The more you use something and rely on it, the more expensive it becomes. Well, Cloud is no different. So when your organisation relies on Cloud, when it underpins your very business model, what does Cloud actually cost you and could you better manage the underlying costs of Cloud?
When your tech team started using public Cloud, perhaps testing Azure or AWS, the cost was probably insignificant. In fact, it was probably free. But what do you spend on Cloud now? If Cloud is critical to your business and it’s evolved from simply a technology to a strategic business asset, then the cost implications will also have evolved.
At this point, the specific tech details become less important, replaced by business imperatives like getting the service to customers and users reliably, at scale, and profitably. This is where Cloud costs issues and workloads emerge, as decision makers ask: ‘Can this technology solution be delivered economically?’
An article last year by Peter Wayner, in InfoWorld: 7 Dark Secrets of Cloud Costs, was interesting as it explored some of the ‘tech-type’ pricing costs associated with running Cloud, suggesting: ‘Is there anything more seductive than Cloud machine price lists? There aren’t many of us old enough to remember paying a penny for a piece of candy, but Cloud users enjoy prices that are even smaller.’ But in our experience at Flexiion MSP, talking to our customers and other decision makers, it’s the more boring, housekeeping issues, that if overlooked, quickly mount up and put pressure on the ongoing business viability of Cloud.
Running Cloud is Not A Part-Time Responsibility
So if your business is delivering services from the Cloud, you’ll recognise that scaling them so they are ‘always on’ and your customers can rely on them, is not a part-time responsibility. Cloud infrastructure doesn’t look after itself. It needs time and attention, and the right expertise and management processes. How often does this responsibility land on your in-house dev teams, who are already overstretched, working on technology with other imperatives – as a result service quality suffers!
There are two, key workstreams that are needed for Cloud infrastructure to be adequately resilient and fit for the job of delivering service from software. First, is the routine of patches, updates, security maintenance, and all the other activities needed to keep the systems in good shape. These tasks make up a somewhat thankless, general routine that often gets overlooked by teams with other more pressing deadlines to meet.
Second, is the live monitoring of service and performance needed to spot emerging problems and the outages that always happen eventually, and bring down the service expected by customers and users. This active vigilance will aim to be as proactive as possible, to identify issues and trigger early fixes that bring the services back up and running as fast as possible, to keep disruption to a minimum.
So you can either continue to burden your skilled dev teams with this ongoing responsibility or you can hire other people with the necessary expertise. Both options have business implications that your organisation may want to avoid.
Cloud Skills and Support
The skills sets and management processes to deliver housekeeping and rapid problem spot and fix are needed to underpin service quality and the expectations customers and others have, often 24×7.
While these add to the costs of delivering service from the Cloud, specialist support firms can provide what’s needed round the clock at lower and more manageable cost than is possible for many through adding teams to the payroll.
Flexiion is one of the new breed of independent Cloud support firms that specialises in the business of managing and supporting Cloud solutions in an operational and scaling environment. We can take responsibility for routine, day-to-day Cloud maintenance, freeing your in-house tech teams to focus on higher-value, customer-facing priorities.
Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion
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