On-premises VS Cloud Infrastructure: What to Choose?

Sooner or later, in every business, the question arises of how best to build your IT infrastructure. Is it worth going to the cloud or is it better to rely on traditional on-premises infrastructure? To solve this issue, it is important to consider the many factors that determine the business processes in your company now.

Local Infrastructure

Cloud VS on-premises infrastructure

In short and simple terms, on-premises infrastructure is the equipment located in the client's placement and depends on its settings, network connection, power sources, and storage conditions. The term "cloud infrastructure" often means not the cloud as a technology, but something remote – software or a provider's server. In other words, cloud infrastructure is a structure of multiple servers with built-in software that provides computing resources and data storage over the Internet.

It so happened evolutionarily that cloud and local infrastructures have always been opposed. Yes, these computing environments are fundamentally different in several ways: cost structure, scalability, access and security, and legal compliance issues. Many other factors make this difference, but as a rule, it is the above points that become key in the decision-making process of whether to use the cloud. Clouds have become widespread thanks to flexibility never seen before. Providers began to offer incredible configuration options for any budget and business size. On the other hand, on-premises software has always been considered extremely reliable, with unprecedented security and maximum control.

But are these statements still relevant today? Is it worth it to oppose these concepts as two warring worlds? There is an opinion, Gartner previously wrote about this, that there is a trend toward symbiosis. This is a reasonable combination of local legacy systems with new cloud applications to optimize infrastructure costs, update processes and solve necessary business problems.

What does local infrastructure mean? Local installation requires its server hardware, software licenses, integration options, and IT staff to support and resolve potential issues that may arise.

Local infrastructure

For any business, data security will always be a priority, regardless of where corporate software is hosted, in the cloud or on-premises. But in some industries, this issue is strictly regulated by law, and therefore sometimes there is nothing left for enterprises but to host their applications locally. Sometimes just the realization that all the trade secrets of a business are on their servers on their premises allows the top management of the company to sleep peacefully.

What does local infrastructure mean? Local installation requires its server hardware, software licenses, integration options, and IT staff to support and resolve potential issues that may arise. In simple words, an enterprise buys a license or a copy of the software that fully supports business processes and places it on its side. It is believed that since the entire instance of the software is located on the premises of the organization, security is higher than when infrastructure is hosted in the cloud.

The biggest disadvantage of on-premises environments is often cited as the organization, management, and maintenance costs, which can be significantly higher than in a cloud computing environment. These amounts are typically exponentially higher than for cloud infrastructure, and this does not include the costs of maintenance, which the company is responsible for when something breaks or does not work. It should also be remembered that the equipment has the unpleasant property of becoming obsolete over time, and at the provider, it is updated imperceptibly and completely painlessly for the user.

The cloud infrastructure differs from the local in one fundamental point. The company hosts its IT infrastructure and software not in its local environment, in simple words - not at its premises on servers, but the supplier hosts all this in its cloud environment.

Infrastructure in the cloud

Cloud refers to a computing platform based on multiple physical servers that use virtualization technology to create virtual machines with flexible configurations. The cloud infrastructure differs from the local in one fundamental point. The company hosts its IT infrastructure and software not in its local environment, in simple words - not at its premises on servers, but the supplier hosts all this in its cloud environment. For example, a company can order the amount of capacity they need, scale up or down based on overall usage, user requirements, and company growth, and pay as needed.

The cloud server uses virtual technology to host company applications outside the office. There are no capital outlays, data can be backed up regularly, and companies only have to pay for the resources they use. For those organizations that are planning for active global expansion, the cloud has even more appeal as it allows infrastructure to scale with minimal effort.

Cloud Infrastructure

What's better? How to choose

So, there are several fundamental differences between on-premises and cloud environments. Which path is right for your business depends entirely on your needs and what you are looking for in a solution.

It is worth noting that now the confrontation between cloud and local solutions if it existed, is becoming less antagonistic. The sharp edges of the distinction between cloud and on-premises environments are blurred when viewed from the perspective of application developers. So, we propose to list the most common factors that have the greatest influence on decision-making.


Enterprises that deploy software locally on their premises are responsible for ongoing server hardware, power, and space costs.

Businesses that use the cloud computing model only need to pay for the resources they use, without any maintenance and upkeep costs, and the price is adjusted based on how much power is consumed.

But if you analyze the pricing model and costs as a choice factor, now you can find various options. To spread over time, the costs of local infrastructure, you can use a loan or the generosity of investors.

This way, you can avoid capital initial costs for IT infrastructure, but you still have to pay the amount and there are always financial risks on the side of the business.


The local environment is so named because it is deployed within the company and in the enterprise's IT infrastructure. The company is responsible for supporting the solution and all related processes. In a cloud computing environment, whether private, public, or hybrid cloud, resources are hosted on the premises of the service provider.

However, thanks to the popularity of container platforms like Kubernetes - software for automating deployment, scaling, and coordination - they are used to organize a template, in a positive sense, deployment. The implementation process will be for the end user without noticeable differences, regardless of whether your infrastructure is built locally or in the cloud. Therefore, the management of many workflows today will look same. No matter how and where the computing environment was implemented, firms can access these resources at any time.


Obviously, at this point, the local infrastructure is losing ground. It is not easy to scale up and down, these changes will always be associated with a long process of purchasing and setting up new equipment.

It is very easy for a cloud environment to scale on demand to expand the IT environment and provide resources as needed for additional capacity. Public cloud computing services offer almost unlimited scalability.

A scalable cloud architecture is possible through virtualization. Unlike physical machines, whose resources and performance are set relatively, virtual machines are highly flexible and can be easily scaled up or down. They can be moved to another server or placed on several servers at the same time; workloads and applications can be moved to larger virtual machines as needed.

