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Friday, June 06, 2014

The True Cloud Cost – Business Consumer Guide

The Cloud computing market is full of spin and big words, but what are the true costs?

The cloud computing buzz is ever increasing in the meeting rooms and among the CTOs, CEOs, and other decision makers. When properly managed, cloud computing is an ever more powerful business tool that allows companies to quickly spin up infrastructure without any capital investment. However, the unmanaged cloud offers that are flooding your web browser with the banner ads all have one thing in common. That would be rock bottom, cut-throat prices and unmanaged services. So, what exactly should you expect when you buy into Google, Amazon, or Microsoft Azure cloud?

Hire multiple experts specializing in different areas of expertise.
The vast majority of cloud hosting offers that are available on the market operate on a do-it-yourself approach. You are handed the access to a virtual server and now you have to do all the work of the system administrator to configure and secure the operating system. Then you will need a DBA to install, configure, and manage your RDBMS, such as MySQL or MSSQL. However, you are not done yet. The vast majority of applications your business needs to run on this server will require some sort of application framework such as .NET or PHP. That’s another expert you need to hire to manage your server. In essence, the unmanaged cloud hosting service is like renting a room in a hotel where you are expected to fix leaky pipes, clean the bed sheets, and repair the air-conditioning yourself or pay extra service fees for a maid.

Oversubscription, A.K.A “Noisy Neighbors”
I discussed this topic in one of my previous articles. The rock bottom prices almost always mean that the physical hardware is oversubscribed. Multiple, high-volume workloads such as databases and web servers are all fighting for I/O with their neighbors. The result is poor performance, unpredictable application response time, and a slew of other issues that is very difficult to diagnose from a customer perspective. This often pushes the customer to buy a larger server than what they need in order to get desirable results. This is another hidden cost.

SLA is measured only by a ping to their core router
The service level agreements mean nothing if they are measured purely by a ping to a core network router at the host’s datacenter. What good is it for you to know that ping packet can reach their router, but not your server? They typically respond with a common catch-all phrase, “Redundancy is the customer’s responsibility”. In essence, you have to engineer the redundancy into your applications which will drive up the cost many times over what you think it should be at.
So how do you calculate the true cost of unmanaged cloud? Simple. You need to add up all the pieces together.


What is this “lost opportunity” cost you may ask? This is the cost of time and money you will pay for having to manage IT infrastructure and the technology that is not part of your core business competency. Your management team and developers will be pulled away from their productive tasks because they will be dealing with the infrastructure rather than focusing on what is important to your business.


Our approach here at IHOST since the very beginning has been geared toward managing our client’s hosting environment, applications, and services. We remove the pain from the client so that our customers can be free to focus on their core business competence. Our support engineers will provision, configure, and secure client servers, install application frameworks, and make them work with the client’s applications. Here at IHOST, it is normal for us to log in to the client’s server upon request, debug applications and provide recommendations to our clients regarding upgrades. Our major goal is to ensure that the client has stable and reliable performance of their work-load. To achieve that, we leverage years of expertise in cloud infrastructure and application development to provide comprehensive, managed service bundled with every offer. I hope you find this article useful when evaluating a potential cloud hosting provider.

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