Cloud-hosted vs. Cloud-based: Choosing the right solution for your veterinary practice

Understanding the key differences between cloud-hosted vs. true cloud-based solutions and why it’s important.

8 January 2024 5 min read


Are you a veterinary practice owner navigating the ever-evolving world of technology for your clinic? Considering all the choices and potential overwhelm on practice management solutions (PMS), we’re here to help you decipher and make the right choice. Before investing in any PMS, you should consider - cloud-hosted vs. cloud-based solutions.

Understanding the difference

We’ve served hundreds of veterinary practices and truly understand the unique aspects of your team’s software requirements for a healthy and productive clinic. As a starting point, many have enjoyed our downloadable guide on how to choose the right veterinary PMS and the key factors you need to consider. But in this article, we’ll simplify a technical consideration and dive into the differences between cloud-hosted vs. cloud-based systems, helping you make an informed choice.

Imagine your veterinary practice as a garden. Now, think of the software you use to manage your clinic as a tool that helps you take care of the plants in your garden. This tool, your software, can either be kept in your shed (cloud-hosted) or up in-the-sky (true cloud-based). Let’s see what that means:

Cloud-hosted software: the shed

Cloud-hosted software is like storing your tool in your own private garden shed, being a single-tenant. The tool and shed are yours, and you can use it whenever you want. It’s close by, but it’s also your responsibility to keep it in good shape, make sure it doesn’t get rusty, and that it’s always ready for you to use.

In the same way, with cloud-hosted software, the software is stored on a computer that’s usually in a data centre somewhere for private, single-tenant use. It’s accessible over the internet, but it’s your job to ensure it runs smoothly. You’re in charge of maintenance and making sure it’s secure, just like taking care of your garden tool in the shed.

Cloud-based software: up in-the-sky

Now, imagine your garden tool is in-the-sky, and you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. You don’t have to worry about keeping it in good shape, because the cloud takes care of everything. It’s always sharp and ready for you to use, no matter where you are.

Cloud-based software is not on your computer or in your shed; it’s on powerful data centres that are managed by experts. And multiple businesses are doing the same thing, so it’s a multi-tenant concept, thereby reducing the cost. You can use it from your clinic, from home, or even while you’re on a veterinary mission in a remote village. It’s always ready and well-maintained, just like the magical garden tool in the sky.

So, when it comes to choosing between true cloud-based and cloud-hosted software, it’s like deciding whether you want to keep your garden tool in the private shed or have a cloud tool that’s always ready in the sky. Each option has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on what works best for your veterinary practice.





Cons of true cloud-based solutions

There is a requirement for strong internet dependency which isn’t always optimal especially if your veterinary practice is in a remote area. However, there are options for improving internet connections in remote areas.

Storing your data in the cloud means entrusting it to the service provider. While reputable providers invest in robust security measures, some individuals or businesses may have concerns about data privacy, especially when dealing with sensitive veterinary patient information. However as a cloud-based provider ourselves, Ascend is built with Microsoft Azure infrastructure, which is one of the top providers for cloud-based software and they provide optimal resources to maintain security across millions of leading global companies to protect data.

Cons of cloud hosted-solutions

With cloud-hosted software, you may have more perceived control over the security with it being “single tenancy,” however because there are fewer resources if the provider experiences downtime or issues, it can disrupt your operations. It can also be costly because the infrastructure isn’t in the true cloud environment and resources are not shared by others, like in a true cloud-based solution.

You may not have the privilege of getting automatic updates and the speedier service that cloud-based offers either. Integrations and customisations may be more expensive too.


Making the decision

So, how do you decide between cloud-hosted and cloud-based solutions for your veterinary practice? It’s all about a structured decision-making process. Consider factors like the size of your practice, budget, goals and growth potential.

We’d recommend true cloud-based because it’s much more scalable. That way, you can claim the benefits of speed, regular updates, convenience, and a tailored approach from our PMS experts that will truly help your practice achieve its unique needs in a timely manner.

To further your understanding, other SaaS providers like Calabrio outline the difference between cloud-based and cloud-hosted. And we agree, that with centralised management and administration in the true cloud, this makes it much easier for transition, onboarding and operational efficiency.

If you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information.


Implementation and transition

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to put the plan into action. Whether you’re transitioning to a cloud-hosted or cloud-based solution, it’s crucial to have a clear implementation plan in place. Ensure you ask all the right questions to your cloud PMS provider and that your staff receive the necessary training and support to make the transition as smooth as possible.



Choosing the right PMS for your practice can make a world of difference. For our clients, like the Woofy’s on Kuhl’s team, their need for flexibility, accessibility and mobility meant our cloud-based solution, Covetrus Ascend, was suitable for them.

Assess your practice’s unique needs, understand the benefits of both solutions, make a structured decision, and consider expert recommendations.

Want to explore Ascend further or try it out for your veterinary practice? Book a free demo or quick chat.