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Data Storage Solutions: On-premise vs Cloud

26 Sep 2017 Richard McBarnet
Data Storage Solutions

We are currently in a transition period where it is still not a given that cloud-storage is the best data storage option for companies. At the moment there are two reasons why it makes more sense to store data on-premise.

The first is data sensitivity – some companies are worried about cyber security and simply do not want to hold sensitive data in the Cloud. However, this may be false security as your on-premise systems will be vulnerable to theft and damage from environmental factors.The second reason is performance-related. If the amount of data you need to store is huge, say in the gigabytes, Cloud storage would require dedicated connectivity to enable you to get the high speeds you would need to access your data – and these connections could end up costing your company upwards of £5-10k a year.

In comparison, you could keep the data on-premise on a local file server, which will cost you significantly less. It is obvious which option many companies choose. Until everyone is connected via high speed networks, the problem of speed is difficult to overcome. However, there is already a way round this, via Remote Desktop or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
VDI is a data storage solution that does not connect you directly to the data, rather, it provides you with a dedicated virtual desktop in the Cloud that allows you to access your data without having to download it to your PC. Only screen and keyboard/mouse data is transmitted, meaning your data remains safe in the Cloud. It also means you do not need such high bandwidth to access your data and with the emerging technologies to support virtualisation, the user experience can be just as good.

In many ways, this kind of technology harps back to the mainframes we used in the ‘70s and ‘80s. All the processes were happening in the mainframe computer – users were connected to that mainframe so they could access the data, but the processing all happened centrally.The advent of the Personal Computer (PC) changed all that because the capacity of individual machines became big enough so each could have its own processing power.However, PCs and laptops are not used efficiently because they do not use all their capacity, whereas mainframe computers were busy all the time. What VDIs do is similar to how we used mainframes, but they enable us to access large amounts of data via a much wider range of devices including tablets, laptops or phones, enabling us to work any time, any place and anywhere.

In five years’ time
The trajectory we are currently on is that probably within the next 3-5 years, we will live in a hyperconnected world where all data storage solutions will be Cloud-based and there will be no need to store data locally. Technology has to go through a maturity cycle with regards to cost and access etc, but it is a reasonable assumption that access speeds will rise and costs will fall, making Cloud storage the norm and on-premise storage of data redundant.
Contact us if you have a query about Cloud or on-premise data storage, or any aspect of IT hosting or IT management.


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