Unless you’re an IT expert, trying to figure out cloud costs through popular providers AWS and Azure can be complicated. While both providers offer cloud pricing calculators on their website to configure and estimate the cost of their services, these can often add to the confusion. Below are some of the reasons many people are left scratching their head, and why a cloud pricing comparison can be so difficult.
Utilizing Different Terminology
One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to make AWS and Azure comparisons is that they use different terminology for the same thing. For example, AWS calls a server an “instance” while Azure calls it a “virtual machine.” Have a group of them? That’s “auto-scaling” according to AWS, but “scale sets” according to Azure. Even their pricing models make use of unique terminology. AWS offers "on-demand instances,” which Azure refers to as “pay as you go.”
A Variety of Variables
AWS and Azure also have a variety of instances and/or virtual machines to choose from, leading to further confusion. Some of the factors include operating systems, compute, memory and disk space. Each of these then has its own category: general purpose, compute optimized, memory optimized, disk optimized and more. Further down the rabbit hole, you’ll find different “families” (on AWS, the least expensive instance is in the “t2” family, while Azure’s most affordable are in the “A” family). Confused yet? Get this: there are also different generations within each family, and then different size processors within each generation.
Frequent Changes in Pricing Structure
When it comes to pricing, it’s a bit of a moving target as both AWS and Azure revise their pricing structure frequently to compete with one another. If one lowers their price, the other goes lower. Some experts have even described this situation as “a race to the bottom.” Of course, when the price is lowered, one wonders if quality and support suffer as a result. With pricing always in flux, it can be difficult to determine usage and cost over time. Just think: AWS has made 62 changes to their pricing structure in the 12 years they’ve been in existence. How can users plan a long-term approach to the cloud when the pricing changes so frequently?
In addition to a consistently inconsistent pricing structure, AWS and Azure charge differently for the compute time you use. For example, AWS charges by the hour, and rounds up; so, if you run an instance for 61 minutes, you’ll be charged for 2 hours. That doesn’t seem fair. Azure, on the other hand, doesn’t round up or down. Run a virtual machine for 61 minutes, get billed for 61 minutes. While that sounds more reasonable, other factors need to be taken into consideration, which is why choosing a cloud provider needs to be taken seriously, and not done on a whim.
Bundling with a Virtual Private Cloud Provider
Large public cloud providers know that not every customer is going to be well-versed in cloud computing terminology. Often, a large provider will tell a customer what they need rather than deciding with the customer—and they will often focus on upselling. This can lead to customers overpaying, or paying for something they don’t need.
To avoid the public cloud quagmire, many of today’s organizations are adopting a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) strategy. With a VPC, systems run on a shared infrastructure owned by one provider, greatly simplifying IT operations. By bundling with a reputable VPC provider, you’ll have IT experts on hand 24/7 ready to answer any questions and ease any concerns. With employees that know your business you’ll never question if you are just a number, or if you really matter to your provider. In addition, a VPC also offers heightened security, compliance, and cost control.
DSM, Florida's preferred cloud provider, offers VPC services to businesses, government, and healthcare organizations. Plus, the DSM bundling program can really save you a bundle—we’re talking 20-30%. Speak with one of our IT experts today to learn more about the benefits of VPC bundling.