One of the things that attract customers most to cloud computing is the prospect of accessing inexpensive server resources.
But as good as the deals on server horsepower are, the companies that provide cloud computing platforms need to make money. And one of the ways they make up for the low-cost access to servers is by charging a premium for the network bandwidth required to access those servers.
Carl Meadows, senior product manager for cloud services for The Planet, a hosting services provider, says IT organizations need to take a hard look at what kind of workloads they want to move into the cloud before signing up with any provider. If the data is relatively static, cloud computing can be an excellent deal just about anywhere. But if it's a production application or a website that is going to accessed regularly or require huge amounts of bandwidth to update, then customers need to pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the cloud computing offer.
For example, many cloud service providers pay as little as three cents a gigabyte for network bandwidth. But they will charge customers up to 22 to 25 cents per gigabyte of network bandwidth used. Planet gives customers one terabyte of bandwidth as part of the core service. Meadows says The Planet bundles network bandwidth into the pricing of its cloud computing services, largely because most of the customers it services are running production applications such as websites.
He says it's becoming a lot more common for customers to become disenchanted with cloud computing services once they discover how much of their supposed server savings is being eaten up by charges for network bandwidth.