Monday, January 18, 2010

Cloud Computing begins but beware of the bill!

Per Gartner and other research organizations, customers have gotten familiar to the Adoption curve slide as part of state of the union for a technology segment. Cloud Computing in its various flavors (SaaS, IaaS and PaaS) has hit main street or in Gartner parlance is with the Early Adopters. Organizations that adopted SaaS (i.e., Workday) realized the financial benefits of the pay per subscriber model. Now as the space has rolled out Infrastructure and Platform services, customers are dipping their toe in the water or jumping right in. Some teams are placing functions in the cloud to take advantage of the elasticity features due to the processing volume necessary. Others are rapidly developing applications to fill voids in their technology stack sometimes by the Sales organization or other non-traditional technology. This wild-west period eventually settles down when the rest of the marketplace catches up and Cloud becomes the standard technology medium.

The piece that is daunting right now is the cost that can creep up on you if you are not careful. With billing being an aggregation of the data stored, data shuttled, number of instances, number of connections or other metrics, it gets easy to forget the costs especially if elasticity is enabled in the environment. Similar to mobile data plans, triple play packages, the end of the month bill can be staggering. For now, make sure you not only architect a solution but also the cost models associated with that solution. A good rule of thumb is when developing and testing within the cloud, the costs are quite reasonable. If developing a large scale application that will be running 24x7, be clear on the aggregate costs and talk with the vendor about pricing flexibility.

The following examples provide details from two popular vendors on pricing:

Microsoft Azure Pricing

Amazon Web Services Pricing

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