It is not surprising that the back and forth debate over whether or not cloud computing saves money continues. The reasons – every business that deploys cloud is different and every deployment is different – and that leaves us comparing apples to oranges to pears. Rarely can you find more than one or two businesses alike enough to uncover a pattern when it comes to cost savings. Plus, there are ongoing factors such as management, optimization, and additional cloud plug-ins that further muddy the water.
But in this recent blog by research firm Forrester, the author does a solid job of ticking off the elements of this debate, including the conflict over trying to compare traditional IT investments with cloud. He then tackles some hidden costs of cloud – both SaaS and cloud platforms – that you can avoid, helping lower the cost of cloud in tangible ways.
Among his notes:
- Customization — The more you can use the SaaS solution as it was designed, the lower your costs.
- Integration — You inevitably integrate SaaS with in-house applications, data stores and other SaaS services. Best practice is to define a clear integration architecture via as few means as possible.
- Sprawl — A SaaS app you bought initially for just 15 employees sounds like a great investment and low-cost solution until you open up the app to 1,500 employees.
- Not turning things off — It’s easy to see how pay per use makes your startup costs low and elastic scaling as traffic rises easy. But don’t forget to turn off resources no longer needed.
- Storage grows, it never shrinks — Actively manage storage consumption by moving data to lower cost services when they are no longer in constant use, leveraging caching as much as possible and deleting files or copies of files if you don’t need them.
- Not activating cloud economics — Not every application is a fit with a pay-per-use platform. The best fits are those that take advantage of the pricing model through either elastic scale or transiency.