Why does cost matter so much, in the cloud?

Why does cost matter so much, in the cloud?

Why Pick Cloud

Making the decision to move into the cloud isn’t (and shouldn’t be) all about price. In fact, it shouldn’t be about price at all.

Now – that’s not to say you shouldn’t be getting a good deal out of your cloud provider and it certainly not to say you should expect to spend a fortune by “going cloud” in your business – but no business should base their IT decisions purely on cost alone.

If you’ve ever been involved at any level in the decision making process about an IT upgrade for a company, then you know cost is a significant factor (probably a primary factor, one would imagine). However it’s not the only factor that you would have taken into consideration. Ordinarily, you would have to consider such factors as the capacity of the new equipment to suit your needs and growth, their reliability and redundancy (if your budget extends to that), their repairability and warranty, availability and the list goes on.

For some reason, however, when it comes to the cloud, cost often seems to gain more weight than it would ordinarily. People will weigh up the costs of the big public providers, like Amazon or Microsoft and compare them to local providers or others and generally pick the cheapest option, even when it’s not the best choice for many reasons.

Furthermore, as time goes on, it’s often not even the cheapest option, as pricing from many cloud providers is… deceptive, shall we say?

The originalĀ impetusĀ of “going cloud” was never to save you money (sure, salesmen might have told you it was but it wasn’t). In fact, in some cases, where a system is very static and has little to no growth, it might even wind up costing more over the life span of a system. Cloud systems are supposed to be about allowing you extraordinary flexibility to scale up or down at virtually no notice. Adding or removing servers or capacity without the upfront costs.

Cloud systems are best suited to certain environments – such as those where the workload varies or where the workforce is mobile or dispersed; they’re not really best suited to a single office where all staff are on site, all the time. Sure, cloud can be wonderful in these situations too, but hybrid approaches are probably more suitable.

If you’re thinking about going cloud – ask yourself this: am I going to the cloud to lower my total IT spend or am I going to the cloud for other reasons? If you’re trying to outsource your IT management or remove upfront costs – great! If you’re looking for a more flexible or mobile IT system – superb! If you’re trying to lower your IT infrastructure and licensing budget – then the news may not be so great. Your licensing costs are unlikely to be any better than they are now and these often comprise a significant part of IT spend.

Cloud services are ideal for businesses looking at uncertain or unknown futures. This doesn’t mean business in trouble: rather businesses who may have potential growth on the horizon or who may be looking at new software needs in the future. Adding a new cloud based server to pick up additional workload or manage new roles is a wonderful thing. It’s quick, easy and it might save you money. Just don’t let money be the only factor in the decision or you could be in for a shock, down the track.

About the Author

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RodneyI'm a veteran of way too many years of IT (although I still love it) and I currently head up the techincal work over at Host One (major sponsor of this site), where I'm also a partner. Feel free to ask me anything about Cloud Computing and I'll try to be helpful, in a non-salesy kind of way.View all posts by Rodney →

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