When the cloud isn’t right for you
When the cloud isn’t right for you
The Cloud is many things to many people. But when businesses talk about using the cloud, usually they are referring to Infrastructure as a Service. That’s where they are purchasing bare server, storage and network services from a Cloud Supplier such as Amazon, Rackspace or Memset. And cloud computing as an Infrastructure as a Service has brought massive benefits to start-up businesses and more established businesses alike.
A few years ago News International, publisher of The Times and The Sun amongst other titles and outlets, looked to meet its customer demand for digital content quickly and effectively in a competitive environment; a market place that is evolving quickly. Amazon Web Services enabled them to achieve this with a reduction in capital expenditure compared to traditional methods of purchasing the infrastructure in-house. Titles were rapidly deployed across all digital platforms allowing the business to focus on creation of digital content rather than the associated infrastructure deployment and management. As demand for their digital content fluctuates on a minute to minute basis the ability to upscale and downscale the number of server instances they have running is a massive commercial advantage.
Then there are start-up businesses such as Netflix who have expanded rapidly using Amazon’s Web Services. This allows them to stream video to millions of users into multiple geographies. Without the use of Cloud services it’s unlikely that they would have achieved the same level of growth in the same time frame.
News International and Netflix are clear examples of companies who understand cloud technology and don’t just understand the technology, but have it at the heart of their strategic planning. This means that CEOs, CTOs and CFOs, along with their associated company departments, are all on board with its use, and the strategic advantage it will avail the company. However, both these examples are of multinational companies with high levels of technical expertise along with management backing. Not every company can boast the same level of widespread management support for Cloud computing.
One of the problems identified by Nathan at Memset as a result of a lack of company wide support is often that finance departments will not sign off on ever changing monthly bills for cloud computing. Finance departments often want fixed costs to allow for longer term price forecasting and don’t always get that computing like energy bills fluctuate to meet demand. Sometimes this is a fight that just can’t be won and it means that infrastructure provision can be more easily achieved by building it in-house.
Ambush pricing is a term associated with users of cloud computing provisioning more resources than they need due to not understanding their requirements or the need to provision genuinely required extra computing power far exceeds their forecast. After all cloud for Infrastructure as a Service still needs to be managed with users adding their own additional server instances. If a company doesn’t have the expertise to manage their resources cloud computing can end up being more expensive than provisioning the infrastructure themselves.
However there are tools emerging on to the market such as Newvem’s Cloud Care that will help automate Cloud computing requirements making it a more attractive proposition for companies lacking the resources to manage their cloud instances cost effectively.