IaaS, Hype and Marginal Cost

Theo Schlossnagle published a great piece titled The cloud is great. Stop the hype. As a technologist, I totally agree that hype is what’s killing it. In fact, on several occasions I mentioned to my co-workers that often I get the feeling that cloud computing is already a bubble that will burst sooner rather than later.

Speaking of public IaaS vs datacenter virtualization runoff, however, I would like to point out that Theo’s points make a lot of sense for someone who already has an established well-functioning server hardware and network bandwidth operation. If you do, indeed in a lot of cases, as Theo shows in his post, IaaS cloud may be a weak alternative.

But reality however is that not all organizations fall into that category. I needed to borrow a pen (!) the other day in the office, let alone have a screwdriver to rack up all those servers and insert more RAM into them. And I am not even talking about having a network cable punchdown tool at work. If I get tasked with building out a hardware platform to support business, I’d be quite stuck.

Dealing with hardware is a complicated process. Having an established relationship with vendors to get better service, building up volume to earn better prices, etc are not things that get accomplished overnight (btw, I have never dealt a lot with hardware, you can probably tell). Having space in a rack, having enough power cords, and so on and so forth - the list goes on and on.

Bandwidth is the same. It’s not like you can go to Best Buy to pick up whatever you need to get more bandwidth for the marketing campaign you are about to do.

It’s all about marginal cost - cost of adding one more server or one more Mbps of bandwidth. If you have nothing (or it’s dysfunctional due to required approvals, or ridiculous wait times, etc), IaaS cloud very well may look like a better alternative.

I hope you all follow Theo’s advice - “Use the cloud where it makes sense.” And please - stop the hype!

Categories: cloud-computing |