You’re reading this for one of these two reasons: Either your company is at the crossroads between using on-premises servers and going all-cloud with its server needs, or you just want to know what the IaaS vs on-prem hype is all about. This article will hopefully help you see exactly how delaying your adoption of cloud computing has been holding back your business’ growth.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the fastest growing cloud computing model. With IaaS, computer resources such as servers, networking, and storage are offered as a service, packaged and delivered via the internet. This means you do not need physical servers or specialized hardware to run your web applications or store files.

There’s plenty of data supporting this trend in computing. According to surveys carried out on how businesses utilize technology in their operations, 93% of organizations now use some kind of cloud services. And according to a 2018 cloud computing survey by IDG, 90% of companies will have some part of their application or infrastructure in the cloud by 2019, with the rest expected to follow by 2021—which may very well mark the beginning of a 100% cloud computing future.

Security, latency, reliability and long term cost-effectiveness are important factors to consider when making infrastructural decisions. On-prem vs IaaS: Which is best for your business?

Let’s take a look at on-prem vs. IaaS models and discuss why you should start getting your IT department to prep for a more efficient work experience in the cloud.

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Benefits of On-premises Servers

Are we saying that on-prem servers have no benefits at all? Certainly not—businesses have been using them for decades, after all, and having your infrastructure right on your premises has a number of benefits.

For one, an on-prem setup gives you direct control and access to your data and infrastructure. You also benefit from offline access to your data, eliminating the somewhat vulnerable dependence on always having a connection. And of course, there’s the certainty that you’re using the most sophisticated hardware and software because you’re in charge of administering it.

These benefits, however, pale in comparison to the host of downsides that come with running on-premises servers.

Disadvantages of On-premises Servers

Not scalable: When more resources are needed to accommodate your growth or more users, you’ll find that scaling is always going to be a hassle with an on-premises setup. Installing and updating new hardware and software is a slow and time-consuming ordeal—a delay that can cripple your business operations and consume valuable time that could be spent on more productive tasks.

Moderately inflexible: Your on-premise resources are always fixed; they can’t shrink or stretch on demand. This leads to resource underuse and underutilization of funds.

Complicated to manage: The less complexity that your business has to deal with, the fewer problems you’ll run into. With a simple setup, you’ll enjoy reduced costs and more free time that can be devoted to core business operations. Purchasing, installing, and maintaining on-premise servers requires special IT skills and a dedicated team, all of which are far from simple.

Exposure to risks and damage: Server rooms are vulnerable to cyber attacks and downtime or data loss due to physical damage, such as in the event of a natural disaster like a fire or flood. Anyone with physical access to your servers can also change the entire course of your business by stealing data.

Very expensive: On-prem servers incur direct, indirect, and hidden costs. They have a steep upfront installation cost as well as a high recurring cost to keep them running. You need a dedicated IT team (which is more staff and more salaries to pay), backup and emergency resources, and budgeting for power and cooling costs. In the long run, this is expensive to maintain, even for large businesses.

An IaaS or cloud computing alternative provides your business all the benefits of on-prem servers without the headaches and costs. So instead of managing a server room, you’ll control secure, remote servers through a dashboard or API.

IaaS Challenges and Drawbacks

A major setback of the IaaS model is its internet dependency. Remember: Access to your servers is granted through an internet connection. This can lead to latency and disruption of business operations during periods of low connectivity.

However, that may very well change in the near future. A major catalyst for the growth of cloud computing is the rise in more reliable and faster internet connections. With the advent of 5G networks, theorized to operate at 1Gbps, the challenge of poor connectivity or latency could be eliminated entirely.

Other disadvantages include lack of physical control over your infrastructure and very little (if any) say in the quality of the hardware that’s used by your cloud provider.

Even Still, IaaS and Cloud Computing are the Best Choice

Here are five notable benefits to using an IaaS model over a traditional on-premises setup:

  1. It lets you focus on your core business applications: With cloud infrastructure, all installation, maintenance, and updates are done by the vendor. This frees up the physical space and staffing required by on-prem servers. In turn, that means you’ll have more time and resources to work on meeting critical business needs. With IaaS, the setup is done from your web browser in a matter of minutes.
  2. It’s highly scalable: With IaaS all you need to expand is payment for more server capacity, and you’re all set in just a matter of minutes—no extra hardware costs, no software updates, and no increase in power consumption. That’s scaling made simple. Pricing, packaging, and optimization services like Nerdio can help ensure effective IaaS spending and help you cut costs.
  3. It’s cheaper than on-prem servers: Your IaaS vendor bears the entire burden of installation, updates, security, maintenance, and repairs. You only pay for the resources you use and no other charges. This provides savings of up to 74% over the long term. You only pay for the resources you use, freeing up funds that would otherwise be wasted on unused resources.
  4. Far simpler than on-premises setups: With IaaS, the entire process of managing your servers is reduced to a few clicks on a dashboard. Getting started with IaaS takes only minutes, compared to the days and weeks of setup demanded by on-prem installations. With IaaS, only a signup form stands between you and your server.
  5. Very flexible: With the cloud, you pay for exactly what you use. This provides a lot of flexibility for different resource needs and projects. Your server capacity can shrink or stretch to meet your needs, minimizing cost and increasing productivity.

Choosing the Right IaaS Vendor for Your Business

As the internet becomes better and faster, the preference for cloud services over on-prem will continue to increase. This means that more IaaS vendors will enter this space, increasing competition in the market. Consequently, prices will go down, and businesses will have more options to choose from.

Going all-cloud can be a tough decision to make, especially when your on-prem solution is getting the job done. However, to stay relevant and rise above your competitors, you have to constantly keep up with trends and act proactively. The cloud is the future of computing, and IaaS is helping businesses spend less, stay updated, and get more work done.

For startups in particular, IaaS is the ideal path for an easy setup experience, scalability, flexibility, and low operational costs.

Moving from an on-prem infrastructure to IaaS can be a difficult transition for your business. A reputable and trustworthy cloud partner like SherWeb can help you navigate challenges and mitigate risks to ensure a seamless transition to the cloud.

Looking to get started with cloud computing? Get in touch for an assessment of your business’s current situation and needs.

Written by Mathieu Pipe-Rondeau Marketing Communications Specialist @ SherWeb

Mathieu is responsible for SherWeb’s blog content and organic social media. Highly conscious of branding and related communications, he’s constantly on the lookout for new and better ways to showcase SherWeb to the world. Mathieu has ten years of communications and marketing experience, including expertise in knowledge management, process creation and improvement, technical writing and content strategy. When he’s not producing engaging content, Mathieu enjoys cooking, singing and skateboarding with his son.