Cloud services save money. Cloud services are scalable. Cloud storage meets your needs today and next year. There are a lot of good reasons to use cloud services, but there also are hidden costs to look out for.
Bandwidth charges for application migration, outbound data, over-provisioning, rogue deployments and unused storage are just some of the different hidden costs of cloud computing. Here are just a few things to know about cloud storage:
It’s important to understand bandwidth charges and how much bandwidth your operations will use before moving to the cloud. Bandwidth to move data to the cloud is usually economical; however, outbound bandwidth is often an overlooked consideration.
IT specialist Derrick Wlodarz reminds small businesses to look at their bandwidth needs and the charges for outbound bandwidth after the initial amount of bandwidth is used up. You should run the numbers and remember that comparing upfront capital expenditure for on-premises processing to monthly recurring cloud costs is not an accurate comparison.
Over-provisioning, or using more services than needed, carries hidden costs. This happens when users don’t realize they are duplicating efforts or leaving paid services unused. For example, Symantec’s survey revealed that more than 50 percent of organizations use multiple cloud storage services but utilize only 17 percent of the storage they are paying for.
A lot of over-provisioning is due to rogue deployments, or use of cloud services not sanctioned or monitored by corporate IT. Businesses need to pay attention to what they use because they can scale up or down easily and quickly. This way they only need to buy the vCPU, RAM and storage they need.
One of the biggest benefits of cloud computing is its scalability and efficiency without investing in capital expenditures for on-site equipment. However, some of that benefit is lost when virtual servers are left idle after a project is done or during user downtime overnight or on weekends. When idle servers aren’t turned off or deleted, the result is wasted ongoing cost.
Tier3 senior product manager Richard Seroter advises companies to control CPU and memory charges by scheduling tasks to automatically shut down servers during regular downtime. He also advises that businesses should set caps on usage for monitoring and control of resources and costs so they’ll know when their cloud computing needs increase.
Total Cost of Ownership
Overall, businesses should calculate the total cost of ownership for on-premise equipment and cloud operations in order to compare the prices and potential savings. Reviewing sites like Top10CloudStorage or using a TCO calculator gives the real picture of actual and hidden costs. Be sure to not only consider the monthly subscription costs for cloud services but also any other fees or charges, suggests Wlodarz. Additionally, remember to calculate replacement costs at the five year mark and usage over time. Running the numbers and considering real needs for bandwidth and usage gives an objective comparison from which to make the best choice about using cloud services.