Cloud services can save you money -- if you're careful

Determining whether using the cloud will pay off is an extremely complicated process.

By , Computerworld |  Cloud Computing

For instance, Ferguson has strict privacy requirements since many cloud services used by the university handle students' information including Social Security numbers and other personally identifying data. NKU includes privacy in its ROI calculation by subtracting value when considering a vendor that doesn't seem to grasp the university's privacy requirements, he says.

The value of various factors will vary based on the organization. Security may be more important at one business than another; the speed at which you can add more capacity might be most important for another; and liability could be critical to others. "That question of value is complicated," Domicity's Brien says.

Valuing redundancy is one factor that many businesses struggle with when transitioning to the cloud.

There are two camps that don't build in redundancy when using cloud services like IaaS, says Mark Eisenberg, who formerly worked on the Azure team at Microsoft and now is a director at IT consulting company Fino Consulting. The first are businesses that simply don't know that, for instance, when moving a workload to AWS they must balance it across regions if they want to avert the repercussions of a regional outage. AWS has been good about releasing white papers and other advice on how to properly do this, Eisenberg says.

In fact, after an outage about a year and a half ago, AWS wasn't particularly sympathetic toward customers that suffered, Eisenberg says. AWS essentially reminded customers that it recommends they build in redundancy.

The second group of customers makes a conscious business decision not to shoulder the cost involved with building in redundancy. "It depends on what they stand to lose," Eisenberg says.

The costs of building in redundancy can be daunting. Take data storage. It costs twice as much to fully replicate data. But there are also architectural decisions to consider. Having two data stores separated by a long distance introduces latency when synching the stores. For many applications, that latency might not matter. But for some types of applications it could create problems.

Cost is a factor for compute redundancy too. Businesses that can tolerate the delay involved with spinning up new cloud-based servers -- usually around five minutes -- can wait until a problem occurs before they fire up backup instances, Fino Consulting's Eisenberg says. Others may run half as many additional servers instead, because they can tolerate some latency with their apps better than they can handle a complete outage for a few minutes.

The scale issues


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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