Throughout my career, I have rarely fallen for the hype surrounding emerging technologies. Historically, I’ve learned that it pays to take a skeptical approach and allow the technology to prove its worth on its own. I’ll pay attention, but I’m not giving “hype” points to what the tech press is currently covering.
This sometimes gets me into trouble. When I first started writing this blog almost 12 years ago, I was often asked, “Do you even like cloud computing?” It is in my nature to question things that everyone assumes to be true. In many cases, I turned out to be justifiably a little skeptical. I still believe that good technology has to prove itself for every business problem, every time we want to leverage that technology, including the cloud.
Here’s a key question that seems to have faded: is it more cost-effective to use traditional IT resources (such as storage and compute) on-premises rather than as a service from a public cloud provider?
We all know the momentum behind the cloud. According to IDC, cloud infrastructure spending grew 13.5% year over year to $21.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the previous quarter, we saw cloud infrastructure spending hit $18.6 billion after a year-over-year decline of 1.9% in the second quarter of 2021. It went down and now it’s shooting up.
With the growth and innovation evident behind public clouds, should you consider even more traditional solutions?
Take storage for example. If you don’t buy traditional data center storage, you may not have noticed the price drop of HDD (hard drives) over the past 10 years. This is the raw resource storage most companies install in their data center. At the same time, public cloud storage costs have remained relatively stable.
These are, of course, apples and pears. When you pay for public cloud storage, you also get maintenance, power, administration, usage tracking, and other services built into the price you pay per month. However, given the drop in prices for traditional on-premises storage, there may be business issues that can be solved more cost-effectively by purchasing traditional HDD storage rather than cloud storage. As the prices of HDDs continue to fall, this may become even more apparent.
Those purchasing storage and compute services should compare the charged costs of traditional on-premises technologies (that is, the cost plus all maintenance and administrative costs) with cloud services that offer the same technologies.
What is better? Like many questions related to cloud versus on-premises computing, the answer is “it depends”. It depends on how much you value agility and the ability to scale. Public cloud providers are much better at providing flexibility. If that adds tremendous value to your business, cloud computing will likely be the winner. Other things that favor the cloud include the ability to leverage other native services along with storage and computing power such as artificial intelligence, databases, serverless, and containers as a service that can be deployed with just a click of the mouse. started.
Other companies do not place such a high priority on agility. For companies with rudimentary applications for storage and compute, cloud can be overkill. Lower prices for traditional on-premises IT resources will be too appealing to ignore, even if it’s not what the cool kids are doing.
When your company needs to solve a technology problem, all kinds of solutions should be on the table: cloud and non-cloud. Since costs and capabilities change over time, the “obvious” solution with the most hype and momentum may not be the optimal solution for your specific business problems. Consider the value drivers that will provide the best ROI in the grand scheme of things. An open mind is the hallmark of a good enterprise solutions architect.
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