There are more and more companies using, or seriously considering, cloud based services. It's a way to reduce some of the infrastructure costs, especially the initial investment costs, for many applications that have highly variable workloads. There's also the tremendous amount of media attention being given to the subject of cloud services, which exerts pressure on all decision makers to consider moving to a cloud service.
However are you really saving money with the cloud? The cost of the hardware and software usually ends up being a small part of the total cost of an application. Renting either hardware or software is an ongoing expense. It can have tax implications, and the calculations can be complex. It is important to analyze the costs and track what is being spent over time, as well as analyzing the amount of resources you use to determine if this is a good business decision.
Apparently quite a few people realize this as there are a whole slew of companies that are willing to help you track, monitor and even analyze your costs. This article lists a number of them, some that even look to save you money where possible. That's good because the calculators from some of the cloud vendors are extremely confusing. Not only that, but they're relatively static calculators, whose values may change over time.
Getting at your cloud data, and building a calculator of sorts is something most of us could do, but would we want to maintain it? Do you want to enhance it over time to work with the changing nature of the cloud? I'd think these services are worth using if you plan to use the cloud, especially those that analyze usage and suggest places to cut costs. There are lots of good and bad things about the cloud, but one thing is certain: you need to make sure someone is tracking your usage and eliminating unused systems. Otherwise you might not find yourself with any cost savings at all.
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