Ease of implementing a solution, the ability to seamlessly scale, and having someone else responsible for system management, including backups, are but a few of the key benefits of cloud computing, ones that are fuelling its adoption by organizations. Research shows that firms of all makes and sizes are incorporating these SaaS-type offerings into their information technology (IT) mix. But for smaller organizations, those with less than a hundred employees, the appeal of cloud computing solutions is heightened due to the very limited IT staff they possess, leaving them in an especially vulnerable position.
A recent example clearly demonstrates the unfortunate position a smaller company may find themselves in. In this instance, a firm contracted with a major cloud solution provider, and as part of their agreement, were allotted 1 GB of storage for application data. The company’s business grew, and with it, their reliance on the cloud offering and the volume of application data. Suddenly their provider announced that the firm had exceeded their storage quota by almost 140% (now using 2.38 GB) and wanted to extract additional fees associated with the expanded storage requirements. Although cloud computing’s pricing is based on usage, it is curious that the overage was only detected when it became substantially large.
The idea of paying more for using more is common in the cloud world, but it was the actual pricing that sent a shock wave through this organization. To become compliant, the provider offered an additional 1.5 GB of storage for $3,000 USD annually. It’s when you compare this to the rates offered by other firms that you begin to question the integrity of their price. For example, Amazon S3 offers 1 GB of standard storage for $.14/month or an annual fee of $1.68. Although Amazon is at the low end of the online storage price spectrum, there are many vendors closer in price to Amazon than to the 1 GB of storage for $3,000 per year. What further undercuts this cloud provider’s price, however, is the fact they recently launched a new, add-on file storage service, offering existing customers 30 GB for free.
The crux of the issue is that cloud solutions don’t provide the option of storing your data locally, in your own building, or with another online storage provider. Therefore, you are locked-in. Furthermore, your reliance on your provider’s solution combined with the amount of data you’ve accumulated makes it extremely difficult to migrate to a competitive solution , leaving you at the mercy of your existing provider. Cloud computing is tantalizingly attractive, much of it due to how easy it is to adopt—it’s the getting out that is far more problematic.
Ryck Marciniak (guest blogger)