The Cloud Vs. Traditional Data Centers, What’s the Difference?

There are so many options nowadays: food options, transportation options, education/work options, and much more! On a daily basis, we are bombarded with ads and media pulling us every which way. It makes the decision-making process a million times more difficult, leaving us to wonder if we are making the best decision. Technology is no exception.

Whether you are running a business or using it for personal purposes, you may be wondering where you should store your data. Well, you have a few options to choose from: the cloud, a data center, or a hybrid solution. I know, I know! All of these options are enough to drive someone crazy. But, don’t worry. Once you understand the differences, you will have a better understanding of what will work the best for your business and needs. 

Let’s first compare the cloud and a data center. The main difference between a cloud and a data center is that a data center refers to on-premise hardware and infrastructure while the cloud refers to off-premise computing. The cloud stores your data in the public cloud while a data center stores your data on hardware. A hybrid solution is a hybrid of the cloud and a data center. It’s a situation where your data is stored on both platforms, for different reasons. You may still be confused about these options, so let’s check out their benefits. 

Benefits of a data center 

Owning an in-house data center or having hardware in a provider’s data center is often a good solution, but it depends on your needs. Maintaining an in-house data center can get pretty expensive, as well as time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing. Data centers are true powerhouses of the modern technical world! They are incredibly secure, efficient, and reliable. They can also be a very cost-effective option. If you have hardware in a local provider’s data center, you don’t have to worry about a thing! Most, if not all, data centers have staff in the buildings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year if you were to call or walk-in with a question. You also have access to your hardware and the opportunity to build relationships with that local company. To operate correctly, businesses require high levels of performance, security, capacity, storage, and much more. It’s a great route to go if you like the idea of having physical hardware!

Benefits of the cloud 

Many businesses have turned to the cloud (not all, but many)! According to a recent study from International Data Group, nearly 69% of businesses are using cloud technology and 18% say they plan to implement cloud computing solutions at some point. It is very much a growing trend among businesses to ditch the hardware and jump on the cloud. Large companies with limited budgets and startup businesses with a lack of resources may find that the cloud is a good option because it provides immediate capacity without the need for an upfront investment. Other organizations find that the cloud is awesome for disaster recovery purposes. Another benefit of the cloud is its ability to scale or add and reduce capacity as needed. Most cloud computing services run on a pay-as-you-go system, saving you money in time and costs. The cloud also allows for businesses to have mobility and access to corporate data on-the-go and reliable security! There are many benefits of the cloud that will benefit your business in many ways. 

If you are unsure about what you need, compare and contrast the two based on the needs of your organization. Overall, your flexibility, workload, and security needs will dictate whether a data center or the cloud is the best fit for your organization.

5 Awesome Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing has been providing numerous benefits for nearly two decades. Many businesses are using this technology to better serve their customers, efficiently run their organizations, and increase overall profit margins. Despite the research and testimonials of success that show cost benefits, unique advantages, and proven business efficiencies, many businesses are still not operating with this technology. 

Cloud computing is a term that has gained much popularity over the years. While companies are increasing their data usage as technology continues to advance, it is becoming more and more difficult for those individuals to keep their systems up and running on in-house computer servers. What most businesses don’t realize is that the solution to this issue has been around for a long time, but it has only recently gained popularity with businesses.  

Cloud computing allows its users to access files and features without having to keep a majority of that data on their computer. Many businesses may even be using cloud-based applications without even knowing it. Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, and Turbotax are all examples of cloud-based applications. While these services are great for personal use, they are an incredible opportunity for businesses to access massive amounts of data over a secure network connection. Although there numerous benefits to cloud computing, there are still many businesses that are unaware of its various rewards. Listed below are 10 advantages of cloud computing. 

1. Cost-effective and Efficient

By using cloud infrastructure, you don’t have to spend tons of money on purchasing and maintaining equipment. Cloud computing eliminates the need for hardware, facilities, utilities, and a large data center to grow your business. Because you won’t have extra hardware and physical equipment to maintain, you will be saving tons on expenses. With the cloud, you won’t even need to worry about having a large IT team to fix any issues. Your cloud provider will already have their own staff that you can use and enjoy! You also would not have to worry about costs related to downtime. Downtime is very rare in cloud systems, so just by using the cloud, you will be avoiding money spent on fixing issues related to downtime. 

2. Data Security

Business data, no matter the industry or size, is extremely valuable. It is very important that companies keep their files, programs, and other data safe from the outside world. Things like data breaches and security scares can devastate a company’s brand, customer loyalty, and revenue. Unfortunately, if you can remotely access your data, then what is stopping a cybercriminal from accessing it? Businesses need to rely on something much safer: the cloud! The cloud offers various security features that assure safety, trust, and reliability when you store your data. Cloud storage providers have basic protections on the data they process, like authentication, encryption, and access control. From there, most organizations increase those measures with their own boost of cloud protection! 

