The traditional on-site server room is slowly but surely dying. A study by Gartner found that by 2025 80% of conventional server rooms will no longer be operational in favor of a cloud-based or colocation alternative.  Because the transition is happening rapidly, many people attempt to use the terms server room and data center interchangeably. Unfortunately, this could lead to confusion as businesses plan their digital transformation strategy.  The confusion comes from how we define a server room and data center.   
Server Room Data Center
A dedicated room or space that resides in a business's physical location and houses an organization’s technological equipment.   An off-site location, similar to a warehouse, that houses a collection of servers for several organizations that a third-party company manages.
Essentially it breaks down to where a company’s servers, routers, switches, and software live. Of course, each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks, but with the evolving business landscape, data centers are gaining popularity with benefits that outweigh the disadvantages. In this article, we explore the difference between server rooms and data centers. We break down the benefits of a server room and why complete control could mean inflated costs and unforeseen challenges. Likewise, read about how data centers offer a cloud-based solution that adapts to your changing business while remaining affordable. 

What is a Server Room?

A server room is an on-premises physical location where a business or organization’s computing tech stack lives. These on-site server rooms typically house equipment like servers, racks, routers, switches, network equipment, and cable management supplies. Additionally, businesses opting for the traditional server solution must invest in environmental cooling systems, fire suppression, uninterruptible power supplies, security, and airflow planning. 

Total Control

The most significant benefit of opting for an on-site server room is your business’s total control over storage systems and software infrastructure. You’re responsible for every aspect of your tech stack, from bandwidth capabilities and data storage to backup, future scalability, and crisis management strategies. With this total control, you can manage the various aspects of your system, upgrading and replacing pieces as you see fit. You can also decide when to invest in new resources or expand your business’ capabilities by adding new equipment. Although this control can be advantageous, especially for complex enterprise data centers, execution and the initial investment can be prohibitively expensive.   


On-site server rooms open the door for greater customization of your entire system depending on required functionality and workloads. By deciding the location of your room, the level of computing capability, the type of physical servers, and the software you operate from, you can craft a solution that’s tailor-made for your organization.  Though, with that customization comes additional costs. If you want better equipment or higher-quality management systems, those upgrades cost a pretty penny. Additionally, the more you customize, the harder it will be to diagnose issues and upgrade components, and it could demand more electrical power — costing you even more money. 

On-site Security

Cybersecurity isn’t the only security you need to be concerned with. Physical, on-site security is a must, especially since components of your server room are quite expensive. It could be devastating if an unauthorized individual gained access and wreaked havoc or robbed you blind. On-site server rooms also put organizations at increased risk from natural disasters and accidents, such as fires.   To combat that risk, you need to invest in adequate security in the form of badged access or biometric scanning, physical security presence, and adequate backup and recovery systems. These robust security layers ensure your business can operate regardless of circumstance, yet they pose additional costs that many budgets can’t withstand. 

What is a Data Center?

A data center is typically an off-site, third-party location where many businesses collectively share physical infrastructure space. An off-site data center frees your IT department to do business-impacting tasks, and you don’t need to invest in robust security solutions for a room full of electronics. A service provider, such as Summit Hosting, offers hosting space, allowing you to ditch the massive upfront investment in server and computing equipment. 

Redundant Backup Systems

A significant benefit of investing in third-party types of data centers is the redundant backup systems. Power outages, natural disasters, and electronics failures happen, and with an off-site data center, what impacts your physical location won’t affect your business operations. Redundant systems should include backup power generators, CPUs, and regular backups.  Summit Hosting takes high performance seriously and employs various measures to ensure your business remains online. Our server redundancy means that if a server fails, there’s a backup ready to keep you running. We also utilize backup power, rock-solid physical security, and a nightly backup regimen to minimize the downtime of data and apps!  

Colocation Opportunities

Colocation is another type of data center infrastructure that can act as a load balancer for your IT demands. It could be rented or hosted equipment or equipment space, stored and managed in an off-site location. Colocation provides many benefits, including off-site security and redundancy measures, but it also involves expert IT maintenance and upgrades. This maintenance can save businesses precious budget dollars you can allocate for other vital projects.  Colocation can be a bridge to cloud services, making remote connectivity stronger. When you decide to partner with a cloud provider, like Summit Hosting, instead of being responsible for upgrade costs, you can rest easy knowing that your business runs on the best available technology. Plus, if you have any concerns or questions, our human staff is available 24/7 to put you at ease.  

Cost-effective Measure

Your tech stack involves many components, from servers and software to operating space and desktops. These components add additional costs to your P&L reports, reducing potential profits. Instead, an off-site data center already has space, equipment, and trained professionals that handle infrastructure and cloud computing needs. Typically, your organization will pay start-up costs, administrative fees, and a monthly subscription charge. These costs are substantially lower than the initial investment and ongoing expenses related to upkeep from an on-site server room. It can get even more expensive as your business expands, and not knowing how much bandwidth you’ll need in the future could drastically damage your flexibility. Summit Hosting’s off-site solution is cost-effective, and you can expand services on-demand, giving you an affordable way to stay competitive. 

Seamlessly Switch Your Infrastructure to Summit Hosting

It’s archaic to suggest that the traditional server room is the best way to manage your IT infrastructure. As we’ve seen, the initial setup costs and ongoing maintenance or upgrades could be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Even larger enterprises are avoiding upgrades or rebuilds to server rooms because they don’t scale quickly or support an increasingly remote workforce.  Virtualization is also driving demand for cloud computing. Businesses that rely on traditional server rooms face significant challenges to adaptability when compared to cloud-based or hybrid cloud solutions. Further, the industry standards and required server licenses mean that the confluences you create are always up-to-date and secure.  Join the growing data center migration movement and partner with Summit Hosting. Our hosting services provide a stable platform for the ERP software your organization relies on. With our IT experts, 24/7/365 support, and 99% uptime, you can transition to a third-party data center without fearing losing control or the security of precious business data and operations. Contact us today to find out how affordable state-of-the-art technology can be! 

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