Businesses are spending more than ever on cloud services. While the cloud is getting attention for a range of reasons, ultimately, it comes down to the fact that cloud-based hosting provides better performance, more functionality, and lower costs. Here are the top 10 reasons that the cloud is obsoleting on-site servers:
The cloud offers two types of cost savings. First, it eliminates the need to purchase capital equipment, software, and infrastructure to host applications and data. Second, since the cloud is essentially self-maintained, it allows companies to maintain leaner staffs, less real estate, and run with fewer operating expenses.
Cloud hosting providers take care of all of the challenges in providing a high-performance system. They are responsible for not only maintaining but also upgrading servers to ensure that the underlying hardware platform of their cloud is robust enough to support modern applications and user demand.
Cloud systems are built for scalability, since the service is separated from the hardware. This means that as an application gains traffic, it can access the CPU and memory capacity that it needs to maintain its performance. This elasticity is available both on a gradual basis and on an as-needed basis to allow companies to meet demand spikes.
Since the cloud is an ongoing service rather than a one-time purchase, like a software license, support is built into most contracts. This means that a company that moves to the cloud gets access to expert-level technicians to keep both hardware and software performing-- usually without any additional cost.
Greater Economic Efficiency
Many of the cloud's cost benefits come about as a result of the economies of scale that cloud providers are able to enjoy. Instead of running one big data initiative or one CRM (customer relationship management) solution, cloud providers get to spread the costs across multiple instances of those applications and get to use one set of staff across them. This increases efficiency.
A Better Test Bed
Another benefit to the cloud is that, because it's pre-configured and paid on a per-use basis, it's easy to test. Companies that want to get their feet wet can set up a cloud account at relatively low cost just to see if the service meets their expectations. The cloud is also an excellent place to test new applications, since they can be quickly set up in their own virtual system, beta tested, and then deployed.
When a company moves its data off-site to the cloud, it can actually improve its security. First, most cloud systems have redundancy and backup built in, reducing the risk of data loss or downtime. Second, clouds have robust data security practices.
The cloud is hardware and operating system independent. When a company uses applications in the cloud, it sees a web interface or an API (application programming interface) but doesn't have to worry about whether it is using Linux, iOS, or Windows. Cloud applications separate data and processing from the underlying system, enabling everything to interoperate more smoothly.
By outsourcing server hardware, companies also outsource the responsibility for keeping it up and running. Cloud providers typically distribute loads across multiple systems and multiple network connections. This reduces the chance that any one outage would appreciably impact their customers' applications. Companies providing cloud services also have a large enough scale that they can have multiple redundant backups.
Having access to the cloud frequently means having access to better tracking. With everything in a central repository that is easy to access, companies can better manage their information. Some even use big data applications to find greater insight.