Saturday, 27 December 2008

Cloud...the real cost

Well I broke my promise and have added another blog post about cloud computing before the end of 2008.

I stumbled across this great post on simple economics of utilising for a period of 24x7x365 a conventional hosted server environment against the cost of utilising cloud compute services i.e. Amazon EC2. This is something I was going to look at doing myself but I outsourced it for Free as Chris Fleck at Citrix has done it for me so I will just add half intelligent comments

Cloud compute has a great selling point at the moment for lower end SMB's and startups who cannot afford to implement server and backup infrastructure due to a lack of capital fund or investment money. In 2008 I attended a Cloudcamp event which was full of buzzing web development and software startups all utilising the Amazon and other cloud offerings to get there show on the road.

When looking into the key technology enabler for Cloud computing with players who were sponsoring the event, for cloud to be so turnkey and cost effective the simple reason is Server virtualisation. Virtualisation is allowing the the Cloud providers to partition and provide what could be high VM to Server ratios (i guess a minimum of 10:1) to host multiple server instances which are predominantly Linux based at an exceptionally cheaper cost base than implementing physical single instance boxes for each customer, being able to utilise a virtualisation layer also includes the per unit chargeback facility which are done by CPU cycle usage per hour of each server instance.

Within the Citrix comparative report they haven't mentioned the use of Virtualisation in both the On premise and Co-lo solution to slash further cost. The cloud already utilises Virtualisation, it has to to keep the cost model down so It does baffle me as Citrix are a contributor to the virtualisation market and they are not even piping there own product within such a report!

I'm not bashing citrix, this is a good report (bar the sales pitches) but what really needs to be looked at before people start running into building an Infrastructure within the cloud world is to ensure that the future growth and planning of that hosted environment is compared and planned effectively against the future business need. If the small start ups and SMB's start becoming heavily reliant upon the cloud due to the short term apparent cost savings noticed when they started up they need to ensure that they either have a solid contingency for investment when the tipping point of the businesses requirements are in effect more cheaper being done by purchasing Infrastructure on capital or lease via an alternative solution i.e. hosting on premise.

It will be quite interesting to see how the Datacenter industry and the Virtualisation players certainly start to market there core products against Cloud computing alternatives, up until 2008 they were very much in war against themselves and the physical server world (which to be fair was easy).


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