Why Would My Business Still Use a Server?
Even small office servers cost a pretty penny– $4,000 to $5,000 for a typical box and licensing needs for a small office. Everyone is talking about “’moving to the cloud”, and we’re seeing traction in the small business community, following the national trend with reports showing 83% of companies will be “on the cloud” by 2020. So why is this happening? Is the cloud just a superior option, and is there any real reason to be using a server anymore? The truth is, it depends. There are pros and cons to each option, and the specific needs of your business may be better fulfilled by one as opposed to the other. Here are a couple pros and cons to each of the options.
Pros for in-house servers
Important data does not leave the building
Using an in-house server means that you are not depending upon some distant datacenter to house your critical data. For some, this may be a major benefit or even a necessity. You’re the one that gets to control how often your data gets backed up and where that data is stored. For clients that have very large data (like engineering firms, media firms, architects, etc) where they are dealing in many terabytes of data—cloud can be expensive as well. Cloud providers are like land-brokers and the larger the plot (data) the bigger the price tag. Oddly too, if your internet provider goes down, local users (in the office) can still access data and stay productive with an in-house server. As long as you’re in the building, you will have access to your data.
It depends on what cloud service you are using, but the cloud can get expensive very quickly if your business is growing or your data needs are growing. If you have terabytes of data, those monthly bills can be big. You’ll need to buy more and more space as your business grows and price will get higher and higher. So if you’re a startup or small business with potentially big data needs, this is something to consider.
Cons for in-house servers
Using an in-house server means you need have appropriate space for these servers—and that’s not a silly issue. Space means it being big enough and cool enough so it doesn’t overheat. You also need battery backups so if the power goes out, your server doesn’t just crash (battery backups can send commands to servers to smoothly shut down). For a small business, this isn’t a trivial thing. One architect firm we work with needs an AC unit just for their server room.
Susceptible to Disaster
Having your sever in-house means it’s in danger of disasters you may experience in your area. This includes things like power surges, power outages, and natural disasters like flooding and hurricanes. Any of these events could directly affect your server and cause a loss of data. This would not be as much of a concern on the cloud.
Pros for the cloud
No space taken up
Unlike an in-house server, the cloud does not require any physical space. You don’t have to worry as much about outages and power management, and keeping up with things like warranties and updates for that server. The cloud provider will handle all that for you.
You and your employees won’t have to be in office to view business data. The cloud makes this accessible anywhere with an internet connection. This is the most appealing benefit of using the cloud in my opinion, and makes it extremely useful for any business where people are constantly traveling but still need to access to data.
Good datacenters spend a lot of energy on cybersecurity as their reputation depends on it. They do a lot of work to thwart hackers, malware, and other cybersecurity threats. The cloud can also have automated data backups and most can run as often as you want, so depending on your package you don’t have the worry if your data is loss. The thing to focus on is how fast the data can be restored. More expensive subscriptions have rapid-recovery options, while others might take up to 8-24 hours. It all depends on the option(s) you select.
Cons for the cloud
Again, it depends on the package you purchase, but using the cloud can generally be more expensive compared to the lifetime of an in-house server… especially for a growing business when you need to buy more storage space. Packages can be inflexible, so you may find yourself paying too much for your cloud servers a couple years down the road after you’ve been using it for a while and have been upgrading your package to keep up with your growth.
Might Need Big Bandwidth Internet
Depending on your business, and the size of the files you might be working with, cloud-based servers may require big-bandwidth internet connections like fiber. It’s not just how fast you can download something, you also need to have decent upload abilities to move things back and forth or work with the data, especially if you are a firm that uses large files like architecture firms, media firms, graphic design, etc. These can often be hundreds of dollars a month more expensive than your typical business internet connection.
Total Cost of Ownership vs Convenience
Severs are by no means irrelevant, despite the trend towards the cloud. In reality, in-house and cloud servers have pros and cons and the person that knows which of those options is best for your business is you. Companies like Groff NetWorks can help you make this decision, and are experts in calculating the total cost of ownership of a server or a server upgrade, and how to weigh that against the convenience of cloud-based servers. So while the one who makes the final decision needs to be you, asking someone like Groff NetWorks for a little guidance can never hurt. For any questions or assistance you can contact Groff NetWorks by calling 518-320-8906 or visiting our website.