Gartner’s forecasters believe that by 2017 investment in cloud services will account for the majority of all new IT expenditure. IDC says next year there will be an 11 percent shift to the cloud from in-house infrastructure.
And of course dealing with cloud infrastructure does not mean dealing with just one provider. For many IT departments, Gartner points out, it will mean dealing with hundreds of cloud services. You might also have a private cloud infrastructure. There are good reasons for doing so, but economies of scale dictate you will never be able to achieve the per-server cost of a cloud computing vendor until you are running thousands of servers of your own. And, even if you are, you will be hard pressed to retain the engineering talent they can. (The best cloud computing engineers naturally want to work for the companies with the most machines.)
Given that vendors have economies of scale on their side, you should be certain they are passing on the savings. The more granular the pricing, the easier it is to see whether you are achieving the savings you should.
Whether you are dealing with one service or a hundred, working with cloud infrastructure means working with a chain. That chain is only as strong as its weakest link: network and cloud need to be thought of together. To make sure you are getting the most from any move to the cloud, you need to be certain you and your cloud providers have the network backbone to make the move efficient and effective. Having one without the other means some of your investment will be wasted.
The cloud evolved to dominance on the promise of flexibility. You should be sure your cloud providers are tailoring solutions to you, not forcing you into a one-size-fits-all solution. The best providers offer solutions that give you the power to select the environments that work best for you — not just today but scaling for your computing, security and data storage needs as they change. Your priority might be speed, while other organizations’ priorities might be security, reliability, or flexibility. You are only getting maximum value from your investment if your infrastructure is optimized to your goals.
And those goals might change, especially if you start to experience high-volume demands that you did not before. If you start to experience spikes — daily or seasonal, for instance — that you did not plan for when building a private cloud environment, you might need to setup for “bursts” to the public cloud. A cloud system requires constant monitoring so you can be sure it’s constantly delivering the most cost-effective solution to you.