Cloud vs. Onsite Servers

Blog / Cloud vs. Onsite Servers

What are the pros and cons of cloud servers as opposed to onsite ones?

Cloud servers and services have long been touted as the ultimate server solution for both individuals and businesses. For one, their upfront costs are substantially lower than buying a server, and for another they come with their own infrastructure (a secured space, power backup, server racks, etc.). That doesn’t mean they don’t come with a downside, and although owning your own servers comes with a steep initial price tag, they’re similarly not without their own upside. So today we’re going to go through some of the pros and cons of both onsite and cloud servers.

Cloud Servers

Some Pros of Cloud Servers

  • Small initial investment
  • Predictable ongoing costs
  • Global access to resources

Some Cons of Cloud Servers

  • Most of the security is out of your control
  • Availability is based on someone else’s network

By far the biggest advantage of cloud servers is the cost. They’re much cheaper, at least initially; depending on what you’re doing and for how long, those cost savings could disappear over time as subscription costs mount month after month. However, there’s another major advantage, and that’s accessibility. The nature of a cloud resource means that making it available for remote usage is trivial.

Onsite Servers

Some Pros of Onsite servers

  • You own the hardware
  • No monthly contract costs
  • Security is fully under your control

Some Cons of On-site servers

  • Setup can be costly
  • Servers have a limited life span
  • Security is fully under your control

The biggest advantage for purchasing equipment boils down to ownership and control. Cloud service providers have the ability to make whatever changes they want, and at any time, which could change or even disrupt the access you pay for without notice. You also have complete control of the servers’ security, but you have to set it all up properly and will likely need in-house expertise for maintenance and support.

The biggest con is the price tag. Servers aren’t just costly, but properly setting up their security properly can also be expensive. And remember, like most hardware, servers’ estimated lifespans top out at five or six years, after which they need to be replaced. Of course, cloud services need to regularly replace outdated equipment as well, but those costs and are included in the subscription fee so it’s your provider’s problem instead of yours.

At the end of the day the decision to put resources in the cloud or on internal servers is a serious one that deserves real consideration, and there’s plenty more to think about than just costs, particularly when it comes to security and how much control over your servers you want. Now don’t get me wrong, cloud services are fine when used appropriately, but using them improperly can lead to problems, particularly if  important security issues are ignored.

The Shakespeare quote comes from Twelfth Night:“I say there is no darkness but ignorance.”

If you’d like help deciding whether onsite or cloud servers are right for your organization, contact a TRINUS IT professional and get yourself some stress-free IT.


Be kind, courtesy your friendly neighbourhood cyber-man.

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