Is the Cloud Nickel-and-Diming You?
Cloud's popularity of late is currently riding on a wave that undulates with the thrill of the financial benefits users stand to gain. Many applications grounded in cloud computing are offered a la carte and ready at a single mouse click from a user. These values of customization and accessibility have rendered cloud such a valuable hit for businesses and personal users alike.
Nevertheless, the use of cloud computing technology doesn't necessarily translate into an IT platform that slashes a business’ financial burden with a bang. Nor does using the cloud mean that users will save a penny at all. Here's something that cloud's most ardent advocates might avoid mentioning: it could potentially cost some users more money to use the cloud.
It can prove a challenge to properly assess the costs involved with cloud. Shrewd usage of the technology calls on, for example, gauging the correct number of servers required to execute a particular demand or enable a certain application. Trial and error are often part and parcel of this process. Yet every trial or error that doesn't bring about the optimum cloud configuration can be termed a definite loss of some sort — revenue, time, a lapse in strategy, or good old-fashioned IT frustration. Exorbitant demands of a cloud setup — running the servers incessantly, for example – make it likelier than an unexpected hiccup will thwart a business’ plan to economize.
As mentioned earlier, the cloud can be configured to work when you need it and downsized or frozen when you don't. This freedom of use can unfortunately lead to circumstances of inadvertent overuse of the cloud, such as when a server remains cloud-engaged by mistake when its power was no longer necessary. Cloud users may not quibble over a minor sum of revenue lost on a single server. But one could successfully argue that most cloud users employ far more than a single server; their fleet might mushroom into the hundreds. Being unwittingly nickel-and-dimed hundreds of times over would leave anyone in a state to cry someone a river.
What is truly vexing is that the user herself is the one committing the nickel-and-dime crimes. A failure to meticulously manage servers to the nth detail can lead to a financial farrago, as a woeful CEO discovered after having lost $23,000 to unattended servers.
The conversation encircling quality and price control in the cloud exceeds what I can sum up here. Suffice it to say, however, that only a good dose of nitpicking can sufficiently hold the threat of nickel-and-diming at bay.
By Jeff Norman