The fact that virtual data centers in the cloud can be provisioned or scaled down with just a few mouse clicks is part of the reason for moving to the cloud. In the modern data center, software-defined networking (SDN) manages traffic flows via software. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from public and private clouds spins up whole systems on-demand. When new applications are needed, Platform as a Service (PaaS) and container technologies are available in an instant.
While many organizations have already made the jump to the cloud, others are less certain. The cloud provides a number of advantages, but many companies are concerned about the cost and the lack of visibility, accountability, and transparency of public cloud infrastructure.
Historically, all organizations used on-premises data centers. An on-prem data center simply means that the organization maintains all of the IT infrastructure needed by the business on-site.
An on-prem data center includes everything from the servers that support web and email to the networking hardware connecting them to support infrastructure equipment like uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). Depending on the organization, this can range from a server closet to a massive, dedicated private data center like those operated by large tech corporations.
Over time, organizations have increasingly moved away from the on-premises data center. Instead, they have adopted cloud data centers.
A cloud data center moves a traditional on-prem data center off-site. Instead of personally managing their own infrastructure, an organization leases infrastructure managed by a third-party partner and accesses data center resources over the Internet. Under this model, the cloud service provider is responsible for maintenance, updates, and meeting service level agreements (SLAs) for the parts of the infrastructure stack under their direct control.
The migration from an on-premises data center to a cloud data center doesn’t mean moving everything to the cloud. Many companies have hybrid cloud data centers which have a mix of on-premises data center components and virtual data centers components. In the figure below we see how as-a-service models are shifting ownership of data center and infrastructure components from a fully owned and operated on-premises facility towards a commodity service model.
Nearly all organizations now have at least some of their infrastructure hosted in the cloud. The reason for this is that cloud data centers offer a number of advantages over maintaining an on-prem data center. Some of the pros and cons of cloud-based vs. on-premises data centers include:
On-premises and cloud-based data centers both have their advantages; however, data center security is a concern regardless of the deployment model that an organization chooses. This is why organizations should engage a trusted partner to help ensure security in on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid environments.