Cloud – The Emerging and Preferred Choice for Storage and Computing
Cloud storage has been the buzz word for many years now. Individuals most likely know the cloud as iCloud or Google Drive. Expectedly so. As these are the most common solutions for storing data in the cloud. From smartphones to desktops, cloud storage provides the ability to access data from anywhere, anytime.
On the other hand, organizations are the major customers actively using cloud storage and cloud computing to take on the digital transformation journey. While leveraging the cloud to replace traditional IT systems. In fact, around 60% of corporate data is stored in the cloud today.
Organizations are seen shifting towards cloud storage and computing for the past several years. However, the main trigger occured with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without enough time to expand internal infrastructure, in 2020, organizations were forced to take their workload to the cloud and deploy remote working practices. It’s the year 2022 now and the hype around the cloud is still not slowing down.
In fact, the healthcare sector is also under its influence now. Especially for digital image sharing for medical images. Azure and AWS are popular corporate solutions in healthcare. What makes the cloud so special compared to on-premise infrastructure? Let’s discuss further in detail.
On-Premise vs. Cloud
On-premise IT infrastructure refers to an in-house physical place where an organization keeps a group of servers and other IT-related equipment. This implies that the organization runs its own data center where it stores data and manages IT resources itself without any involvement of a third-party vendor. All installations, maintenance, updates, and safety are done in-house.
Cloud IT infrastructure refers to using computing resources and servers of a cloud service provider via a secure wireless network connection. This implies that the organization does not have to install in-house servers. All computing resources are provided by the cloud service provider, including maintenance, updates, and security. The organization just has to pay the monthly subscription charges based on the number of services it is demanding from the vendor.
Companies like AWS and Microsoft provide hybrid work solutions and secure cloud storage. Visit our Microsoft 365 affiliate partner below to learn more. Note that we earn commissions on the link below.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the perfect example of how a cloud service provider can fulfill the needs of an organization. AWS is the leading cloud provider that provides cost-effective, fully-featured, and scalable cloud computing solutions. AWS cloud services are provided from its dozens of data centers located across the world.
AWS offers 170+ services to serve almost all IT-related needs from storage and hosting to development and analytics. Some of the most used AWS services are as follows:
- Amazon EC2: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) allows users to create on-demand and scalable virtual machines. In simple words, it’s a computer with an operating system and hardware of your choice but running entirely virtual. This means that one physical computer can run multiple virtual computers using Amazon EC2.
- Amazon RDS: Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) makes it easy to set up relational databases and also run and scale them in the cloud. It supports multiple relational databases, such as MySQL, SQL Server, Maria DB, Oracle, etc.
- Amazon S3: Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a cloud storage service that helps organizations store, protect, and restore any amount of data from anywhere in the form of buckets.
- Amazon Lambda: Amazon Lambda is a serverless, event-driven computing platform that executes code in response to events and also manages the required computing resources automatically.
Other than the above services, AWS has a lot more to offer. To sum up, the AWS cloud acts as a one-stop platform to fulfill all the organization’s IT needs virtually.
Why are organizations choosing cloud over hosting their own architecture in data centers?
At first glimpse, cloud storage seems like trusting someone else with your data instead of storing it within your premises. However, cloud storage is beyond that. In fact it provides more accessibility and security compared to on-premises storage. Below are some of the main reasons why organizations are actively shifting toward cloud storage:
The first and most important reason for choosing cloud storage is its cost-effective nature. When an organization opts for cloud storage, it means no need to set up on-premises data centers, no maintenance hassle, no need for a large IT teams, and no worries about meeting timely updates. Moreover, cloud storage is based on a subscription-based model in which an organization pays for the amount of storage it uses from the service provider. For example, 2 TB of Google Cloud storage is available for just $9.99/month. Overall, cloud storage saves significant capital compared to on-premises storage. Especially for smaller organizations that do not need large amounts of data storage. Where the on-premise overhead costs aren’t worth standing up in-house infrastructure.
- Data Accessibility
Cloud storage works through the internet, which means that the data is accessible from anywhere, anytime. Multiple users can store, access, and use the data at the same time. The requirements are minimal. Login credentials and authentication requirements. This accessibility is not available with on-premises storage, which requires the end user to be present within the premises to access and use the data. Or to have some type of direct secure connection such as a VPN to access the data remotely.
As mentioned above, cloud storage is subscription-based where an organization only pays for the amount of storage it uses. Since the data needs can grow or reduce at any time, cloud service providers provide flexibility in adjusting the plan as per the needs. All it requires is to start paying more or less if the storage needs to increase or decrease respectively. On the other hand, on-premises storage requires additional investment in purchasing more storage hardware, software, and physical storage space to upscale the storage capacity.
- File Sharing
Cloud also provides a simple click-based way to share files with others. All you have to do is select the files you want to share, pick the sharing medium, select the person to share, and share the files. You can also share files with others even with on-premises storage, but you first have to upload them while being present within the premises of your organization and then share them with others. Cloud provides file sharing without restricting you to any geolocation. Hence why Medical Image Sharing vendors such as Ambra choose AWS cloud for their storage and service needs.
- Disaster Recovery
Disasters can happen at any time, such as flood, fire, earthquake, virus/malware attack, system corruption, hardware damage, and similar others. All such disasters can cause complete loss of data if stored on-premises.. Luckily for cloud customers, cloud storage is replicated elsewhere in several locations. The data still remains intact even if a severe data calamity occurs within the premises of an organization. Therefore, using cloud storage as a backup medium is another main reason why organizations are preferring cloud platforms. We discuss disaster recovery and business continuity more here.
Pros vs Cons of Cloud
Every technology has its pros and cons and so does the cloud. Here are the main pros and cons of the cloud:
- It provides an easy and cost-effective way to store a large amount of data.
- It is easily scalable.
- It allows multiple users to access the files at the same time from anywhere.
- It is perfect to keep a backup of critical files.
- It offers click-based file sharing.
- It is more secure, as experienced cybersecurity professionals ensure top-notch security measures.
- There is a lack of total control.
- It depends on the internet connectivity.
- It is difficult to migrate to other cloud providers.
- There are security risks especially if employees are not educated about key security practices.
- Not all cloud providers provide top-notch customer support.
- Some cloud solutions can be very expensive.
Considering the digital advancements, organizations are dealing with massive inflows of data. Data management and analysis are no longer easy jobs. They require large-scale data centers, a dedicated IT team, analytics tools, and much more to get the job done rightly. Cloud is taking away all these hassles of organizations by providing web-based, intuitive, and efficient solutions. Thus, there is no denial of the bright future of cloud and the increasing involvement in managing corporate data and IT resources.