Making the decision to move the entirety of your enterprise data from your on-site data center to a cloud database is no small consideration.
You might be asking yourself: “what do I stand to gain?” and “what do I stand to lose?” These are important questions, and both need to be answered before you can begin to make an informed decision.
Furthermore, even if you decide to move to the cloud, do you choose Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) from a major cloud player like Microsoft and Amazon? Or do you instead opt for a managed service provider approach with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about moving to the cloud, what the various types of cloud databases offer, and all of the myriad cloud database advantages for businesses of any size.
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What is a Cloud Database? Exploring the Benefits of Cloud Databases for Businesses Today
Before you can decide if you even want to move to the cloud, it’s important to first gain a thorough understanding of what exactly cloud services are, how the various cloud platforms differ, and what kind of cloud-based solutions would work best for your business or enterprise.
Simply put, a cloud database hosts all the information contained within a given system, network or bundle of software. Your information is hosted off-premises in a virtual environment, supported by third-party servers or data centers.
There are many benefits of a database in the cloud compared to traditional on-premise hardware solutions. A major advantage is offloading the constant and irritating tasks of having to update, install, maintain, backup, plan and test the environment to someone else.
The Top 5 Advantages of Cloud Databases for Businesses in our Modern Era
1. Cost Savings
On average, you can expect to save roughly 15% on your yearly IT spend by migrating your enterprise database to the cloud.
Depending on the size of your business, that could be substantial savings. In fact, it’s not uncommon for businesses to save millions by opting for a managed database cloud hosting solution.
The cost savings can be due to several factors.
With a cloud computing solution, you’re no longer paying for your on-premise hardware. Switching to the cloud also means reallocating time to other priorities, no more energy costs, no more upkeep and no more constant IT headaches.
Furthermore, most cloud infrastructure providers offer flexible subscriptions, including pay-per-use. This makes scalability possible for your business depending on your data needs, even while navigating volatile market conditions.
2. Easier Data Management
With a cloud database solution, especially managed database services like IaaS or DBaas, you can create, configure and manage your data with blissful, high-performance simplicity.
By outsourcing your enterprise data and software to a dedicated cloud service vendor, you’re placing it all in a single, streamlined and cohesive system that will operate faster and more efficiently than you could ever hope to emulate on your own.
This means that new data clusters can be created quickly, in real-time on an as-needed basis. Inefficient data stacks get automatically reorganized and backups are done on a regularly set schedule which will be key if you ever have to enact your disaster recovery solution.
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3. Heightened Scalability and Adaptability
If your business is affected by changing market conditions, it’s a major benefit to know that you can quickly scale your data needs, costs and commitment up or down on the fly.
Being able to harness extra resources when needed, then drop them when you don’t, is one of the best and most useful advantages of cloud databases.
All of this can be achieved while avoiding the staggering costs of maintaining your own hardware on-site, paying for additional hardware when needs change, and going through a hardware refresh every 3-5 years.
4. Lower Risk Factor
Yet another stress-reducing cloud database benefit is the element of a lower risk factor when it comes to the preservation of your data.
Mainly the case with subscription-based cloud services such as DBaaS, IaaS or SaaS, vendors use automation to implement and enforce security measures to protect your data and lower the chance of human error.
As mentioned above, frequent backups can be performed at a schedule of your choosing improving your disaster recovery options. Plus, most vendors provide guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) along with cutting-edge features to guard against loss of revenue due to slowdowns or downtime.
5. Quicker Time to Market
If you had to set up a new digital product or service, but you utilized your own on-site hardware instead of a SQL database or other hybrid cloud solution, you’d be forced to implement and scale up on your own.
However, all of those annoying considerations are thrown by the wayside with a cloud-based managed service.
Since everything is hosted virtually, there’s no new hardware that needs to be set up, you can simply implement your new product or service in a matter of minutes.
Disadvantages of Cloud Databases
While the cloud offers a wide range of advantages for your business, there are also some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of cloud databases.
1. Paying for Data Extraction
There may be instances when you require specific data from your hosted databases for certain projects or other work. Extracting the data from the cloud is relatively easy, but it comes at a cost.
When you extract data from the cloud, you’ll be required to pay a fee. If your team frequently extracts data, you’ll be charged every time that happens. These fees can add up over time, especially if multiple data extractions occur.
2. Lack of Control Over Hosting
Using a cloud database requires you to install software on all of your devices in order to access your data. While an important part of the process, you won’t have any control over the software, nor will you be able to increase its security. These tasks are solely in the hands of your provider.
3. Data Protection Risks
When you sign with a cloud services provider, they agree to host all of your data. While helpful, there is a level of risk involved with this. If the provider experiences a major data breach or cyber attack, the safety of your data could become compromised.
Before you choose a database services provider, be sure to do your due diligence on them and examine their track record for data protection.
If a provider has been a frequent target of cyber attacks that led to data loss and theft, or lacks a comprehensive disaster recovery policy, you may want to consider choosing a different provider.
4. Switching to Another Provider
Just as is the case with other IT-related services, if you are not satisfied with the services offered by one provider, you might consider switching to another one.
Making the switch is relatively easy for traditional managed IT services, but it can be more difficult for cloud services.
The reason for this is because every managed database provider relies on different data storage methods. In addition, you will be required to uninstall the old provider’s software from your devices and replace it with that of the new provider, which can be time consuming.
5. Reliance on Internet Connectivity
When you store your data on physical servers, you can access it whenever necessary. The same holds true for cloud-based storage.
However, as cloud hosting is purely digital, if your internet connection goes down for an extended period of time, you would be unable to access your data as a result.
Before making the move to the cloud, you should check your internet connection and consult with your internet service provider to ensure you have enough bandwidth in order to prevent interruptions or outages.
Capitalizing on Cloud Databases Benefits With the Right Managed Service Provider
If over 90% of all businesses are in the cloud, there must be an excellent reason for it.
While there are both advantages and disadvantages of cloud database use for business purposes, the benefits typically outweigh the cons.
Enjoying the ability to rapidly scale your data needs either up or down, cost savings and simplifying your database management are definitely positive changes to embrace.
If you’d like to explore your options and see which type of cloud service works best for you, talk to us today for a free consultation.