The conflict between local data centers and remote cloud servers has been a long one with both sides having strong arguments on the positive and negative sides. And in today’s environment, when IT executives with a hefty load of sensitive user data, there is definite cause for concern. From its security to its computing and availability, a company needs to manage all these things — whether it is a software development company or a social media application. So, choosing between having a dedicated data center or buying a storage space from a vendor, is a really crucial decision many organizations struggle to make.
For those who are not technologically inclined, a data center is basically a dedicated local server situated on company-controlled premises. The owner has complete authority over it — from what hardware to use to what security measures to enforce, the owner of that data server is responsible for everything.
On the other hand, the cloud is a remote storage space which is offered by cloud vendors like AWS. What they offer is storage space for data without the hassle of having to set up infrastructure and that space is available to you anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection. But unlike a data center, the organization buying the space doesn’t have any control over the location vendors store data, the security measures they take, or the hardware that constitutes their server inventory.
So, as you can see, both of these technologies have their own pros and cons. Data centers are dedicated, that is they are only used by the business owner. They are also private and thus by extension, highly secure. Because the data center is on the company’s local network, only employees will be able to access it. Furthermore, the organization has complete authority over the security that is put in place. And while data centers boast of privacy, security and high speeds, deploying these networks is expensive and managing them year after year is both expensive and tedious. This is where cloud servers take the lead. While cloud is highly secure these days, a business cannot question the method a vendor uses to secure his servers, just like he can’t argue with him about the hardware used in setting up those cloud servers. But the good thing is, for decision makers that don’t want to invest all that money in setting up their own data centers and hiring a team of skilled technicians to watch over their networks all the time, cloud servers offer some tangible benefits.
Now after considering the pros and cons of both data storage approaches, one can’t help but wonder if there is a way to negate all the cons all together and culminate all the pros in a single approach. The answer is — yes, we can. Let’s be completely clear about one thing, we are living in a time when user data is the greatest asset for any organization. And as it is the case with most valuable things, there can be high risk at times. Data theft and data corruption are only two threats. Data loss is also a very plausible threat to data. So, making sure that this data is not only secure from the hackers but at the same time, impervious to any technical collapse, it is essential that companies set up their own local servers and at the same time, hire cloud services to make sure that their data is entirely secure. Moreover, this approach increases the availability of data and applications since it is available to both local systems and systems in the cloud.
So, the obvious choice for businesses these days is to go for both approaches.
But that is easier said than done. To make sure that both a cloud network and a data center network can work in perfect sync, you need to use common strategies. Management, security and governance, all need to be in perfect tune between both an on-premise data server and the remote cloud server. And to do that, you need to think from three different perspectives – security, integration and data.
The Security Perspective
Data security is one of the greatest conundrums of this modern age. No matter what we do, there will always be leaks, hacks, and backdoors. And when we talk about data centers and cloud servers working together, it becomes necessary to install the same security mechanisms on either. You need to stop thinking of them as two separate entities. A data center and a cloud server are two cogs in the machine of your network operation, and they need to turn in perfect sync. So, the security measure that you choose must be the same for both. While it is costly, you can also go for approaches like establishing a common directory between the data center and the cloud server and use more sophisticated systems like identity and access management which are more secure than traditional systems.
The Integration Perspective
The second thing that you will need to figure out is how you can get applications to run via the data center and the cloud server. One way to achieve this can be through the use of kubernetes and containers. At the same time, you will also need to figure out a way to sew together the processes on the cloud and the local data center.
The Data Perspective
The last and the most critical perspective you need to determine is the data perspective. The biggest problem here is synchronizing the data on both sides. That is because there isn’t just one source of data when databases are decoupled. It is important to have the same database models on both sides as well as middleware links to prevent separation between the data on the cloud side and data on the local, data center side.
These days, data is everything. And therefore, how it is handled, how it is stored, and how it is processed makes all the difference in the world. The times when the cloud and data centers could operate independently and have their separate followings are now gone. To prove to end users that they can handle their data appropriately and introduce greater efficiency into their applications, organizations across the world are using both cloud servers and local data centers. Now is the time to jump on this dual approach because the market will not wait.