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Pros and Cons of Cloud-Based Server

Pros and Cons of Cloud-Based Server

A blog by Graeme McInteer,

Pros and Cons of Using a Cloud Based Server

ICT Managed Services and Support at Zephyr Consulting Limited.

So your server is 3-5 years old and it’s wheezing. Should you replace your server or is it time to consider other options? There are other alternatives to not having your server on your premises or collocated. An option is to use a cloud-based server, such as Microsoft’s Azure service. This is effectively renting a server for your own use, to do the job one would do if you had it onsite. There are advantages and disadvantages of using a cloud-based server, here’s a summary of what we reckon are key:

Cost Savings

You don’t have to buy a server, which can range from $10,000 to many, many tens of thousands of dollars. By renting, you pay as you go. Say it’s a test server, then you can turn it off to save money. You generally don’t pay anything for a cloud-based server if it isn’t turned on. But then you aren’t likely to do that with your ‘main’ server if it was in the cloud – that would be crazy turning it off and on every night and morning. And in the long run, it is still much cheaper to rent an Azure server than having your own.

But of course, over time, that money is going to add up substantially, however it does also mean you will never have to fork out for a new server after 5 years because it’s now out of warranty.

Flexibility

An advantage of having a cloud server is that you can add easily more disk space or disk speed to it if you need to. If the server in your office runs low on space or speed, it can cost thousands to update your own server. With a cloud server, you simply press a button on a website when you want to add more space or speed – easy. Sure, it costs you more per month, but later if you manage to reduce your disk space and speed requirements, you can reduce your use and save! You can’t do that with physical disks you have purchased.

Disaster Recovery

For many businesses, a huge advantage for using cloud-based servers is Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Because your servers are offsite (potentially even in another country) that means if there’s a natural disaster, your staff can still access everything they normally would, because your servers are elsewhere and unaffected. Your staff would need to have internet access of course, but this instantly takes away the pain of having to recover your servers buried under rubble. Some companies unfortunately cannot come back from such a disaster, if they are not fully prepared for it.

Speed

With the Pros, there are also some Cons and disadvantages of using a cloud server too like speed and distance. Having a cloud server does not impact on how things connect but no offsite server is going to be as fast as a decent onsite server. Your staff will probably get used to it, but initially they may feel the initial difference.

Data sovereignty

Another problem with offsite servers, especially those based overseas (like Microsoft’s Azure servers) may be data sovereignty. Data sovereignty means the laws governing data in whichever country your data may be located in. Some companies are simply not allowed to have their data offshore. If they use a service (or server) that is based in another country, well they can’t. End of story. There are many New Zealand-based providers who can rent you a server that is based in New Zealand, and for many this is the preferred (and legal) option.

What do you think of our summary? Are there other points we’ve missed?

Posted on: October 1, 2015
A blog by Graeme McInteer,