Move to the cloud, they said. It’ll save you money, they said. So you did it. You brought your business into the 21st century and adopted a cloud-based strategy. But so far, the savings you anticipated haven’t materialized. And when you put pencil to paper, you find that you’re actually spending more money using the cloud.
This is the reality for many of today’s businesses. They’ve made the move to the cloud without a clear understanding of their resource consumption, and wind up paying for capacity they don’t need. So how can you be sure you’re making the most of the cloud—and saving the most money?
Is Bigger Really Better?
First, let’s take a look at some common clouding pitfalls. One mistake many companies make is to put all their eggs in one basket—that basket being a public cloud like Amazon, Google or Microsoft. IT Managers may gravitate toward these big players because their popularity offers a sense of security. On top of that, these web giants often tout themselves as the least expensive and most secure option—and they’ve got the marketing budget to make people believe it. At the 2016 Wired Business Conference, Google SVP and “Queen of Silicon Valley” Diane Greene propagated this view, stating that Google has 600 engineers focused on security alone, making it “the most secure place to be.” Meanwhile at the 2015 AWS Summit, Amazon Head of Enterprise Strategy Stephen Orban posits that in addition to being less expensive, Amazon “frees companies from the heavy lifting associated with enterprise IT.”
One Size Does Not Fit All
Despite all this, Jason Forrester, former Global Data Center Network Manager at Apple and co-founder of SnapRoute sees things differently. He argues that the “one size fits all” approach is not practical for many companies. “Most enterprise applications are highly customized for the company’s needs, which means they don’t fit neatly into the public cloud.” Forrester goes on to say that many companies need complete command and control of their infrastructure, and that “it’s hard to have that [command and control] if you can’t even tour your public cloud data center.”
Billions Lost in the Cloud
Supporting Forrester’s assertion are a number of eye-opening cloud mismanagement figures. According to Stanford researcher Dr. Jonathan Koomey, companies are wasting $62 billion per year paying for cloud capacity they don’t need. Many companies have over 80 percent more server capacity than needed on-premise, and moving this data to a large cloud provider means they wind up paying electricity, cooling, licensing and maintenance on unused cloud capacity—an average of over 35 percent.
A False Sense of Security
In addition to overspending, ComputerWorld’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nicols is quick to remind readers that many databases in the public cloud are not encrypted, and that Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other major cloud players provide Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), not Security as a Service (SaaS). “Ultimately, it’s up to you to secure your data, not your cloud provider,” warns Vaughan-Nicols. Gary Watson of Cloud Strategy backs this up. In his story What You Don’t Know About Public Cloud Might Hurt You, Watson points out that due to recent cloud outages from Amazon’s AWS S3 and Microsoft Azure, many companies are finally waking up to the idea that maintaining some control over their most critical data is a necessity.
Seeing Through the Clouds
If an IT evaluation seems to suggest the public cloud is not the best solution for your company, what other options are out there and how do they stack up?
Offering the highest level of control and compliance is Private Cloud Hosting. While a provider operates, supports and maintains your private cloud infrastructure, you get the security of running your workload on a dedicated computer; you know where your infrastructure and data is located, and you control who has access.
If you’re comfortable with virtualization, the Virtual Private Cloud is generally the most flexible and cost-effective solution. While your systems run on a shared infrastructure operated by your cloud provider, there is a certain level of segregation between organizations. Plus, like a utility such as water or electric, you only pay for what you use—when you use it.
A third option is the Hybrid Cloud, a great alternative for companies with a complex IT infrastructure. This model allows you to operate each workload where it makes the most sense, running some components onsite and others within one of several cloud services.
A final option is Colocation. With this service, you are literally renting space for servers and other computing hardware within a data center facility. If distance is not an issue (i.e., you don’t need to manually touch equipment frequently), there are many benefits to going colo, from reduced IT infrastructure costs to increased reliability and uptime.
Still thinking of going public? There’s nothing wrong with that—you just want to be sure it’s right for your company. Five factors that contribute to making the public cloud an ideal fit:
- You manage big data sets
- You utilize burst computing
- Your applications were developed specifically for the cloud
- Frequent access to data is unimportant
- Physical location of data is unimportant
Start With an IT Evaluation
There’s a lot to consider when making the move to the cloud. The right move could lift an enormous burden off your IT team and reap significant financial rewards—while a misstep could compromise security and cost you a lot in the long run. To be sure your business doesn’t become part of the “$62 billion waste,” it’s best to conduct a thorough IT evaluation to determine your cloud consumption and necessary capacity.
Ready to start today? Get a free IT evaluation with DSM’s cloud computing experts and discover which strategy is right for you.