There are several advantages of why I believe you should go with a data warehouse living in the cloud and not on premise. I know everyone has heard all the news and excitement around what AWS has been doing around their data warehouse offerings. AWS has been one of the leaders in the Cloud industry for a while and the way they are continually updating their existing products as well as releasing new cloud products is awesome. Lets now go over the advantages that I see a cloud warehouse has over on-premise.
Speed of implementation: With a cloud solution your server can be up and running within fifteen minutes. For the on-premise you will have to order a server, rack the server, install the software, apply patches, put the server on the network, and all that can take several weeks to months from ordering to your warehouse is live and ready.
Flexibility and scalability: Let’s say in a year or two that your company no longer wants a data warehouse, with the cloud solution you just terminate it and now you are no longer paying for those resources. With the on-premise you have to figure out on how to recoup the capital expense from those purchased server and/or servers. Scalability is what the cloud is made for. You want another server you spin it up. With the on-premise you have to plan accordingly and go through the entire process again order a server, racking the server, install the software, apply patches, putting the server on the network.
Ongoing cost: Hardware usually has a three year life span and then you have to replace the server. Along with replacing the server you will have to plan the migration of the warehouse and then migrate. All of that adds up the cost as well. In the cloud you are not responsible for the hardware so this is all handled without your involvement you can focus on the warehouse schema and the data which is the most important pieces of the business intelligence solution.
Security: All cloud based providers are constantly checking the security of their infrastructure with teams of people that try to compromise the system. To go long with that, infrastructure physical security is very tight around their data centers usually taking two to three methods of identification before being allowed to enter the facility.
I think it is safe to say that I am a little biased when it comes to cloud solutions and what they can offer to businesses. That is not to say that I do not rule out on-premise infrastructures. There are requirements and situations that the business really needs to look hard at and make the decision that on-premise is the best way to go for them.