Third-party cloud service providers have all the extensive hardware and software resources available to scale quickly, which a single business could not achieve cost-effectively on its own.

Control and Security

In a local environment, business stores all of its data and has full control over what happens to it. Due to additional privacy concerns, companies from highly regulated industries are often hesitant to move to the cloud.

In the cloud computing environment, many companies and vendors are worried about data ownership. The data and encryption keys are held by your third-party provider. If the unexpected happens and there is downtime, there is a chance that you will not get access to this data in time.

Often, the issue of security remains a crucial obstacle to the deployment of cloud computing. Cloud providers supply tighter access control than most on-premises environments. They keep their environments running and follow stricter security practices than those who manage on-premises infrastructure.

Regulatory requirements

Every company in every industry operates under some form of regulatory oversight. For government companies, as well as for several enterprises whose industry and regulatory documents are strictly regulated, it is extremely important that data storage strictly complies with the requirements of the law. Therefore, sometimes, local deployment of infrastructure is not even a matter of choice for the organization itself.

Businesses that have opted for a cloud computing model must exercise due diligence and ensure that their third-party provider complies with all the various regulatory requirements in their industry. Secret data must be protected and the confidentiality of customers, partners, and employees must be ensured.

When choosing a cloud infrastructure provider, you also need to remember about SLAs. A Service-level agreement is essential to ensure that the parties, supplier, and customer, understand a common service and service standard, including accessibility requirements. By entering into such an agreement, the supplier and the client have a documented method of working following their mutual expectations. An example of such an agreement is SLA SIM-Networks.

Cloud vs Local Infrastructure

In the real Business

Now it is worth talking about the use of local and cloud infrastructures in the work of businesses in various fields. The use of infrastructures can be very diverse: data storage, entertainment, management, social networks, education, art, GPS, etc.

1. Data Storage

Cloud computing allows you to store and access data such as files, images, audio, and video. In the age of big data, storing huge amounts of business data locally requires more space, faster speeds, and higher costs. This is where cloud storage comes into play, where companies can store and access data across multiple devices.

For example, high-speed IO1 data storage is available in the SIM-Networks cloud. It was created for clients whose projects contain highly loaded services and need the high performance of the disk subsystem. An additional benefit is more I/O for software that works with data on disk in single-threaded mode. The best option for increased performance would be a combination of using IO1 storage along with high-frequency cores.

Here you can read the interesting experience of SIM-Networks specialists on how to transfer the whole 25 TB of data from a client's IT infrastructure.

2. Backup and Restore

Cloud service providers offer not only secure storage but also the means to back up data and resources in the cloud. In a local computing system, backing up data is a complex problem, and in the event of a disaster, data can be irretrievably lost. With the help of cloud computing, data can be easily restored with minimal damage in case of unforeseen situations.

In their work, SIM-Networks engineers often perform cloud migration, VPN, and BaaS (data backup) tasks. What infrastructure requirements does the customer put forward? How to transfer the client's virtual servers to the cloud and set up the BaaS service? You can read more here.

3. Big Data Analysis

One of the most important applications of cloud computing is its role in extensive data analysis. An extremely large amount of data (Big Data) makes it impossible to store, and most importantly, process and analyze using traditional data management systems. With unlimited storage in the cloud, businesses can store Big Data, and more importantly, the computing power and the ability to scale to process and analyze this huge amount of data to gain valuable business insights.

4. Testing and Development

Cloud computing applications provide the easiest approach to product testing and development. On-premises environments require more time and money to set up IT resources and infrastructure, as well as the required workforce. Cloud computing provides scalable and flexible services that businesses can use to develop, test, and deploy products.

5. Antivirus Applications

Cloud computing comes with cloud-based antivirus software that is stored in the cloud, from where it monitors and fixes viruses and malware on an organization's system. For local environments, enterprises should take care of antivirus software in their system separately.

6. E-commerce App

E-commerce applications in the cloud allow users to quickly respond to emerging opportunities and offer new approaches to complete tasks with minimal cost and time. A striking example is the seasonal change in the intensity of sales. Because of the ability to quickly set up and scale flexibly, the cloud environment is easy to use to manage customer data, product data, and other operating systems, and it is very easy to scale seasonally, depending on the load.

7. Computing in Education

For several reasons, distance education has become an integral part of modern society. This is the area where the use of cloud infrastructure has become a saving. E-learning, online distance learning programs, and student information portals are some of the key applications of cloud computing in the education sector. In this learning environment, students, educators, and researchers are provided with all the modern tools for learning, teaching, and experimentation so that everyone can connect to their institution's cloud and access data and information.

Cloud Server

Cloud server

Learn more about the highly available public SIM-Cloud

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And in Conclusion

While many offices are arguing about the advantages and disadvantages of a local environment compared to the cloud, we suggest recalling another model that combines the best of both worlds.

A hybrid cloud solution is a solution that includes elements of different types of IT deployment models. Hybrid infrastructure includes both on-premises and cloud infrastructure, as well as technology that connects different cloud resources and simplifies the management of workloads in the cloud, control, and analysis of data, and as a result, the conduct of a company's business processes.

Alexandra Balykina

Alexandra Balykina brings extensive expertise in IT, backed by a master's degree in Information Systems and Technology Management. Through her articles, she shares insights and experiences focused on pertinent subjects within cloud computing.

Beyond her professional occupation, Alexandra is passionate about the sea, ocean, and everything connected to the water, where she finds solace and joy. An avid swimmer, she feels most alive when immersed in the sea. Additionally, she practices Kundalini yoga, which serves as a conduit for achieving harmony and balance in her work and her inner being.

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