3. Mobility 

Resources in the cloud can quickly and easily be stored, retrieved, recovered, and processed with only a few clicks! With the cloud, users can access their files and data on the go, on any Internet-connected device, anywhere in the world. Now that’s mobility! Cloud computing allows mobile access to important data via smart devices. Not only is it time-efficient, but it is a great way to access your data on the go! All updates and upgrades are completed automatically and offsite by service providers. This saves tons of time and effort in maintaining the systems and reducing workloads. The cloud is such a great way to access your information quickly and easily.

4. Control 

Every company would benefit from having control over their own sensitive data. This is a vital piece to every organization! Access to the cloud gives businesses complete control and visibility over their data. Businesses can now decide the level of access that they have to the data. They can also decide who in their staff has access to that data. This opportunity allows the company complete control over their data and how they access that data. This control will make collaboration within staff a much easier task. Team members are able to view and share information, easily and securely across a cloud-based platform. There are really no limits to what you are able to do once you have that control. 

5. Disaster-Recovery

Losing data is a nightmare for every company. Nobody in their right mind wants that to happen! Data loss is actually a major concern for most companies, especially if their data is stored on in-house equipment. With the cloud, you won’t need to worry about it. While there may be no way to anticipate or even prevent disasters that could potentially harm your organization, you can do something to speed up your recovery. Cloud-based services are known for quick data recovery in all different kinds of situations, ranging from natural disasters to power outages to malware. With in-house equipment and hardware, you are taking your chances of losing data if your equipment is damaged. But, if you upload your data to the cloud, it remains accessible from any device with an Internet connection. Even if something happens to your personal computer, files and data on the cloud will remain safe. 

This list covers only a few of the many benefits of cloud computing. Even with this small list of benefits, it may be easy to see why so many businesses have switched from operating on their own in-house hardware to the cloud! It may also cause you to wonder why all businesses haven’t hopped aboard! Cloud infrastructures maintain environmental proactivity, improve energy efficiency, reduce computer-related emissions, power virtual services, and it also cuts down on paper waste! Using the cloud is a great way to improve your business, keep your data secure, save money and contribute to a clean environment. 

Cloud Scalability Vs. Cloud Elasticity

When deciding on cloud infrastructure, there are many aspects that IT managers should consider, such as cost, security, performance, availability, and reliability. While the magnitude of these aspects is extremely important when it comes to cloud infrastructure, there are a few other areas that have become increasingly important: cloud elasticity and cloud scalability. Oftentimes, people interchange these words as if they mean the same thing, but they possess very distinct differences. 

Elasticity was meant to match the sources allocated with the actual amount of resources needed at any given point in time. Scalability controls the changing needs of an application within the confines of the infrastructure by adding and removing resources to meet application demands if needed. In many cases, this is handled by scaling up or scaling out. Elasticity works well in environments with ever-changing demands, such as e-commerce, retail, SaaS, mobile, and Dev Ops. Businesses with a predictable workload may be better off using scalability. 

What is Elasticity? 

Elasticity is the ability to grow or shrink infrastructure resources dynamically as needed. This is to adapt to automatic workload changes and maximizing the use of these resources. This can result in tons of savings in infrastructure costs. Cloud elasticity is most associated with scale-out solutions (horizontal scaling). This allows for resources to be added or removed when necessary. Although this may sound great, this type of cloud asset isn’t great for every business. Businesses that do not experience sudden changes in demand may not benefit from elastic services. Basically, elastic services mean that all resources, such as hardware, Qos, software, and other resources in the infrastructure are elastic. 

Elasticity is generally associated with public cloud resources. It’s more commonly featured in pay-per-use services. This means that IT managers are not paying for more resources than they are using at a given time. 

A great example of a business that would need cloud elasticity would be retail with fluctuating seasonal activity. Think about Black Friday, Christmas, and other holidays that shoppers spend in their favorite stores. During those specific times of the year, there are sudden spikes in demand in retail stores all across the world. Instead of these retail stores spending money on permanent infrastructure capacity to hold a couple months of high load out of the year, they would benefit more by using an elasticity solution. Those stores would need that elastic infrastructure to be able to shrink and expand during those points of high demand. Investing in elasticity also allows the IT managers limitless headroom if needed. While any cloud can be made elastic, the practice is most common in a public cloud space. 

What is Scalability?

Scalability refers to the ability to increase workload size within an existing infrastructure, such as hardware or software, without impacting performance. In cloud terms, scalability can refer to the creation of additional machines. The resources allocated to support this are typically pre-determined capacity with a limited amount of headroom built in to handle maximum demand. Scalability also has the ability with additional infrastructure resources, and sometimes without a limit. 

Scalability can either be vertical (scale-up within a system) or horizontal (scale-out multiple systems). Because of this, applications have room to scale up or scale-out to prevent anything from hindering performance. Of course, there are cases where the IT manager knows that they will no longer need resources, and scale down the infrastructure statically to maintain a smaller environment. For example, a small business has a small database application supported on a server. As the business grows, so will the database and the resource demands. If a business or IT manager is able to predict the business’s growth rate, they can purchase provisioned infrastructure (network, compute, and storage) so that the database application has room to grow to its maximum capacity. Scalability is truly a steady pay-as-you-grow solution. It’s also generally delivered more readily in private cloud. 

