting operated by multiple suppliers. An accounting firm offering its clients online accounting services, rather than running accountancy packages on the client’s own premises, is an example of this. There are all sorts of private Cloud implementations, and they are each as good or bad and as secure or insecure as the supplier makes them.

Hybrid Cloud

While there are clearly benefits to all of these data storage options, more and more businesses are turning to hybrid Cloud – a mix-and-match of the above - and for good reason. This operation allows companies to choose to run some of their applications on the organisation’s own servers, either in-house or in a commercial data centre, and run some of them in a public Cloud. It’s then understandable the flexibility and scalability associated with a hybrid Cloud are what IT leaders consider the most appealing benefits of the model.

Choosing a data storage solution is not a quick or trivial task. Only by thoroughly researching and considering the individual business’ requirements can this decision be made successfully.

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