Hosting a BI Platform: On-Premise vs. Cloud

Posted by Christie Gunden on Jul 7, 2017 3:42:00 PM
Christie Gunden

Now that you understand the power of data and the cost/benefit of storing it in a data warehouse vs. a data lake, the next step in building a solid BI foundation is examining the options for hosting your solution to determine the right fit for your organization.

What Are My Hosting Options?

While there are many approaches to hosting a BI solution, they generally fall into four main categories:

On-premise: In the on-premise model, software is installed, managed, and run on an organization’s own servers housed locally on the premises of the organization using the software.

Cloud – IaaS: The Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model is a virtualized and scalable cloud offering which provides fundamental infrastructure components over the internet, including servers, storage, and networking. These components typically offer the same configuration flexibility of on-premise solutions, but with increased scalability, and without the overhead associated with acquiring, housing, and maintaining the infrastructure.

Cloud – PaaS: Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings are another type of cloud-based service which provide a specific software platform atop the underlying infrastructure. This increasingly popular approach sacrifices some control to greatly reduce the maintenance requirements and costs, allowing organizations to focus on developing and scaling their business applications.

Cloud – SaaS: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is perhaps the most familiar of the cloud models and goes one step further than PaaS by providing a complete software application delivered over the internet. In a SaaS solution, there is no infrastructure to manage, no software to install or upgrade, and no significant application development required. Gravitate’s Nucleus platform is a good example of a full-featured, SaaS BI solution.

The table below compares these different options with respect to hosting a BI solution:

 

On-premise  

Cloud - IaaS  

Cloud - PaaS 

Cloud - SaaS

Hardware Purchase/Location

Hardware is purchased by the organization and located on-site.

Significant up-front capital investment to purchase hardware and outfit a server room/data center.

Hardware is purchased by the cloud provider and stored in their datacenters.

Pay-as-you-go model; no up-front capital investment.

Hardware is purchased by the cloud provider and stored in their datacenters.

Pay-as-you-go model; no up-front capital investment.

Hardware is purchased by the cloud provider and stored in their datacenters.

Pay-as-you-go model; no up-front capital investment.

Infrastructure Configuration and Maintenance

Servers, storage, networking, etc. are all set up and managed by in-house resources/consultants.

Requires in-house expertise/consultants.

Takes longer to implement and is difficult to scale.

Infrastructure is configured and managed by the cloud provider.

No in-house expertise required.

Rapid start-up times and scalable.

Infrastructure is configured and managed by the cloud provider.

No in-house expertise required.

Rapid start-up times and scalable.

Infrastructure is configured and managed by the cloud provider.

No in-house expertise required.

Rapid start-up times and scalable.

BI Platform Configuration and Maintenance

BI Platform is configured and managed by in-house resources/consultants.

Requires in-house expertise/consultants.

BI Platform is configured and managed by in-house resources/consultants.

Requires in-house expertise/consultants.

BI Platform is configured and managed by the cloud provider.

No in-house expertise required.

BI Platform is configured and managed by the cloud provider.

No in-house expertise required.

BI Application Development and Accessibility

BI applications are developed and delivered by in-house resources/consultants.

Requires in-house expertise/consultants, e.g. data scientists/analysts.

All application features, e.g. mobile access, must be developed in-house.

BI applications are developed and delivered by in-house resources/consultants.

Requires in-house expertise/consultants, e.g. data scientists/analysts.

All application features, e.g. mobile access, must be developed in-house.

BI applications are developed and delivered by in-house resources/consultants.

Requires in-house expertise/consultants, e.g. data scientists/analysts.

All application features, e.g. mobile access, must be developed in-house.

BI applications are developed and delivered by the cloud provider.

No in-house expertise required.

Many application features, e.g. mobile access, are developed by the cloud provider.

Security

Security is handled entirely in-house offering flexibility and full control.

Requires significant in-house expertise/consultants.

Data is stored locally.

Security is split between in-house and cloud provider resources.

Cloud providers generally have significantly more resources and expertise dedicated to security.

Requires some in-house expertise/consultants.

Data is stored remotely in the cloud.

Security is split between in-house and cloud provider resources.

Cloud providers generally have significantly more resources and expertise dedicated to security.

Requires some in-house expertise/consultants.

Data is stored remotely in the cloud.

Security is handled primarily by cloud provider resources.

Cloud providers generally have significantly more resources and expertise dedicated to security.

No in-house expertise required.

Data is stored remotely in the cloud.

There are scenarios in which each of these options would be appropriate, but for associations who are increasingly being asked to target their dollars on delivering more value to their members, there is a compelling case for considering the cloud options, particularly SaaS offerings that address most or all their data analysis needs out-of-the-box. Because these solutions require no capital investment and minimal specialized expertise or time to use, they tend to be extremely affordable, effective, and scalable solutions that free up staff members to focus their energy on understanding the data to drive better decision-making.

Request a demo of Nucleus, our SaaS BI solution.

 

Topics: Nucleus, Data Analytics

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