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It is no secret- the cloud is taking organizations by storm, and as a result it is literally upending how we do business.

Congruently, for IT leaders, what the cloud hype really means is tough decisions need to be made concerning how to gain more and better IT efficiencies; that includes cloud and its many derivatives. And, while CIOs have more decision-making abilities thanks to the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), choosing which platform to implement and update can be overwhelming. The options are endless once one starts to explore what is truly available: Data Centers, Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud.

To help you make that ever important decision, see below a few defining characteristics that can enable you in making the most educated decision possible for your data needs:

Traditional Data Center:

The most basic difference between a traditional data center and the cloud, whether private or public, is the issue of where it is located.

The cloud is in the cloud, housed online. But, a data center is on-premises and that, in some ways, presents an advantage.

With the data center being on-site, the end-user can benefit from the following:

• Higher security.
• Greater control over administration, maintenance procedures and the data itself.
• More capability in handling complex workloads.

While there are benefits to the traditional data center for larger corporations or agencies, there are cost prohibitive factors that need to be considered with a data center as opposed to the cloud. For example, with the cloud, if storage requires scalability, the size and scale of the cloud can fluctuate with the need. However, with a data center, the upfront and continued capital required for the construction and maintenance of the data center will remain constant, even if your business needs and objectives have changed.

Cloud:

As I mentioned above, the cloud is a great way to control cost while also keeping business goals and objectives aligned. The true advantage to the cloud is its near infinite capacity and the ability to downsize and mitigate cost based on actual use as opposed to buying more than you may need upfront.

Here are some of the biggest advantages to cloud:

• Scalability- it can be as big or as small as you need it to be.
• Cost savings potential.
• Portability, access and globalization.
• Streamlined business processes.

While these advantages are great and enable cost savings for the business, a concern for many cloud adopters is security. With a traditional data center, the data is on-premise and controlled by the end-user. Yet, with the cloud, data is on the web. And, depending on the type of cloud you have, public or private, the data is being housed off-premises. In some cases with public cloud, this means that your data is considered the property of the cloud solution provider. It’s easy to see why maneuvering the public cloud can be tricky and has many CIOs and CTOs a little apprehensive about cloud adoption.

Hybrid Cloud- the best choice for the best of both worlds:

Perhaps the best option for all is a hybrid cloud option where security and access aren’t hindered, yet the enterprise is still able to take advantage of the cost savings associated with the scalability and flexibility of cloud.

A hybrid cloud model is exactly as it sounds- it is a computing environment where some resources are store on-premises and others are stored in the cloud.

The advantages of hybrid cloud:

• Cost efficiency and flexibility.
• Access to mission critical data while archiving cold data off-premise.
• Scalability for complex workloads.
• Secure back-up and archiving capability.

To adopt the cloud or not to adopt the cloud, that is no longer the question. The question these days for IT leaders: What type of cloud to adopt?

The options are endless with the hybrid cloud and the many variations it can take-on.

To learn more about how to maneuver the cloud space and changes in IT, click here.