A core decision in every business is where and how it chooses to host its data. Today’s database and analytics technologies offer a wide range of deployment possibilities. Companies can host services locally, choose a cloud provider, or use any number of hybrid solutions. The Clusterpoint database, for example, has options for hosting in the Clusterpoint cloud, or a local installation. How should a CTO or developer decide what the best deployment option is for their company? Here are some simple criteria you should consider when making your decision.
With many common database operations, how fast they complete depends on how much computing power you can throw at it. Hosting in the cloud allows providers to bring as much computing power as you need, when you need it. Database operations frequently have long idle periods where not much computing power is needed. These periods are punctuated by moments of intense computation, such as generating reports. The Clusterpoint cloud-based option is especially useful in this regard: you pay only for what you consume, whether you’re simply accepting incoming data or crunching some serious numbers for a report.
That being said, a key benefit of hosting locally is the improved latency. For fast network communication between application servers and the database, nothing beats colocation on the same hardware or in the same local network. For applications where network latency is a real bottleneck, the only solution is bringing your components closer together. This also allows you to simplify your networking and firewall setup. Instead of writing exceptions and security policies for multiple servers on different domains, you can colocate them and reduce the number of special cases or exceptions in your firewall.
Flexibility is the key benefit of any cloud solution. Over the life cycle of a startup, your data needs will change enormously. Starting with a cloud solution ensures you always have appropriate infrastructure (and infrastructure bills... ) for your growth level. It also makes future infrastructure road-mapping a lot simpler — you just need to familiarize yourself with the scaling options for your cloud provider!
Cloud database solutions allow you to deploy and scale your use up or down without committing to long term investments in infrastructure. By offering predictable billing, easy scaling, and on-demand compute power, the cloud lets you adapt your database painlessly.
A final benefit of cloud hosting services is that they allow a third-party provider to handle the hard parts of hardware maintenance for you. Provisioning hardware, responding to pages when systems fail, and dealing with the nuts and bolts of physical machines are no longer your company’s concern. A common database pitfall is issues with storage devices and backups. The Clusterpoint cloud solution builds in three levels of redundancy, meaning you don’t have to stress about your hardware reliability or implementing your own fallback procedures.
On the other hand, hosting and managing services locally allows you to have your finger on the pulse of every component of your product. For many CTOs and technically-minded managers, being able to securitize each machine to their preferred level of scrutiny is a major plus. While most cloud solutions are very secure and breaches are rare, some people only feel comfortable with security and monitoring they’ve implemented themselves.
Ultimately, the trend in the industry is a move towards greater use of cloud services. Especially for smaller companies like startups, it’s easiest to get off the ground by outsourcing the worries that come with managing and maintaining infrastructure, and letting your business focus on its core competencies.