Planning properly to meet requirements and expectations
There is a general consensus that today the cloud is the only way to build an IT infrastructure. The main reasons for this are the cost aspect and the flexibility.
These should be examined more closely.
The biggest difference between having your own datacenter and a cloud-based datacenter is the initial cost versus running costs. The initial cost of having a dedicated datacenter for a medium-sized SME ranges between € 500,000 and € 1.5 million. These costs are deducted over 5 years and thus form a large block of the running costs of your own data center.
The cloud-based datacenter has no initial costs, but running instances are billed to the minute / hour. If you compare a cloud-based datacenter to your own datacenter with an equal setup over a 5-year period, your own datacenter will be approximately 25% more cost efficient. This also applies if your own datacenter has to be extended with computing instances. If you shift responsibility (in case of the cloud: responsibility for physical infrastructure), the costs increase.
However, the challenge lies in the operational time. 20 and 15 years ago, SMEs had a medium-term corporate plan of 5 years and updated it. The dynamic of the market introduced by StartUps requires everyone to respond more quickly to customer demands and market needs so as not to lose touch. This means that a realistic planning horizon for IT infrastructure is only between 1 and 2 years.
Of course, this is the advantage of the cloud-based datacenter, which can be adapted exactly to your own requirements at any time. Even faults in the infrastructure planning can be easily corrected in no time at low cost. This way the problematic long-term deduction of investment costs of the own datacenter can be circumvented.
The biggest challenge of a cloud-based data center is security. In addition to the know-how to run a secure infrastructure in the cloud according to classical aspects, another reason is that computing instances are not or only with a correspondingly higher cost used dedicated. With hardware-related vulnerabilities (such as Meltdown, Specter), this poses an unpredictable security risk for mission-critical data. These vulnerabilities can only be resolved by the cloud operator.
A possible middle way is the hybrid cloud. It consists, in one part, of its own data center, which has mission-critical data and a minimum of computing instances to handle critical IT processes, and another from a directly connected cloud that scales as needed.
This solution also presents many challenges. In addition to the corresponding know-how for setting up and maintaining your own datacenter, you also need the know-how to operate clouds. Of essential importance is an IT infrastructure or cloud strategy that defines where and which data or processes can be stored and run.