Cloud storage vs. data center: How to choose

By 2025, the total global data storage capacity will amount to tens of zettabytes, mostly in the cloud. Many companies consider cloud hosting to be the best platform, but there are certain cases where data center hosting is the best.

Consider the pros and cons of storing data in data centers and the cloud, including scalability and cost, and decide what works best.

Why choose cloud storage

Most companies choose cloud hosting for two main reasons:

reliability and scalability. But it’s more than that. Cloud hosting reduces operating, IT, maintenance, and hardware costs because the cloud provider takes care of everything. The providers make sure that their hosting services work for all their customers. However, back up your data to the cloud in case of damage or other problems.

Cloud storage can be faster for users because it often uses virtual machines and distributes data across different servers. This process reduces the risk of bottlenecks and application delays.

Why choose data center storage

Sometimes nothing beats hosting data on your own infrastructure and network. Users keep their data separate from others.

However, data center hosting requires in-house staff and technical expertise to efficiently deploy, run, and maintain data and infrastructure. Deploy in any configuration, maintain tight control over performance and security, and ensure strict compliance with corporate or industry regulatory requirements. This setup costs more in the long run but could be worth it depending on the operation.

Differences between cloud and data center

The major differences in cloud storage vs. data centers are scalability, security, and cost, but they aren’t the only ones.


Cloud storage is easily scalable since it’s run-on virtual servers that admins can spin up or down quickly.

Data center storage capacity is limited to the infrastructure in place in the facility. Increasing capacity means investing in more hardware and staff to handle it all.


Cloud data storage can provide enhanced security in its infrastructure. However, since it can be accessed by anyone from anywhere with the proper credentials over the Internet, it poses a security risk. Cloud customers cannot change the security provided by the cloud provider.

Datacenter storage is inherently more secure as only authorized accounts can access it with the appropriate credentials from within the corporate network. Improve security with additional measures, such as role-based access control and identity management apps.

Budget and investments

Deploying a data center requires a large upfront investment and significant ongoing maintenance, staffing, and facilities costs.

Cloud storage, whether in a public or private cloud, costs less upfront as the cloud vendor assumes the deployment and maintenance expenses. The vendor charges regular ongoing costs for usage and other user-based costs.


Cloud storage is generally faster because the data is decentralized among the various servers dedicated to storage.

Data center storage depends on the speed of the company’s network to handle requests and the amount of data storage.


Cloud vendors can handle infrastructure updates more easily because they have the staffing available, or they happen automatically.

Users of data center storage are responsible for any updates. If the IT team is overwhelmed with other work, it may deprioritize these updates unknowingly.

Data recovery

Recovery is easier with cloud storage because the data is distributed across the cloud environment. Admins can quickly and efficiently restore it.

Data center recovery may be frustrating because it can take a long time. In addition, users might not even recover all the lost data.

Which data storage should you choose?

Cloud storage versus data center analysis is based on many factors, such as budget, workload, staffing levels, and industry requirements.

Generally, small businesses and startups should use cloud hosting, they won’t need large upfront investments since it’s subscription-based. Businesses that need specialized storage or have regulatory requirements can choose a private cloud to ensure data is kept separate from customers of other cloud providers.

Large enterprises and enterprises can use storage in the cloud or in the data center, depending on their needs. For example, if a business has no regulatory requirements and an IT team or a small budget, public cloud data storage might be a good fit. Companies with specific regulatory needs and small budgets can choose between private cloud hosting or a third-party data center.