Choosing between On-premises and Cloud Storage: Four Factors to Consider for Data Location

The majority of enterprise IT projects involve choosing where to store data. Currently, more than half of all business data is stored in the public cloud, particularly by Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. However, there is a growing trend towards hybrid cloud storage, where some data is stored on-premise and some in the cloud. According to research by Aptum, 77% of firms use the public cloud, and 86% expect to use hybrid or multicloud services.

Decisions about where to store data are not always straightforward and involve factors such as workload assessment, performance, regulation and security, and costs. In terms of performance, minimizing latency between applications and storage is crucial, and storing data on-premise is often the best option for critical applications. However, different architectures may be needed depending on whether the data is being consumed by an application or a human analyst.

The frequency of data access is also a factor to consider. For data that is accessed infrequently, cloud-based archiving and backup services are suitable, as any performance issues would not affect users. However, organizations should have a good understanding of their data assets and usage patterns to avoid storing data on the wrong tier and incurring unnecessary costs and performance issues.

Cost considerations play a role in deciding where to store data as well. While cloud computing is often seen as cost-saving, the shift from capital investment to operational expenditure can result in higher costs over time. However, there are benefits to pay for flexibility and innovation offered by cloud providers, or if organizations have moved to cloud-based applications. Optimized on-premise storage can still be a more economical option depending on the organization’s infrastructure.

Security and compliance requirements are important factors to consider as well. Most security and compliance needs can be met in the cloud, and regulatory bodies are increasingly comfortable with using public cloud services. However, in some industries with strict compliance requirements, limitations may apply to the use of certain cloud services. It is essential for organizations to have a clear understanding of their data and match security and compliance requirements accordingly. Additionally, having a comprehensive toolset for data security and compliance in the cloud may be necessary.

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