February 17, 2021

Cloud vs. On-Premise Deployment: Which Is Better for Your Business?

Nabeel Keblawi

Cloud vs. On-Premise Deployment: Which Is Better for Your Business?

Choosing between cloud deployment and on-premise deployment is a big decision that should be made strategically with a lot of forethought. If you are about to make this decision, but are concerned about security or privacy, and therefore want to be in more control of your data, this article is for you. 

First, as an overview, we’ll define what on-premise deployment is, how it’s different from cloud deployment, and then we will dive into the pros and cons of each.

What is on-premise deployment?

On-premise deployment is when data is stored on your own servers, and you install and manage the software. An on-premise software infrastructure means that all the software is stored on your hardware on your company’s premises. This requires your company’s IT department to  maintain the infrastructure on their own. 

Cloud deployment, on the other hand, is when you use third-party servers to host your data, which would then be accessed remotely. There are differences between these two in terms of costs and benefits that you should know about before making a decision to invest in either. 

This article will help you understand these differences so you can make an informed decision.

Key differences: cloud vs. on-premise deployment

It is true that more and more developers and IT managers are becoming interested in cloud deployment thanks to the rapid digital transformation in recent years. However, in some cases, the decision may not be as clear-cut as it might seem. Depending on your unique situation and needs, one might be more beneficial to you than the other.

Here is a brief breakdown of the key differences between cloud and on-premise deployment:

Deployment

  • On-prem: Your data and software are stored in-house, and your hardware is managed by your own team on company premises (hence “on-premises”). 
  • Cloud: Your data would be stored on a third party server or data center, such as Google Cloud or AWS. You’d also be able to store and run code in a cloud environment rather than on your own servers. 

Control

  • On-prem: Since software, and hardware are all on premises, you have full control over your data, security, and privacy. However, your IT team would be responsible for uptime and troubleshooting issues that may cause downtime.
  • Cloud: Although you can quickly and easily access your data, some cloud services or applications may not be reliable if there is any downtime on the cloud provider’s end. You may also be subject to the cloud provider’s terms and conditions.

Scalability

  • On-prem: Scaling with on-premise deployment will require additional hardware or software upgrades to keep up with usage or demand. An in-house team of IT experts may be needed to facilitate these upgrades.
  • Cloud: Scalability is a well-known benefit of cloud deployment. Businesses using cloud can increase or decrease their on-demand usage as needed, enabling them to increase cloud usage as they grow.

Compliance

  • On-prem: A big draw for on-premise deployment is regulatory compliance. Whether you are subject to HIPAA or any other regulations concerning security and privacy, deploying your infrastructure and storing your data on-premises makes compliance much easier and more straightforward.
  • Cloud: Companies using cloud deployment need to make sure they're working with providers who are compliant with regulations. They must ensure the security and privacy of all sensitive data involving customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

Security

  • On-prem: When your data is stored on premises, you can be assured of 100% full control over the security and privacy of your data.
  • Cloud: You cannot be sure that all of your data are fully secure and private when stored on the cloud. When using the cloud, you might sacrifice a little security and control in exchange for more convenience. 

Cost

  • On-prem: Building your on-premises infrastructure initially requires more upfront capital than going with cloud deployment. From there, there will be costs related to hardware maintenance, power consumption, software updates, and the necessary IT staff to keep things running smoothly. 
  • Cloud: This may be the main advantage of cloud over on-premises. Using cloud gives you the flexibility to scale up or down depending on your data usage, cloud deployment also frees you from worrying about server hardware, infrastructure, and maintenance costs.

Now, we’ll go over the pros and cons of both cloud and on-prem deployment.

Pros and cons of on-premise deployment 

With on-premises deployment, you have more control over security, performance, how your data is used and who has access. You can also customize security settings and update software as needed without having to wait for someone else to do it for you.

Pros: 

  • Lower network bandwidth costs
  • Greater security and privacy
  • More control over server hardware

Cons:

  • Requires larger capital investment to purchase servers and hardware
  • Responsibility for compliance falls squarely on you
  • Requires extra IT support and resources
  • May limit scalability

Pros and cons of cloud deployment

When using cloud services, it's easier to scale up or down as needed. The main difference between the two types of deployments is that with cloud, there are no upfront costs associated with setting up servers and hardware as with on-prem deployment.

Pros: 

  • Eliminates upfront capital costs of on-premise hardware and servers
  • Scalable and flexible according to budget and/or usage
  • Eases burden on IT staff
  • Easier to perform regular backups

Cons:

  • Limited access to infrastructure or servers 
  • Relies on network connectivity
  • Costs can suddenly balloon with increased usage or bandwidth

CometChat's deployment options

Hosted by CometChat

1. Shared cloud: CometChat runs on our cloud servers and is completely managed by our team. The deployment is shared by multiple customers.

2. Dedicated cloud: CometChat runs on our cloud servers and is completely managed by our team. The deployment is shared by no other customers.

Hosted by you

1. On-premise: CometChat runs on your on-premise servers and is completely managed by you. The deployment is shared by no other customers.

2. On your cloud (dedicated/shared): CometChat runs on your cloud servers and is completely managed by you. The deployment is shared by no other customers.

Case example: Why Pi Data Center chose CometChat’s on-premise deployment

In a time when everyone is getting excited about cloud deployment, one company went the other way due to privacy concerns. 

The problem with cloud providers is that they can change their terms on you at any time, as is the case with WhatsApp. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp, they decided — to almost everyone’s chagrin — that user privacy wasn’t a priority by allowing WhatsApp to access each user’s contacts and location data.

Maintaining security and privacy of customer information is one major reason Pi Data Centers decided to go with on-premise deployment for their new chat messaging app. Pi Data Centers is a digital transformation technology leader in India with an automated SCADA-enabled data center facility. They also provide top-shelf cloud services to small, medium, and large enterprises all over the world.

Being aware that most customers don’t want to share their own data with cloud providers due to what happened with WhatsApp, Shireesha Chintalapati, Product Manager for Pi Data Centers, said the main factors they used to evaluate different solutions are end-to-end encryption and customer data privacy

"We don’t want customer information to be shared on multiple platforms. It was a requirement that everything be self-hosted and located within our own servers," Chintalapati explained.

Ultimately, Pi Data Centers chose CometChat’s on-premise deployment solution for their new app to be launched in April 2021. 

CometChat’s on-premise deployment solution

For those who are looking for their own solutions that involve users and their personal information, CometChat’s on-premise solution is easy to deploy and has strong technical support behind it. 

"We can say that Cometchat is the best chat and calling solution available. It can be deployed on any cloud platform in a short time, and their support is top-notch," said Kakkera Praveen, the Senior Cloud Engineer at Pi Data Centers.

Both Docker Swarm and Kubernetes are supported and the setup process is straightforward once you procure the necessary hardware. The CometChat UI kit allows you to set up your app within minutes.

If you want to:

  • Self-host
  • Maintain privacy of customer data
  • Have more control over data and security
  • Deliver better customer service through maximum uptime

Then send CometChat’s team a message and we’ll help you get started!

About the Author

Nabeel Keblawi, a deaf entrepreneur, runs a Content Marketing and SEO agency that helps B2B SaaS companies grow organically in their industries around the world. His previous work experience involved software development, renewable energy, and cloud computing. In his personal life, Nabeel loves to go hiking with his family, and dust off his skis to hit the slopes given the chance. He is also an avid reader of fictional history.

What Is CometChat?

The most robust suite of cloud-hosted text, voice and video solutions on the market. CometChat seamlessly integrates onto websites and apps quickly and securely, powering digital communities across the globe.

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