Hidden Expenses in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing may not deliver the cost savings that everybody seems to expect. The general computing community seems to take it for granted that the driving reason for moving to a cloud is a great reduction of costs. While it is true that cloud operations can offer some reductions in hardware and head count costs, it won’t always happen and is not the greatest benefit that clouds offer.

CLOUD BENEFITS

  • Flexibility – rapid and easy provisioning and deprovisioning
  • Elasticity – the ability to scale easily with on-demand service and pay as you go services.
  • Availability – clouds can certainly provide high availability (at a price) and often will reduce geographic limitations.
  • Configuration management – using all virtual machines can make CM easier and more efficient.

CLOUD COST INCREASES

  • Increased use – the increase in flexibility and availability is liable to create more demand and higher usage with a commensurate increase in cost.
  • Cost of high availability – high uptime ratios always come with a price.
  • Outsourcing margin – if you are using infrastructure provided by somebody else, you are going to be paying more for it.
  • Security overhead – compromise inside a cloud environment is bad news, so most providers will need to have good security and that costs money.

CLOUD MYTHS

  • Reduced costs – clouds may offer a reduction in cost, but it will depend upon individual circumstances, needs and environment. In some cases, using a cloud will cost more but will also offer more in benefits.
  • Reduced downtime – clouds don’t automatically get some magic uptime solution. Clouds can be engineered for high uptime, but just like conventional data centers, it comes with a cost.
  • Efficiencies of scale – efficiences of scale will likely benefit large organizations moving to private clouds and some small groups moving to public clouds, but it depends upon the circumstances.
  • Automatic increase in security – like uptime, there is no automatic increase in security just because you’re in a cloud. Many clouds will need to have good security in order to attract clients, but it will come with a cost.

CLOUD METRICS

  • Availability
  • Performance
  • Elasticity
  • Monitoring
  • Data isolation
  • Change management
  • Vulnerability and patch management
  • Incident response

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