data center cables
Considering a DCIM, network documentation or OSP (gis-enabled outside plant management software) solution? In addition to understanding the features and functions you need, you may also need to discern which deployment will work best for your organization: SaaS or on-premise?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer: what you choose should depend solely upon what your organization specifically needs. Need to automatically document the network? Consider the level of detail you will need in your diagrams. SaaS, while it performs quite well, tends to have less bandwidth; large diagrams populated with lots of big images could impact speed. Another question to ask, for example: what level of security do you need? If you have backup policies the SaaS provider can’t meet, choosing the on-premise version of a DCIM platform will keep you in compliance.

Key factors to consider include: upfront costs vs. long-term, the level of security required, and the need for discovery and/or integrations (which many of our customers do need from a network documentation or DCIM solution). To help you determine which is best for a given scenario, we’ve listed some of the main items you’ll want to consider in choosing between SaaS or on-premise for a DCIM, network documentation or outside plant management solution:

When to use SaaS:
Low upfront costs: SaaS is cheaper in the short term because there is no deployment — and no high upfront costs. It is ideal for short-term projects (typically a year or less).
No deployment: when there is no need or interest in deploying software and managing servers, SaaS is more convenient.
Little security restrictions: when there is no need to integrate Active Directory with netTerrain, then the native SaaS log in works just fine.
No integrations: when there are no requirements for integrations with other internal systems or network discovery, SaaS works fine.
Leaner diagrams: SaaS performs very well, however: large diagrams, with lots of icons using big images, still need to be sent from the server to the client. In a SaaS environment, this goes over the WAN — which tends have less bandwidth than a LAN network.
When to use On-premise:
Low recurring costs and cheaper long term TCO: if recurring costs need to be kept low, the maintenance on the permanent license is much cheaper than the ongoing costs. In long term projects the total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower.
Controlled deployment: certain customers want to control which hardware and software is used, as well as backup policies and so on, and not be at the mercy of the SaaS provider.
Need integrations or discovery: if internal systems need to be integrated with netTerrain — or the customer wants to use the netTerrain environmental monitoring (power/temp) or network discovery — an on-premise instance is needed.
Better performance for very large diagrams: when the customer has very large diagrams and/or nodes with large images, the bandwidth advantage of LAN over WAN may yield better performance (assuming the server specs are met).
Leaner diagrams: SaaS performs very well, however large diagrams with lots of icons using big images still need to be sent from the server to the client. In a SaaS environments this goes over the WAN, which tends have less bandwidth than a LAN network.

Ultimately, what you need will depend upon what you need to do and for how long. SaaS, with lower upfront costs and a reduced implementation period, may deliver a stronger ROI initially; over a longer period of time, however, an on-premise solution could be the better investment.