TechTarget: The Cloud Doesn't Guarantee Low Costs

    May 4, 2016

    By Luis Colon

    The 2016 report on app-cloud migration concludes that monitoring and capacity management are the keys to bringing down costs.

    Even with the cost-savings and flexibility that the cloud can afford IT providers, experts are recommending that migration be approached with a healthy dose of caution. Just because an application can make a new home in the cloud doesn’t guarantee that accommodations will be any cheaper — or suggest that the app should be rehosted at all.

    Those are the findings of a recent TechTarget White Paper, “Which Apps Will Soar in the Cloud?,” which argues that using sophisticated monitoring, analysis, and optimization tools is the surest way to identify the apps that will ensure a smooth migration. The risks of the cloud are very real, they warn; but with the right capacity management plan, so are the rewards.

    The Cloud Is Like Any IT Project

    Like with any IT project, the success of an app in the cloud is commensurate with the environment’s ability to support it. That means that while some applications are wonderful candidates for cloud re-hosting, others will likely incur the same costs as any other misaligned resource. They’re best left alone in a legacy infrastructure, at least for the moment.

    Which is why the authors suggest you ask the same questions of every app: “Can it simply be rehosted in the cloud? Can it be migrated if rebuilt? Should it be replaced?” In other words, IT professionals need to be able to demonstrate in advance that lifting and shifting applications will save costs. Anything that’s heavily dependent on physical hardware — such as large Oracle databases or complicated financial services — may not perform well in an elastic, horizontally-scaling cloud environment.

    “Bursty” applications, they note, should be among your first considerations. They are apps which experience highly-irregular demand (large traffic spikes over short, often infrequent periods like holidays) and stand to make the most cost-effective use of the cloud’s automated scaling abilities. This removes the day-to-day expense of maintaining of legacy hardware, and automating capacity usage otherwise frees up IT professionals to focus on creating more value for the app.

    At the same time, they warn, this same elasticity can hide other costs. Oftentimes, organizations are unaware of bandwidth that unintentionally gets added, or run virtual configurations that aren’t optimal for their needs, which can run costs up 10 to 20 times higher than expected.

    “To remove risks,” the authors advise, “be sure to have the right tools available to provide control and transparency over your cloud inventory.” Without them, the cloud can be a cost center rather than a value-add.

    Transparency and Control are Needed for Cost-Efficiency

    While TechTarget doesn’t mention this fact explicitly, the cloud often gives underperforming applications the benefit of the doubt. To meet performance goals, cloud servers will automatically scale capacity to boost the output of a flawed app. IT managers who see these numbers assume that application response times look great and that SLAs are being met — but only because the organization is eating significant costs to prop the app up.

    TechTarget does emphasize, however, the vital importance of monitoring and resource optimization tools in keeping down cloud costs, observing that they represent the “fastest-growing segment of [the cloud performance] market.”

    Of over one thousand leading capacity management tool vendors, TeamQuest’s software ranks #1 in delivering value. Our Vityl suite of automated IT management products is quickly becoming the gold standard in keeping the costs of the cloud down, or, as the case may be, directing IT managers to another, more efficient course of action instead.

    The cloud can be an invaluable IT resource for any organization, so long as they use comprehensive, data-driven analysis to ensure that application migrations are managed most efficiently. Indeed, the cloud doesn’t guarantee low costs, but neither does any IT project in existence — not without a good amount of planning, that is.

    (Main image credit: perspecsys/flickr)

    Category: cloud-computing