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Why Cloud Infrastructure Pricing Is Absurd 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the buzzwords-as-a-service dept.
itwbennett writes "Two reports out this week, one a new 'codex' released by 451 Research and the other an updated survey into cloud IaaS pricing from Redmonk, show just how insane cloud pricing has become. If your job requires you to read these reports, good luck. For the rest of us, Redmonk's Stephen O'Grady distilled the pricing trends down to this: 'HP offers the best compute value and instance sizes for the dollar. Google offers the best value for memory, but to get there it appears to have sacrificed compute. AWS is king in value for disk and it appears no one else is even trying to come close. Microsoft is taking the 'middle of the road,' never offering the best or worst pricing.'"
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Why Cloud Infrastructure Pricing Is Absurd

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  • by i_hate_robots (922668) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:16PM (#45682377)
    Every time I read these types of articles, I feel like implementation cost is always ignored. Sure, maybe I get some extra compute for my dollar here, or some extra memory there, but how long did it take to integrate this solution using a given vendor's APIs and services? How easily can I script scale-up and scale-down policies? How effective are those scaling policies at actually saving me resources and money? I think this is kind of an old-fashioned way of calculating infrastructure pricing - it's more complex than just pricing out servers that happen to be somewhere else. Major caveat, however - it's awfully tough to calculate some of those intangibles accurately enough to put in a whitepaper...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:25PM (#45682491)

    Seems like you can pick which vendor gives you the best value based on the use case of your application. Doesn't seem that absurd to me at all.

    Infrastructure is sort of like being a car manufacturer - a lot of investment in hardware, facilities and people; meaning the barriers to entry are quite high. Sure, I could piece together my own infrastructure in my basement, but to offer the bandwidth and up time that the big boys offer? NFW. The power (as in alternating current from my utility) alone is an issue and there's a bunch of things that add together to make a 99% up time system that isn't exactly off the shelf knowledge or technology.

    In short, they can charge that much because they can.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:31PM (#45682541) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, a 128 core blade server with tons of TB in DDR3 and a couple of SSD boxes are pretty darned cheap.

    And then your data doesn't get "stolen" or "lost".

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:36PM (#45682585) Homepage

    I liken it more to comparing cell-phone plans.

    Some features are included in one, but not the other. Some thing are add-ons. Some things aren't even available.

    Trying to get a "compare like to like" is damned near impossible, because they've carefully set them up so it's impossible to do that.

    Which means if you're trying to evaluate several of these services to figure out which is the best value for your needs, you need to do extensive fiddling to get them described in the same terms and actually be able to understand what you're seeing.

  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:37PM (#45682595) Homepage Journal
    Connecting that blade server to other Internet services and to customers and protecting your service from hardware or software failure can become a challenge. "The cloud" (someone else's computer) provides Internet connectivity, failover to a fresh instance, and managed backup.
  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:38PM (#45682613) Homepage
    The IT world suddenly seems to be under the impression that "compute" can be used as a noun. Either that or they were referring to the old '80s C64 magazine and forgot to capitalize the C.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:48PM (#45682705) Homepage Journal

    Depends on your "cloud" needs.

    Are you selling to millions of customers (lots of connections) or just maintaining internal databases for an organization (dramatically fewer).

    Not everyone is external facing. Most "needs" are local or regional.

  • by ahem (174666) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:57PM (#45682809) Homepage Journal
    "compute" in a cloud context == "compute capacity". Think of it like first and last name. If I'm "Rob Jones", and someone calls me "Rob", it doesn't turn me into a verb.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:00PM (#45682841) Homepage Journal

    There is no such thing as security - only lower risk.

    Stop hating on reality because it's not "perfect".

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:25PM (#45683117)

    Seriously, a 128 core blade server with tons of TB in DDR3 and a couple of SSD boxes are pretty darned cheap.

    And then your data doesn't get "stolen" or "lost".

    Of course, you need 2 of them for redundancy. And a router. And a firewall. And a load balancer - all duplicated for redundancy. And multiple internet connections from different vendors (you don't trust your coloc for internet connectivity, right? That's like using a cloud provider).

    And then you need to duplicate the whole thing in another datacenter for geographical redundancy.

    And hire people to manage it all.

    Suddenly it's not so cheap when all you really needed is a half dozen 2 core servers and a few warm spares in the remote datacenter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:41PM (#45683309)

    My guess is that you've never managed a data center, or specced a large enterprise application to serve high numbers of simultaneous users, if you think that cloud offers a "false economy" to users.

    Certainly, you can waste money on cloud by pushing "everything" into the cloud. But you can save shitloads of money by adopting a cloud model as well. If you simply need to expand into a cloud provider occasionally to accommodate seasonal peaks, then you can save yourself massive amounts of infrastructure cost - no need to build an 8 megawatt datacenter to house all the servers required to service your projected peak load (think: tax season, christmas shopping season, other 'peak usage' times where a business might get relatively low usage for most of the year, and then see a massive surge for a week or a month) - when a 2 MW data center serves your needs 330 days of the year.

    Cloud providers also provide agile expansion and contraction of capacity if you plan your architecture well.

    Often, cloud provider datacenters provide same-or-higher-quality security, reliability, and management than what Joe Schmo would build for his small 20 person office, as well.

    Don't discount it because YOU have not had a personal need for it. There's lots of cases where it's a sensible decision, even if it's not ALWAYS the sensible decision.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday December 13, 2013 @04:07PM (#45683607)

    Nah, they use it because managers get fat bonuses for 'cost reduction', and have moved on to another job before people discover what a disaster it was.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday December 13, 2013 @04:08PM (#45683613)

    But it didn't remain clear, or we wouldn't have this thread.

    It is clear within the subgroup that buys cloud resources, it just happens that Slashdot readership is a superset of that group.

    But instead of some taking it as a learning opportunity they are demanding that language remain fixed, which seems like a fruitless pursuit to me.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday December 13, 2013 @05:55PM (#45684635)

    Of course, you need 2 of them for redundancy. And a router. And a firewall. And a load balancer - all duplicated for redundancy. And multiple internet connections from different vendors (you don't trust your coloc for internet connectivity, right?

    Do you even know what a blade server is? Redundant blades, redundant power supplies... redundant bloody everything.

    I do, and I even know the difference between a blade chassis and a blade server. And I've seen what happens when a voltage regulator failure on a blade takes out the entire 12V rail on the blade chassis (as well as taking out the blade next to it). No one that cares about reliability is going to run a single chassis.

    Firewalling, routing, and load balancing can be handled by VMs running on said ridiculously redundant blade server.

    Don't you still need people to set up all of those services?

    Does anyone really run their border firewall on the same blade chassis that run their servers? I won't even plug non-firewalled internet traffic into the same core switches that carry the rest of our traffic.

    Most businesses don't need geographical redundancy because they don't need 100% uptime. Very few do. I'd say the vast majority of the businesses (small to medium) out there can get by without their servers for a day. They might not like it, but they won't die.

    That's what businesses say when they haven't had a week-long outage because a transformer blew a hole in the side of their colocation center. Business continuity can make-or-break a business after a disaster - and it comes very cheap with most cloud computing solutions. Shipping hourly data snapshots to a remote coloc is cheap a business can be up and runnning at the remote site with no more than an hour of lost data.

    I used to work for a company that sold cloud services. It can be good for some use cases, but not so often as people seem to think.

    Sure, cloud computing is not for everyone, but a single blade chassis is not a replacement for cloud computing.

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