Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hidden costs of cloud computing

This Computerworld article on the real costs of cloud computing makes a lot of sense. Cloud providers never tell you about these when they are hyping their offerings. In my opinion, cloud computing still makes sense economically for most companies but you have to be realistic about the savings that you can actually achieve.

The costs that are hidden/unanticipated are:

1. Data transfer costs. These can be pretty significant one-off costs when you move your data to the cloud.

2.  Integrating apps from multiple vendors. More of an issue for SaaS than IaaS but a real problem if you go for multi-platform cloud providers. I'm not sure I would class this as a 'hidden' cost though - its a pretty obvious problem.

3.  Software testing costs. You can't just move software to the cloud and expect it just to work. You need to spend significant resources on a testing programme.

4.  Space and energy. Many organisations meet space and energy costs centrally and these don't show up on departmental budgets. Don't expect to get this money back when you move to the cloud - and you will have to meet these costs upfront.