Cloud/IaaS: It’s all about the workload
So you think moving your server workloads to the cloud will save you money?
The cloud paradigm is no longer new to computing, but even when it was a new computing idea, it was already an old commercial idea. When we move workloads to cloud servers, we are in effect leasing servers rather than buying them.
How is that relevant?
I can buy a big screen TV at my local electronics shop, or I can lease one next door. If I lease it, initially it will seem less costly, but over time, leasing will cost more than buying. The same is true with cars: I can buy one and drive it into the ground, over 10 or 15 years, or I can lease one, and replace it with a newer model every couple of years. Leasing will definitely cost more.
So the lesson here is that cloud == leasing, on-premise == buying. Leasing costs more but has the benefits of offloading administration to someone else, plus the opportunity to replace the product or service with a newer version quite frequently. In other words, with leasing, I pay more, and I get more.
IaaS and SaaS are the same. You don’t buy the compute capacity – you lease it. You don’t buy the hosted app – you lease access to it. Someone else manages it and someone else upgrades it once in a while. It costs more in the long run, but you get those benefits.
So does this mean that IaaS is definitely more costly than purchased compute capacity? Mostly, yes. The main exception to this rule is where the workload is sporadic. If I have a VM that needs to run for just 1 hour per day, if I buy the capacity, then I’ve effectively purchased 24x as much capacity as I needed, so even the buy-vs-lease cost savings won’t help me. It’s better to lease that for just the time windows I need it.
What does this mean in practice?
IaaS is cost effective for specific workloads — those that are only run on demand, and are shut down most of the time. Training systems. Demo systems. Peak capacity web farms. POC and lab environments. Testing systems used infrequently. There are lots of workloads where – if you have the discipline to shut things off when not in use – you can save money by moving the runtime platform to the cloud.
But who has the discipline? That’s the real problem. Human users forget to shut down their VMs, so they might move to the cloud to host sporadic workloads, but then they forget to turn things off, and wind up leasing much more capacity than they really need.
This is where Hitachi ID can help. Our Privileged Access Manager can be used to “check out” a whole machine (not just a privileged account), which has the desirable side-effect of turning the machine on. The subsequent check-in, which might be manual or due to a timeout, will suspend the same VM, effectively stopping the billing until the machine is needed again.
This can amount to a huge cost savings for IaaS used to host sporadic workloads.
If your IaaS usage fits this pattern, call us — we can save you money.