Warehouse Monitoring: Cloud vs. On-Premises Data Storage

For efficient warehouse monitoring, you need a robust, fast, and secure data storage infrastructure. Cloud storage offers flexibility to scale up or down according to your needs, while on-premises storage has high speeds for a single location facility.

Warehouse Monitoring

Choosing the right storage infrastructure will determine the efficiency and productivity of your facility’s monitoring system.

Warehouse monitoring is an essential process in the pharmaceutical distribution chain that ensures continuous compliance. Temperature and relative humidity monitoring have become standard practice worldwide.

Several regulatory bodies mandate that storage facilities maintain sensitive medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines within a narrow temperature and humidity margin. All these monitoring requirements help preserve the integrity of the products and thereby help protect the consumer.

Medicines, such as vaccines and therapeutics, may suffer a sharp decline in potency when exposed to high temperatures. On the other hand, for certain drugs, freezing conditions initiate a rise in reactogenicity and subsequent decline in potency.

ELPRO offers robust warehouse monitoring solutions for goods in permanent and temporary storage in light of all these factors. You can leverage ELPRO’s monitoring solutions to ensure consistent compliance, even in the transition from manufacturing to distribution.

However, before you choose any monitoring product, you must decide whether you will opt for cloud or on-premises data storage.

Currently, cloud storage receives a lot of hype and recommendation. Many users advocate for its flexibility deriving from the shared computing resources. More than a decade after its inception, cloud storage continues to grow in market share and seems to be overtaking previous storage options.

Nonetheless, on-premises storage still has a significant following, with many vouching for its stability, data security, and compliance.

Since warehouse monitoring generates enormous information, data storage and handling are necessary aspects that every organization must consider. In this article, we compare cloud and on-premises data storage options for your monitoring needs.

Defining Cloud and On-Premises Data Storage

Cloud storage collects and maintains data in remote storage pools called 'the cloud.' The main task of the hosting company is to keep the data and avail it according to user needs. Since the data are in virtual servers, you will need a dedicated network to access the data.

In public cloud storage, you get access to multi-tenant storage by paying the relevant subscription fee that depends on how frequently you use the service and the amount of data you upload.

Private cloud storage is a more secure form of remote data collection offered as a dedicated storage environment.

On-premises storage is where you store your organization's data in physical servers located on your premises.

Other local storage infrastructure includes computers and electronic storage devices. The control and administration of data in the local servers is a mandate and duty of the owner organization, although it is possible to outsource those services.

The critical aspect in on-premises storage is that the data are still within the organization, both physically and in terms of control.

Areas of Consideration

While deciding on cloud or on-premises data storage for your warehouse monitoring needs, there are vital points to consider. These provide a basis for comparing the two storage infrastructure options to determine the most appropriate.

ELPRO, through interactions with its clients, notes that the decision solely depends on the organization's needs, size, capacity, and expansion prospects. While cloud computing may favor one institution, it could be the wrong choice for another.

Scalability

As warehouse monitoring continues, data collection needs continue to grow. That means additional storage requirements. Alternatively, it may get to a point where an organization needs to expand. That will also necessitate the acquisition of more storage capacity.

All of these additional costs are incurred separate from the upfront cost. For on-premises storage, buying and configuring additional storage drives can be costly. If an organization decides to scale down in the future, it will end up with idle storage space and equipment.

In cloud storage, scalability is more straightforward, less costly, and flexible. ELPRO advocates for cloud storage because, during expansion, all one has to do is purchase a higher tier license that gives the company the additional space it requires.

Paying only for what is necessary ensures value for the money, unlike on-premises storage where, chances are, some space will remain unutilized. Scaling down in cloud storage subscription is as simple as paying for a lower-tier plan.

In terms of scalability, cloud storage offers more flexibility and better cost-effectiveness than local server storage.

Cost

An essential consideration in warehouse monitoring is the financial resources needed for the endeavor. The initial acquisition, installation, and subsequent maintenance costs must all be considered.

On-premises storage requires a high upfront cost to buy, install, and configure the servers and storage hardware. If the warehouses are in separate locations then the cost will increase substantially.

Additionally, the infrastructure will require maintenance and upgrading when necessary, making on-premises storage a very costly affair.

Cloud storage is very advantageous in terms of cost. It eliminates the need for local servers and most storage devices. The only initial cost is paying for a cloud subscription, which is lower than buying local storage equipment.

Other costs in cloud storage are also minimal since they exclude local maintenance needs. Based on cost, cloud storage is often the most feasible warehouse monitoring option since it offers lower initial and operational costs.

Speed

If your facilities are in a single location, then warehouse monitoring will be faster through on-premises data storage. That is because you can access data directly from the server or via a local area connection, both of which are fast.

However, when dealing with warehouses in different locations, ELPRO advocates for cloud storage. Although some latency may creep in since access to the cloud data depends on internet connectivity, it will still be faster than on-premises storage.

Protocols for servers in multiple locations employ smart routing that performs query optimization and consequently boosts retrieval speeds. Additionally, with 5G connectivity, you can get faster transfer speeds with as little as zero latency. That alone could make cloud storage the best option.

Security

Many people anticipate that on-premises storage infrastructure will be more secure than cloud storage. However, that is not necessarily the case. Cloud storage providers make data security a priority and invest in establishing secure platforms. In some cases, providers even use multiple security features and limit third party access to the systems.

When talking about data security in warehouse monitoring, it has to be ensured that data records can’t be manipulated in any way and the risk of data loss (e.g due to power loss) is limited as well. We recommend a warehouse monitoring system that is fully qualified according to the GXP requirements. Hence, if you choose a provider that offers cloud-based storage, the part of qualifying the cloud server IT structure has already been done by the provider.

Warehouse monitoring with on-premises data storage may seem like the more secure option because the general assumption is that no data is leaving the premises. However, some information must travel to outside partners, and employees may copy some data for use when working from home. All these loopholes present an opportunity for data breaches. So if you choose on-premises data storage you need to ensure that the complete IT structure needs a risk assessment and a qualification.

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Conclusion

Choosing either on-site storage or cloud storage is a decision that needs proper planning and foresight. In addition to the above considerations, you need to look into the organization's budget considerations, availability of technical expertise, and expansion plans.

ELPRO recommends that you pick an option that best fits the needs of your operation. The future seems brighter for cloud storage, although on-premises storage still has the upper hand in some applications.

Cloud-based temperature monitoring solution in a GxP monitoring environment

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