At What Price Cloud Computing?

Michael Vizard

No matter which public cloud computing service you use, there are a lot of ongoing fees related to processor usage and network bandwidth. For a relatively stable application workload, those fees over time might cost customers more than deploying the application on premise.


Public cloud computing seems to make the most sense where the application workload is spiky. In those instances, being able to call up additional capacity is a definite plus.


According to Michael Crandell, CEO of RightScale, which provides a service for managing diverse cloud computing platforms, most recently adding support for Windows servers in addition to Linux, the public cloud can seem pretty compelling. But that depends on the nature of the application workload, plus the total cost of managing it in terms of IT staff, energy consumption and the flexibility provided by public cloud infrastructure. He concedes, though, that in many instances public cloud computing platforms can be more expensive.


For these reasons, Sean Bruton, director of security for NeoSpire, a provider of managed hosting services, sees enterprise customers increasingly leaning toward a managed hosting model, where IT infrastructure is dedicated to their applications, but the hosting company handles management and security functions.


Ultimately, what most customers are going to want is an approach that gives them the equivalent of a private cloud on top of public infrastructure.That would give them the cost benefits of a public cloud, without having to sacrifice performance or security. That amounts to allowing IT organizations to have their cloud computing cake and eat it, too. That seems to be the direction things are moving. The only real question is: Can cloud computing providers really provide those services at a lower cost than an internal IT department running its own private cloud?

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