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Whatever Happened to the cheap cloud?

I’m kind of reminded of that Dilbert cartoon where he’s complaining about the size of his mailbox. And he hands someone a quarter and says, “There, double the size of my mailbox.” That’s the challenge that a lot of these services present—the [cloud] services arguably are different, and a lot of them are the same, but the perception is that they’re all easy to get and very cheap, and why the heck does it take our internal IT function so much longer and so much more money to achieve the same perceived results?

Joseph Tobolski, partner at Accenture Technology Labs

Remember how the cloud was going to be cheap? Not so fast, many vendors are now saying. (And if it allows HP to get rid of 9,000 people, “not so fast” seems a good strategy for the existing meat-cloud – I bet the Morlocks are buying monkey-wrenches in bulk to throw into the gears of the cloud) It’s about enabling business and services, not saving you money. I’ve noticed that subtle and disturbing trend of late from what I call “elder companies” (incumbent, big money making tech vendors).

Rather than enter an IT infrastructure pricing war, they’re focusing on the business growth of using cloud computing. On the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Except that CIOs and IT departments the world are pressured to spend less. In fact, expensive IT becomes a boat-anchor itself, just like any calcified brown-field enterprise IT you’re business models are shackled to.

In reality, “business/IT alignment” was largely about “why the hell am I spending so much for 50 meg inbox quotas and Intranet search that doesn’t work?” Sure, if you’re a company lucky enough to actually have IT that can be part of making money off new and tweaked business processes, you “alignment” can mean something other than cutting costs. But, for many organizations, IT is the last place you want to go to grow your organization’s revenues.

The early hype around cloud computing promised a big fat remedy to all of that:

  • It’s dirt cheap! You can stick it on a credit card ferchristsake.
  • It lets you rapidly deploy new applications.
  • It lets you completely skip over the IT (and their Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here gloom) department and DIY projects.

These are all fatuous points that my fellow cloud gas-bags and I could rotate over for weeks without so much as advancing the state of IT one micron. As I recall, Service Oriented Architectures were going to scramble IT’s collective egg while it was still inside its shell as well.

There’s absolutely benefits aside from cost savings to using cloud computing technologies – we spend just about every episode of the IT Management & Cloud podcast yammering about them. Still, if you’re in the market for anything cloud related, make sure saving money is part of the feature list, not just more IT to pay out the nose for.

Categories: Cloud, Marketing.

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