Cloud Elasticity Vs. Cloud Scalability 

Most cloud providers solve the problem of having to choose between the two, as any cloud is capable of having elasticity and scalability. They are highly desired, after all! There are distinct differences between elasticity and scalability. When deciding which cloud service to use, it ultimately depends on your business needs. A good rule of thumb is to remember that cloud elasticity is generally delivered more readily in public cloud environments, while scalability is delivered more in private cloud environments. Hostirian allows you to effectively manage and optimize both scalability and elasticity. Not only do we optimize our infrastructures for performance and efficiency, but we also operate with our data centers on-premises so that any technical problem can be tackled immediately. If you have a cloud question or you’re interested in getting started with a private cloud environment, let us know! We are here to help!

Top 5 Technology Trends in 2020

man using technology, a virtual reality headset

If we have gained anything from 2020, it is the knowledge that things can change at the drop of a hat. At this point, I’m sure that we are all ready for 2021 and what it has in store. Looking back at the year, we can see how things not only changed socially, but they changed technologically. We have depended on technology during this past year more than ever. Through socially-distanced tasks and increased hygiene practices, technology has been there through it all to make it possible.

Think about what would have happened if we did not have modern technology to carry us through this time. You may not have even given it a second thought. Technology has not only aided in keeping millions of people safe during this global pandemic, but it has also been constantly developing to help us in other ways of life as well. The year has certainly been a year of change and development. Technology has been at the forefront of that change. Although technology will always be evolving and changing, this year specifically should be recognized for its advances in technology. Here are some of the latest technologies of this year that are sure to influence people for years to come. 

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an expansive branch of computer science that deals with building machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. In its essence, it equips computer systems with the ability to make decisions like humans. AI is actually one of the top trending technologies of the modern day. It imitates human intelligence by performing tasks such as speech and pattern recognition, weather forecast, and much more. 

AI is becoming a bigger piece to our lives as technology evolves. Machines and technology are evolving into human-like things that can recognize when they do something wrong and also make improvements.

You may recognize AI in varying applications such as Uber, Siri, Google, Bing, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and many more. Scientists expect Artificial Intelligence to create more than 70 million jobs. Although it’s creating so many more opportunities, it’s also taking away nearly 25 million jobs. AI is expected to create jobs such as maintenance, programming, data science, testing, support, and much more. This modern piece of technology will only become better and smarter as the years go on. 

2. Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality is a computer generated simulation that allows users to experience a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment. It has become a very popular way for people to experience video games. In comparison to traditional video games, a virtual reality allows users to be right in the environment. These virtual environments stimulate tons of different senses, such as touch, smell and vision. People can experience VR most often on headsets. Companies like Facebook and Sony have taken full advantage of the potential of the technology and created their own version of virtual reality, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive. 

Virtual reality is not only used for video games or entertainment purposes, but it has also been adopted by the military for training. The three branches that use this are the Army, Navy and Air Force. Augmented reality and virtual reality are also used by doctors, museums, amusement parks and many more. The virtual reality industry is expected to bring in nearly $40 billion by 2021. 

3. Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot”, to emulate the actions of a human interacting with digital systems to execute a business process. Essentially, it is a technology used for automating daily tasks. This type of technology is similar to Artificial Intelligence. The RPA technology is used for automating business tasks, such as replying to emails, handling business data, and processing transactions. RPA is capable of automating more than 40% of daily tasks. It might scare some people to know that RPA is technologically advancing far enough to take over a lot of jobs. Fortunately, it will create a lot of jobs too. Many businesses rely on RPA because of its many benefits. There are many companies that provide RPA tools such as Blue Prism, Pega Systems, and Work Fusion. 

4. Data Science 

Data Science is technology that helps make sense of difficult data. It is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many types of data. Companies produce an immense amount of data every single day, including business, sales, customer profile information, financial information, and server data. Data scientists then take that data created and convert the unstructured data into structured data. Data scientists analyze this data in hopes of finding patterns. Those patterns are incredibly helpful in understanding the background of a company, such as looking at customer retention, business performance, finances and how those areas can be improved. How far technology has evolved, am I right? 

5. Edge Computing 

Believe it or not, edge computing is one of today’s most favored technologies. Edge computing is truly transforming the way data is being handled, processed, and delivered around the world. It actually brings computation and data storage closer to devices where it’s being gathered, instead of relying on a central location that could potentially be thousands of miles away. Edge computing essentially allows data from Internet of Things (IOT) devices to be analyzed at the edge of the network before being sent to the data center or cloud. Edge computing has been around for awhile. It has just been advancing in little ways over time. The technology was created to bring computing power as close as possible to its data source. It is estimated that by 2022 the edge computing market will be worth $7 billion. Edge computing is popular in retail, healthcare, manufacturing and many other jobs. 

This year has brought many changes. Technology has been right there with those changes, advancing and evolving along with modern times. Technology is something that will always be advancing. If we’re not careful, some of these advances may take over our jobs! Just kidding… At the moment, we should enjoy all that today’s technology has to offer and hopefully gain a better understanding of how it works.