|By Lori MacVittie||
|May 25, 2011 01:30 PM EDT||
Turns out that ‘unassailable’ economic argument for public cloud computing is very assailable
The economic arguments are unassailable. Economies of scale make cloud computing more cost effective than running their own servers for all but the largest organisations. Cloud computing is also a perfect fit for the smart mobile devices that are eating into PC and laptop market. -- Tim Anderson, “Let the Cloud Developer Wars Begin”
Ah, Tim. The arguments are not unassailable and, in fact, it appears you might be guilty of having tunnel vision – seeing only the list price and forgetting to factor in the associated costs that make public cloud computing not so economically attractive under many situations. Yes, on a per hour basis, per CPU cycle, per byte of RAM, public cloud computing is almost certainly cheaper than any other option. But that doesn’t mean that arguments for cloud computing (which is much more than just cheap compute resources) are economically unassailable. Ignoring for a moment that it isn’t as clear cut as basing a deployment strategy purely on costs, the variability in bandwidth and storage costs along with other factors that generate both hard and soft costs associated with applications must be considered .
MACRO versus MICRO ECONOMICS
The economic arguments for cloud computing almost always boil down to the competing views of micro versus macro economics. Those in favor of public cloud computing are micro-economic enthusiasts, narrowing in on the cost per cycle or hour of a given resource. But micro-economics don’t work for an application because an application is not an island of functionality; it’s an integrated, dependent component that is part of a larger, macro-economic environment in which other factors impact total costs.
The lack of control over resources in external environments can be problematic for IT organizations seeking to leverage cheaper, commodity resources in public cloud environments. Failing to impose constraints on auto-scaling – as well as defining processes for de-scaling – and the inability to track and manage developer instances launched and left running are certainly two of the more common causes of “cloud sprawl.” Such scenarios can certainly lead to spiraling costs that, while not technically the fault of cloud computing or providers, may engender enough concern in enterprise IT to keep from pushing the “launch” button.
The touted cost savings associated with cloud services didn't pan out for Ernie Neuman, not because the savings weren't real, but because the use of the service got out of hand.
When he worked in IT for the Cole & Weber advertising firm in Seattle two and a half years ago, Neuman enlisted cloud services from a provider called Tier3, but had to bail because the costs quickly overran the budget, a victim of what he calls cloud sprawl - the uncontrolled growth of virtual servers as developers set them up at will, then abandoned them to work on other servers without shutting down the servers they no longer need.
Whereas he expected the developers to use up to 25 virtual servers, the actual number hit 70 or so. "The bills were out of control compared with what the business planned to spend," he says.
But these are not the only causes of cost overruns in public cloud computing environments and, in fact, uncontrolled provisioning whether due to auto-scaling or developers forgetfulness is not peculiar to public cloud but rather can be a problem in private cloud computing implementations as well. Without the proper processes and policies – and the right infrastructure and systems to enforce them – cloud sprawl will certainly impact especially those large enterprises for whom private cloud is becoming so attractive an option.
While it’s vastly more difficult to implement the proper processes and procedures automatically in public as opposed to private cloud computing environments because of the lack of maturity in infrastructure services in the public arena, there are other, hotter issues in public cloud that will just as quickly burn up an IT or business budget if not recognized and addressed before deployment. And it’s this that cloud computing cannot necessarily address even by offering infrastructure services, which makes private cloud all the more attractive.
Though not quite technically accurate, we’ll use traffic sprawl to describe increasing amounts of unrelated traffic a cloud-deployed application must process. It’s the extra traffic – the malicious attacks and the leftovers from the last application that occupied an IP address – that the application must field and ultimately reject. This traffic is nothing less than a money pit, burning up CPU cycles and RAM that translate directly into dollars for customers. Every request an application handles – good or bad – costs money.
The traditional answer to preventing the unnecessary consumption of resources on servers due to malicious or unwanted traffic is a web application firewall (WAF) and basic firewalling services. Both do, in fact, prevent that traffic from consuming resources on the server because they reject it, thereby preventing it from ever being seen by the application. So far so good. But in a public cloud computing environment you’re going to have to pay for the resources the services consumed, too. In other words, you’re paying per hour to process illegitimate and unwanted traffic no matter what. Even if IaaS providers were to offer WAF and more firewall services, you’re going to pay for that and all the unwanted, malicious traffic that comes your way will cost you, burning up your budget faster than you can say “technological money pit.”
This is not to say that both types of firewall services are not a good idea in a public cloud environment; they are a valuable resource regardless and should be part and parcel of any dynamic infrastructure. But it is true that in a public cloud environment they address only security issues, and are unlikely to redress cost overruns but instead may help you further along the path to budget burnout.
HYBRID WILL DOMINATE CLOUD COMPUTING
I’ve made the statement before, I’ll make it again: hybrid models will dominate cloud computing in general due primarily to issues around control. Control over processes, over budgets, and over services. The inability to effectively control traffic at the network layer imposes higher processing and server consumption rates in public environments than in private, controlled environments even when public resources are leveraged in the private environment through hybrid architectures enabled by virtual private cloud computing technologies. Traffic sprawl initiated because of shared IP addresses in public cloud computing environments alone is simply not a factor in private and even hybrid style architectures where public resources are never exposed via a publicly accessible IP address. Malicious traffic is never processed by applications and servers in a well-secured and architected private environment because firewalls and application firewalls screen out such traffic and prevent them from unnecessarily increasing compute and network resource consumption, thereby expanding the capacity of existing resources. The costs of such technology and controls are shared across the organization and are fixed, leading to better forecasting in budgeting and planning and eliminating the concern that such essential services are not the cause of a budget overrun.
Control over provisioning of resources in private environments is more easily achieved through existing and emerging technology, while public cloud computing environments still struggle to offer even the most rudimentary of data center infrastructure services. Without the ability to apply enterprise-class controls and limits on public cloud computing resources, organizations are likely to find that the macro-economic costs of cloud end up negating the benefits initially realized by cheap, easy to provision resources. A clear strategy with defined boundaries and processes – both technical and people related – must be defined before making the leap lest sprawl overrun budgets and eliminate the micro-economic benefits that could be realized by public cloud computing.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 372
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 550
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 29, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 458
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 483
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 593
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 421
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 500
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 436
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
Nov. 28, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 433
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Nov. 28, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 479
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 341
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 555
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 235
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 409
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:15 AM EST Reads: 417
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 517
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 28, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 316
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Nov. 28, 2015 10:15 AM EST Reads: 264
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Nov. 28, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 404
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 28, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 199