There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing
We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a Cloud IaaS or SaaS provider with that of a Cloud-Enabled Hosting Provider. These types of providers are very different and while each services a particular need effectively and efficiently; by no means should their solutions be compared from a price perspective. A simple illustration is when the costs of Azure or AWS are compared with those of a true Cloud-Enabled Hosting Provider.
As defined by Gartner “cloud compute IaaS is defined as a standardized, highly automated offering, where compute resources, complemented by storage and networking capabilities, are owned by a service provider and offered to the customer on demand. The resources are scalable and elastic in near real time, and metered by use…” Leaders in the space are the familiar names such as Azure and AWS. By contrast, Cloud-Enabled Hosting brings cloudlike consumption and provisioning attributes to the traditional managed hosting market. It represents an evolution of a mature market, in which the wide variety of offerings and capabilities means vendors must be chosen with care and diligence.
When buyers compare the prices from Azure or AWS to proposals from a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider, they immediately jump to the conclusion that Azure or AWS is cheaper. Most professionals, including myself, may skip the proposal pages and jump straight to the last page which is the pricing page which results in basing a potential decision purely on pricing. Cloud-enabled managed service providers will always be higher cost but that is due to the fact they offer a more comprehensive solution. These solutions not only offers the IaaS component but also the layered services on top of that hardware to manage and monitor those assets on a 24*7 basis. This greatly increases the value provided by the Cloud-Enable Hosting Providers and thus the cost.
Today, many of these Public Cloud Providers offer more than just IaaS. In many cases, a myriad of applications are delivered in a SaaS model which offers a compelling solution to the traditional buy and build on-site philosophy. I strongly encourage IT to evaluate and embrace these solutions when appropriate as a tangible return on investment is often to be gained.
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The following questions will help determine which solutions may best align with your IT strategy and enable you to identify if IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider is the correct path to follow. Once this is determined, pricing of “apples to apples” can be requested and correctly compared.
Are you looking to get out of the hardware business or looking to outsource? If the business strategy gravitates towards getting out of buying and supporting new hardware, then an IaaS provider may be the solution. If instead the business driver is also to eliminate in-house support, management and patching of servers then a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider is the better choice.
When the need arises, does your IT team seek a turnkey solutions or do they have the time, skill and knowledge to develop, implement and manage their own solutions? If the goal is turnkey, then a Cloud-Enabled Hosting Provider will be the right choice. If you prefer to do it yourself then a Cloud Provider IaaS or SaaS solution may fit well.
So, in no way am I diminishing the Public Cloud Providers that offer compelling solutions. My point is merely that when looking for more than an IaaS or SaaS solution, because business needs require a turnkey solution with fully integrated managed services, then a Cloud-Enable Managed Hosting Provider may better address your needs. As a result, the full scope of services delivered is more comprehensive than those supplied in an IaaS solution so the cost should be evaluated in light of that difference.
By Marc Maliazia