Cloud vs. Data Centers – In Laymen’s Terms

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Even after all these years of existence, wrapping your head around what the cloud “is” can be mind-boggling.  The cloud is not, in fact, an imaginary infrastructure that stores your device’s data in the atmosphere.  In actuality, it’s as physical and real as the device in front of your eyes right now.

So, if the cloud is a physical system that stores your data, how is it different than a conventional data center?  Moreover, is your business better off utilizing a cloud or a data center? In the following, we’ll answer these questions in laymen’s terms and help you find an answer the next time someone asks, “What is the cloud, and how is it different than a data center?”

The Basics

The basic difference between the cloud and a data center is pretty simple. The cloud relies on the internet to store your data off-premise, while a data center refers to on-premise hardware that stores data within your organization’s local network.  Now, let’s dive in a bit deeper:

Data Centers

The term data center can be interpreted in a couple different ways.  Some organizations have an in-house data center that is maintained by an in-house IT department.  This is often referred to as the IT closet, a place that your IT guy protects like a hawk. Other organizations may have an offsite storage center consisting of servers and other machinery to store data and keep it accessible both physically and virtually.

Only a data center can store servers and other equipment, making it advantageous for companies that want full control over their IT infrastructure.  However, they have limited scalability for growth.  Once your workload and data amount outgrow the system’s storage capacity, you’ll have to purchase and install new equipment.

The Cloud

With the cloud, you are storing your data on someone else’s hardware and infrastructure.  Cloud services are outsourced to third-party vendors, like Tier 1 Techs, who are responsible for all updates and ongoing maintenance.  Cloud service providers often own multiple data centers that are spread out across vast geographic areas to protect data availability in the case of power outages or data center failures.  Essentially, cloud services can be thought of as a series of renting spaces for you to store your company data.

Since the cloud covers expansive territory, scalability is a major advantage of cloud-based solutions.  When you need additional space, it’s readily available.  Although you’ll have to pay an IT provider for growth, you won’t have to pay for the costly parts and labor that goes into expanding a data center.

Seeking Advice?

If you’re deciding between the cloud or a data center, you’ve come to the right place.  At Tier 1 Techs, our technology consulting services provide you with an IT consultant known as a Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) who asks business and technology questions to assist in formulating IT recommendations.

If you’re interested in a data center, our Server Hosting Solutions are your answer.  If the cloud is your preference, our Fully Managed Cloud Services will help you integrate into the cloud with ease.

Get started today by contacting us online, calling us at (305) 501-4755, or swinging by our Miami office from 8am-5pm M-F!