The cloud is a boon for companies with small budgets and small (or no) IT staff. It is seen as a way to keep costs in check.
But as so often happens with budgets, there are expenditures that you plan for, and then there are the costs that seem to appear out of nowhere.
The cloud, of course, is not immune to cost overruns. According to Carl Fransen with CTECH in Calgary, Alberta, cloud-related costs seem to be nice at the start but can add up after a while. “Many cloud services charge extra for exceeded bandwidth, extra processor power, etc.,” he said. “A lot of these variable costs are hard to predict and budget for.”
So how can companies with a limited IT budget make sure they keep their cloud computing costs well contained?
The first thing is to know where these hidden costs occur. One of the most common ways to spend (and waste) extra money is in per usage fees, whether for storage, SQL storage or number of servers.
Another area where IT departments fail to plan in their budget is for software mistakes. “Not all software is ready for the cloud,” Fransen pointed out. “The majority of the software was written to be installed on desktops and servers. Some of the applications will perform very poorly or not at all in the cloud environment. The software may have to be rewritten to even to work in the cloud.”
There are a few additional things that IT managers can do to make sure costs are kept in check, such as:
* Contact all your software vendors and ensure they are cloud compliant.
* Do a test and verify that everything works the way you want it to.
* Keep a close eye on your usage meter.
Or, if in doubt about the hidden costs, just ask. As Cagen said, “In my experience, it’s always best to ask, “˜What’s not included?'”