Learn What You Can Do Today to Achieve Value in the Cloud
As cloud price wars continue and cloud pricing structures become increasingly complex, one should stop and consider what value businesses get – at either end of the cost spectrum. Sometimes a low cost option isn’t really enterprise class. Additionally, it’s easy to pay for more cloud than a company really needs if you’re not paying close attention.
Cloud providers package their services in a few different ways. Some offer really basic services, and enterprises need to pay extra for additional features such as databases and IP addresses. Other service providers bundle these and other elements into one standard offering. Whether they are packaged or ‘a la carte,’ more resources result in better application performance. But not everything is about features and resources; there are many ways to deliver value. For instance, one intangible element that is often ignored is customer support. The only thing worse than not having critical applications fully functional, is not having anyone to contact to solve the issue. In fact, customer support can play a critical role in performance.
But what happens when a provider doesn’t include elements that are absolutely critical for your organization? Or bundles resources or features you don’t need or can do in-house? In an ideal world, an enterprise should be able to pay exactly for the elements of the infrastructure the application needs at a granular scale. While that is not possible yet, there are a few steps that can be taken today to improve performance and get the best bang for your buck:
- Forecast your spending: Look at cloud like one more investment and as such, forecast your spending and return. The price wars may challenge your ability to do it but this is critical. In addition to understanding the cloud provider’s price structure (as well as guarantees), be sure to pay only for the resources and support you need- not more and not less. Once these predictions are done, try to estimate your cloud spending as accurately as possible.
- Look beyond the price tag: Yes, price is important. But what you are getting for those few dollars an hour should also be considered. Be sure to map out your business goals with the cloud provider’s offering and capabilities, and don’t neglect to consider the ability to ‘burst’ (that is, access a pool of additional resources) to deal with unforeseen spikes in usage.
- Leverage your in-house assets: While many believe that the cloud will eventually eliminate IT organizations, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The cloud allows IT to take advantage of their capabilities while outsourcing the burden of maintaining servers. Be sure to leverage your IT organization’s capabilities and allow them to be enablers of new technologies and innovation.
Assessing the value of a cloud solution can be challenging. As changes in the application architecture, service models, and pricing structures take place on a daily basis, enterprises should keep a close watch on application performance and cost. The evolution of the cloud market should bring more choices and controls as well as predictability.