Moving to the cloud isn’t for everyone. When the cloud providers first launched their cloud platforms their approach, and marketing message, was for the most part that everything should be running in the cloud. And they were pushing that message hard.
Today however we have a much friendlier, cuddlier cloud and the cloud providers understand that not everything will be running in the cloud. Hybrid configurations are not only allowed, they are encouraged (don’t get me wrong, Microsoft, Amazon, VMware, Rackspace, etc. will all be thrilled if you’ll put your entire platform in their cloud environments.
The reality is that not all workloads are a right fit for the cloud. If you are running highly sustained workloads, then the cloud probably isn’t the right solution for your environment. The systems which work best in the cloud are the ones which can be converted to use the various PaaS services not just the IaaS services. The PaaS services will usually provide a more cost effective hosting solution, especially for workloads which vary over time; for example, ramping up during the day and becoming almost idle overnight.
Even if running in a PaaS environment isn’t an option this may be cost effective for running in an IaaS environment. It all depends on how bursty the workload is that you plan on moving to the cloud.
The other metric that you need to consider before moving to the cloud, is how long is the ROI on moving to the cloud? If you just purchased new hardware for hosting your production environment in a CoLo (or your own data center) then moving to the cloud probably isn’t the best option for you, at least not right now. You need to get your monies worth from the hardware that you just invested in before you replace it with a cloud offering. If however your hardware has reached the end of its life cycle, then now is the perfect time to consider moving to the cloud, as one of the benefits of moving to the cloud is that the cloud provider takes on the hardware replacement cost every few years instead of you having to take on those costs.
When looking at cloud provider costs, remember the cloud providers are in a race to the bottom on cost. Spinning up services in the various cloud platforms is getting cheaper than ever. Especially if you can take advantage of long term contracts and pre-paid services as these can knock even more of the cost for moving to the cloud down even lower.
One big key to taking advantage of the cloud is to scale down when you don’t have a need for the load, and scale up when you do. By scaling down resources when they aren’t needed, depending on your workload you could end up running services at a lower pricepoint about 50% of the time (16 hours of peak load 5 days a week, 8 hours of low load 5 days a week, and 24 hours of low load on the weekend breaks down to 80 peak load hours and 88 low load hours) depending on your applications workload.
With these numbers in mind, suddenly moving services from on-premises to the cloud (we do recommend Microsoft Azure as we are a Gold Cloud Platform partner with Microsoft) suddenly looks a lot more attractive.
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