6 cloud computing savings you may be missing out on

Sometimes value goes beyond the price tag of hardware.

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Hidden costs?

As more organizations deploy applications in the cloud to meet demand spikes, cost is a major consideration. Often, businesses start comparing service charges and the cost of renting or buying nodes, making a list of all of the things that matter to each option: computing in the cloud, renting compute capacity for some amount of time, or adding servers to the permanent arsenal. While these contributing factors may seem obvious and the math relatively straightforward, those who have taken the leap into the cloud have often cited that crucial cost considerations are easily overlooked.

If you are faced with the financial justification of moving some computing to the cloud, be sure to look past the obvious cost-saving measurements. Sometimes value goes beyond the price tag of hardware and can only be truly understood through working in an environment without capacity and performance obstacles. Scott Jeschonek, director of cloud solutions at Avere Systems, lists a few of the top things your organization should keep in mind.

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Alternative use of space

One challenge of physical data centers is considering the footprint of IT infrastructure, particularly when you are nearing capacity and located in expensive real-estate markets where every square foot comes with a steep cost. Many think about cost per square foot when calculating space costs, but may not consider what else they could do with that same space. When faced with outgrowing your physical location, rather than moving to a larger facility, cloud could be the answer. With cloud, precious space that would typically be dedicated to your infrastructure can instead be used for employee workspace or other functions. You also can eliminate the extra costs that go with that space as well – energy, wiring, cooling and maintenance.

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Management ease

Every time infrastructure changes are made, disruptions can occur. A disruption can mean lost productivity, missed deadlines and angry customers. When looking at alternatives to increase infrastructure capacity, choosing a route that minimizes this lost time can make a quantifiable monetary difference. Leveraging a cloud bursting solution can help ensure that the required assets are easily available without figuring out how to move files back and forth or overcome bandwidth limitations, saving time and ultimately money.

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Idle time

Many of us use Uber or Lyft instead of renting a car because we only need to get from point A to point B – so why would we pay for a resource that would sit idle for much of the time? The same goes for your infrastructure. When you buy or rent infrastructure, you are often paying for it to sit idle, while it takes up space, needs to be cooled, needs power, etc. Predicting when demand will spike is not an exact science, but with cloud computing, capacity can simply be turned on and turned off as needed, resulting in significant savings.

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Use of preemptible virtual machines or spot instances

Both Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services offer low cost compute options. Although both have a catch, if you learn how to leverage them properly cloud computing can be even more affordable. Google’s Preemptible Virtual Machines can be turned off at any time by the provider and they come at about a 70% lower cost. Amazon Spot Instances are similar, selling unused compute capacity at a discount. Understanding offerings and using them whenever possible allows you to take advantage of the lower prices. The key is to ensure data can be moved to those instances quickly to maximize the savings. 

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Adaptability

Adaptability is often ignored when considering cloud compute pricing. Meeting customer needs in a timely manner can be the highest value an organization can deliver. For example, let’s say a visual effects studio needs to make a major project modification overnight. Something that would have taken more than 48 hours to render on-premises can be run overnight in the cloud and achieve both quality and scheduling objectives. In another example, research depending on a timeline for funding could speed analysis of data to complete work in a shorter timeframe. Specific industries often hit crunch times where meeting deadlines impacts important results.

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The opportunity cost of time

A customer using cloud compute services suddenly has control of a precious resource: time. Depending on your budget tolerance, jobs that could be done with 1,000 cores in a specific time can suddenly be executed in far less time with, for example, 3,000 cores. The implication is that using more cores in a flexible compute cloud allows you to schedule and execute more jobs, often simultaneously.