Storage is quickly becoming a cheap, fast, one-size-fits all commodity. That’s why most data is moving to the cloud. It doesn’t make any more sense these days to run your own on-premises storage than it would to run your own electric plant.
There are a lot of hidden costs to running on-premises storage. Some of these are hard costs, such as equipment purchase, data center costs, electricity, and staffing.
Other costs are soft; these include the “distraction factor,” in which you have IT personnel baby-sitting storage servers instead of working on things that will really move your business forward. Another soft cost is the substantial risk that your on-premises equipment could become obsolete more quickly—maybe much more quickly—than planned.
For example, today’s “hot” storage hardware could seem tired and slow in a few years, while the performance of cloud storage will continue to be state-of-the-art. And note that the cost of cloud storage has dropped dramatically over time, but once you purchase on-premises storage, you’re stuck with the cost.
That’s not to say that on-premises storage is a relic of the past; in some cases, the legacy approach to using on-premises storage still has value. Though the advantages of on-premises solutions are diminishing as companies move to a cloud-native or cloud-first approach, there are still some benefits to storing data on-premises:
- Data security is in the hands of your organization, and with that control can come peace of mind
- Ability for extreme customization
- Control over implementation and upgrade processes
While those advantages can still exist, depending on your IT and business strategies, in most cases the amount of data now being produced is outgrowing the ability to store it all at a reasonable price using on-premises solutions.
On top of that, companies are beginning to recognize the increased value of the data their business is generating. From day-to-day operations and logistics information to software and applications, there’s no shortage of critically-important information being captured every second of every day.
Despite that, some companies continue to resist evolving their data strategy to incorporate the cloud. Is that you? If so, consider the problems you’ll face by continuing down the traditional path of on-premises storage.
Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Costs
On the surface, on-premises storage seems like it would be a cost-effective approach, given that you can specify every aspect of your implementation. But many of these costs become hidden among your organization’s larger operating budgets, cemented into the annual overhead with little regard for revisiting or optimizing that spend. CFOs and CTOs tasked with cost management would do well to know, with confidence, where on-premises dollars are going.
Capital Expenditures (CapEx). On-premises approaches involve significant upfront equipment costs. Also, the initial Return On Investment (ROI) often takes years to achieve due to the initial outlay for equipment, personnel, training, and so on.
Operating Expenditures (OpEx). Large, on-premises setups include a variety of operational costs:
- Recurring power and backup power sources
- Cooling equipment
- Rack space for servers and other equipment
- Annual hardware and software maintenance and support fees
- Administrative costs and employees dedicated to administration and upkeep.
When compared against the cost of cloud, it’s apparent that the disadvantage of using on-premises storage will continue to grow as the cloud becomes more affordable, capable, and unavoidable as the preferred choice for your infrastructure. The operating efficiencies available to public cloud providers will continue to drive costs down and streamline aspects of infrastructure that are too difficult for other enterprises to address.
Complexity of Configuration and Administration
Legacy storage systems are notoriously difficult to configure and administer. Professionals who work on this equipment and software will need ongoing, specialized training; alternatively, you’ll be paying for expert support from your vendors. As your on-premises system becomes more and more outdated, upkeep requires more specialization and correspondingly greater cost.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
One of the most important roles of your storage infrastructure is your ability to back up and protect your data in case of a problem. This is true whether it’s a small scale file recovery or full-blown disaster recovery scenario which requires failing over to a remote location or straight to the cloud.
As your company grows, this issue becomes more pressing, while the solution becomes more difficult. It’s likely that some portion of your backups are stored physically offsite as part of your backup/DR strategy, resulting in lost time and expenses for retrieval when they need to be pulled from offsite storage and put into play. Delays of hours if not days are common in these scenarios.
Given these drawbacks of on-premises storage, and the fact that they’ll get worse as your storage infrastructure ages, it makes sense to start looking at alternatives. It’s time to modernize your storage strategy to take full advantage of the cloud’s benefits.
When you do that, take a look at Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage. You can typically store data in Wasabi’s cloud for less than the annual maintenance cost for the same amount of on-premises storage from vendors like Dell EMC and NetApp. If you don’t absolutely need to run storage on-premises, it’s cheaper and a lot less hassle to leave it to a cloud storage specialist like Wasabi.