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On-Prem vs. Microsoft Azure Cloud Comparison

Cloud computing has become an integral part of technology, but the move to a subscription-based cloud service can be overwhelming. There are tons of new terms, processes, best practice shifts, and a million other nuances that can make most feel overwhelmed.  To help demystify the concepts involved with transitioning from an on-premise to cloud solution, we’ve compiled some supporting information to help you make the best decision for your business.

Security

Although many businesses find comfort in controlling and protecting their information onsite, cloud service providers are required to meet much higher security standards than most internal teams could ever afford or implement. Authentication, authorization, logging, and auditing are all built into today’s cloud platforms, and network and application firewalls are standardized in cloud offerings.  

Because security is a critical feature of the most highly regarded cloud service providers, they assume breach within their security infrastructure. This means they are actively and continuously looking for breaches in security. When your more limited internal resources no longer have to monitor potential security threats, they’re able to focus their value in other parts of the organization.

Reliability & Scalability

Most reliable cloud service providers guarantee 99.999% + up-time. Because they typically provide power redundancy, cooling systems, fire suppression systems, servers, storage, and security systems, cloud reliability is enhanced. With on-premise hardware, you don’t necessarily have any guarantee and the cost of making heavier investments to ensure the same level of reliability can be daunting.  

The main benefit of a scalable architecture is performance. If your traffic load increases substantially, scalability is key to remaining up and running. Cloud services allow for easy scalability—without an additional hardware or software investment—if the size or the needs of the organization change dramatically.

Backup & Recovery

An essential component of a strong disaster recovery system is a reliable backup service. 

Microsoft Azure Backup ensures your business can continue running smoothly even if data is lost or compromised due to viruses, malware, infrastructure failure, bugs, hackers, and whatever else you may come across. With Azure, your data is replicated and secured somewhere other than where your data is stored, so your risk is decreased by separating your backup from your day-to-day operations. 

Disasters are never planned, but Azure Site Recovery Services help you plan for even the worst disaster. When a critical system fails, you can restore your whole virtual system and decrease your recovery time often to minutes instead of days, thereby saving the expense and stress of extended operational downtime.

Flexibility

If in a year’s time, you realize that you no longer need a server in the cloud, you simply turn it off, thus eliminating spend. With on-premise hardware, you are bound to the server. While you can try to recoup some of the capital expense by selling it, you would need to pay taxes on that income. On-premise solutions also limit your ability to obtain the latest and greatest technology. A cloud service allows flexibility, the best equipment in the industry, and an immediate business impact in a competitive market.

Additional Costs
Although the monthly fees associated with a cloud solution can seem higher, it’s important to fully understand the costs associated with maintaining an on-premise solution. To begin, on-premise solutions require maintenance. Just as a car requires upkeep to ensure it drives smoothly, so does your technology solutions. Maintenance costs are significantly reduced if not eliminated upon transition to the cloud.  

On-premise hardware also requires energy and physical space. While the costs seem minimal up front, they add up over time. On average, the per-month cost of power for a rack server is $29.00, which equates to a cost savings of $348 per year after moving to the cloud. 

The lifecycle of hardware is typically around five years. Therefore, the cost to migrate the system to new hardware should be accounted for in the total cost of an on-premise solution. In the cloud, if the solution needs to be upgraded, it happens seamlessly in the background by the cloud provider. Additionally, if you rebuild every five years, you have to experience a cycle of hardware replacement that most organizations struggle to deal with. There’s downtime as well as the expense of hiring a team to complete the risky and difficult work. 

The capital expenditure used on server hardware and licensing could be put to better use through investment and interest earned. For example, if your capital expense is $9,000, your cost actually exceeds that amount due to the potential loss the money could have earned in interest over the five-year system lifecycle. In terms of taxes, hardware purchased as a capital expense must be depreciated over time while cloud solutions are considered deductible operational costs.  

Conclusion
The decision to move to the cloud remains incredibly complex. Taking the time to form a holistic cloud strategy—and fully understanding the costs associated with both on-premise and cloud solutions—will help you ease the transition.  

Our team has helped countless organizations make a seamless move to the cloud. If you are interested in understanding the right approach for your organization, contact us.