Choosing between SaaS and On-Premises Storage solutions
Deciding between on-premises and “SaaS” (Software as a Service) storage solutions within your business is a significant decision. With the popularity of cloud, enterprises and organizations throughout the world are being forced to think more seriously about their storage options.
In some cases, the advantages of using SaaS for small to medium businesses are obvious, however it’s important to remember that SaaS route is not as straight forward as many believe. Often, making a decision between SaaS storage and on-premises involves a number of conflicting arguments to consider. For example:
- Costs: With SaaS you use a “pay as you go” format, whereas On-Premises storage comes with up-front costs for software, hardware but might have lower on-going costs.
- Customization: With SaaS, your customization options are limited, whereas On-Premises storage can be more customizable depending on your software vendor.
- Security: With SaaS, access is handling by vendors who may not fully understand your needs, thereby creating risks. With On-Premises storage, you have more control.
- Integration: With SaaS, integration is limited, despite being an important requirement, whereas with On-Premises storage, integration through existing software is relatively common.
So with so much to consider, how exactly can any business make the decision between SaaS and on-premises solutions?
- Be Wary and Realistic
Often, when you’re in the market for storage solutions, on-premises vendors and SaaS providers alike will do everything they can to convince you that their option provides the best service for you. For instance, one of the most complicated questions to answer is in regards to paying for SaaS in comparison the long-term costs of on-premises storage.
Generally, On-Premises vendors will argue that over a period of perhaps, five years, your infrastructure costs that support your business applications will have basically paid for themselves. In these circumstances, once the five year period has passed, SaaS will still be costing the business money, whereas the on-premises solution would have minimal incremental cost, even if you add additional users. However, in some cases, on going costs for on-premise solution could be high depending on new hardware additions, software updates, recovery and backup options. Similarly, SaaS might sound appear small on a per-user basis but over the period it would add up especially as you expand to add more users and add additional services.
To be safe, you must estimate the total cost of ownership that takes into account all supporting costs required for SaaS and On-Premises solutions.
- Think Beyond Cost
Cost is always going to be an important part of running your business successfully, but it isn’t the only concern. Control, customization, security, compliance, and other aspects are as important if not more important than costs. A subscription service may begin to become more expensive as your business grows bigger, and you may need to consider what would happen if your SaaS provider failed.
In most circumstances, SaaS providers will not give clients the same flexibility in customization as they could otherwise get with on-premises software. Most SaaS solutions will thereby operate according to corporate applications and existing human resource apps.
Neglecting to assert enough control over your processes and businesses could lead your IT system to become inoperable. As simple as it might seem, the road to success is littered with landmines, so you’ll need to be careful to ensure that you’re fully informed – and don’t always believe exactly what your on-premises and SaaS providers tell you.
- Check that your Apps are Suitable for On-Premises or SaaS
Often, On-premises options work well across all specialized applications, such as those which require large transfers of data or data manipulation, and financial apps that deal with sensitive information. SaaS can be a great option for applications that are good for improving productivity and collaboration, as well as managing less-sensitive information.
- Learn the Needs of Your Business and Get Free Trials
Before you make any decision about the future of your company, you’re going to need to understand what your basic needs are. If you’re deploying a new application for your company, or replacing an old option, then you’ll need to know the basics of how this software will have to work.
Before you decide to replace your old storage solution with something new, try looking for companies that offer free-trial solutions. A number of SaaS providers will give you the option to try before you buy, so you can decide whether the software works for you, before you commit to it completely. If possible, you should also do this for on-premises options, though you may find that you are only given a demo example, rather than a full version of what you could expect in the future.
- Evaluate in Steps
One of the key questions you will need to ask yourself, is whether a SaaS provider, who provides the software, could also offers a service that you can trust. If you can’t find a SaaS provider who you feel comfortable working with, which also offers the software you need, then the decision of what to do next is going to be easy.
If, on the other hand, you find one or more providers in the SaaS circle that offer the software you need, the next step will be to think about all of the conflicts that you may have between SaaS and on-premises. Analyze, in depth, the pros and cons of both options, and decide which one is the most appealing option for you.
- Know the Vendor Difference between On-Premises and SaaS
One of the biggest differences that exists in regard to SaaS and on-premises solutions is the relationship that exists between the vendor and the customer. With on-premises options, the vendor provides the customer with a licensed version of software, and makes upgrades and updates where necessary. On the other hand, a SaaS provider maintains an ongoing relationship with their client from the very first day. You entrust your SaaS provider with the sensitive information stored through your business, and therefore you rely on them to help you run your business smoothly, through the correct software, innovation and support.
Author: Rahul Sharma