With nearly a quarter of respondents spending over $12 million on public cloud annually, cloud computing has become the norm in data management. Each year, more and more companies opt for cloud migration to reap various benefits, including security, scalability, automation, and cost savings. While cloud trends continue to focus on cutting-edge technology and better data safety, choosing the right cloud vendor is becoming more challenging and convoluted. How does one distinguish between different providers? Do Google Cloud benefits trump AWS’s? In this article, we’ll focus on the biggest providers of cloud services on the market, describe types of cloud computing, and try to determine how much cloud computing costs.
The cost of cloud computing is contingent on a variety of factors, including the company’s size, types of services, storage, and others. To quickly gauge the approximate price, you can use the following formula: total cloud computing costs comprise selected services multiplied by unit price and by used volume. The services you select describe the cloud vendor you choose to work with. Unit price refers to the pricing structure you negotiate with the chosen provider. Finally, volume means how much you use the cloud.
If you’re looking for a ballpark figure, the average cloud computing price is roughly $400 per month per server. By offering more flexibility and scalability, cloud migration aids businesses in cost reduction. On top of that, organizations can leverage the cloud to integrate AI and machine learning use cases as well as take advantage of cloud automation tools. Some companies can also benefit from the hybrid approach that combines the best from both worlds: cloud and traditional infrastructures.
According to Flexera research, the vast majority of cloud users prioritize cost savings and even assess performance based on cost reduction. However, it’s not as simple as adopting cloud computing and enjoying a lower bill. Organizations need to keep track of their metrics, evaluate performance, and adopt different approaches to achieve consistent cost reduction.
For example, you may adopt a feature that works for similar solutions but isn’t widely used by your audience. In this case, it’s recommended to remove or decrease this capability to lower the overall cost of cloud computing. At the same time, some popular features might come at a higher expense which drives your monthly bill. To combat this financial obstacle, you can develop solutions to deliver the same functionality without exceeding budget.
As you implement a cloud service and begin measuring your performance and comparing costs against benefits, you may need to switch to a different provider or change the usage model. In other words, cloud migration is a journey that requires continuous expert analysis and subsequent alterations and revisions.
When it comes to concrete numbers of cost savings upon adopting cloud services, the number varies from speaker to speaker. The Senior Vice President of Engineering at Oracle Cloud claims that customers save up to 50% after moving their applications to the cloud. AWS experts predict a 31% cost reduction after the implementation of their cloud tools.
The discrepancy is wide and the lack of a clear answer is explainable. In reality, companies need to adjust workloads, try out different features, and consistently measure their metrics to create a cost-effective cloud strategy. To ensure the development and adoption of an efficient approach to cloud usage, many businesses opt for collaborating with a reliable IT partner.
Mainly, there are three types of cloud computing services, varying in the amount of support you can gain from the vendor. However, the more you delegate to the cloud provider, the more control you lose. Depending on your objectives and business model, you can choose between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Keep in mind that the cloud computing pricing structure also fluctuates from one type to another.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a pay-to-go service that offers organizations access to basic infrastructure capabilities, including virtualization, storage, servers, and networking. While you remain in charge of the operating systems, data, operations, and runtime, your cloud provider handles server configuration and maintenance along with memory storage and networking.
The IaaS option is ideal for smaller companies that would like to avoid investing in complex hardware and software. Another use case is retaining control over your applications and only purchasing limited functions you need. Providing the same capabilities as traditional data centers, IaaS vendors take over management and maintenance, which makes this option suitable for beginners.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a solution that covers all the IaaS functions along with middleware, runtime, and operating systems. This cloud service option allows users to develop, run, and manage applications without creating and maintaining the infrastructure. PaaS customers can build applications without worrying about the environment and software updates.
Designed with developers in mind, PaaS provides a ready-to-use platform to create custom applications. This service can also optimize and accelerate workflows and allows coders to build apps faster. On top of that, you can use built-in components to reduce the amount of coding and deliver high-performance solutions.
Software as a service (SaaS) is the most comprehensive suite that delegates the entirety of application management to the cloud provider—everything from functions that IaaS and PaaS cover to application and data maintenance. This includes software updates, security patches, bug fixes, and any other activities associated with application maintenance.
Businesses that don’t have the in-house resources to deal with application support and software updates can greatly benefit from adopting the SaaS option. Additionally, this form of cloud usage is perfect for short-term projects that can benefit from affordable assistance.
Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) or On-demand model is a cloud computing cost model that charges companies based on how many resources they have actually used in one month. This option is a great starting point for newcomers albeit tends to generate higher bills compared to other models. Pay-As-You-Go is also a helpful approach for businesses with unpredictable usage rates.
Reserved Instances is an ideal pricing model for companies with unpredictable workloads. The client signs a one- to three-year agreement to reserve resources for the duration of the contract. Reserving a minimum capacity needed, clients can benefit from a discounted price. Assuming you don’t experience sudden traffic spikes, this model will lower your cloud computing price from 50% to 75% compared to the on-demand option.
Although not the most reliable, this option can potentially save the most money. Spot Instances operate through a bidding process—customers determine the maximum price they are willing to pay for the services and the provider goes with the highest bidder. While this approach may save you up to 90% compared to the Pay-As-You-Go model, it requires continuous bidding. Besides, there’s a chance that you will not win the bid and the discounted price will go to someone else. Spot Instances is a great solution for businesses with non-critical workloads.
The Subscription model offers several tiers, each with its own set of features. Once you pay a monthly fee for a certain package deal, you will gain access to the included resources for one month. Later, you renew your subscription and continue using the services. This approach works for organizations with a high level of predictability when it comes to usage rates and workloads.
The hybrid model refers to combining two or more strategies. Many businesses decide to couple Reserved Instances with Pay-As-You-Go. This way, they benefit from discounted pricing of the Reserved Instances approach while combating traffic spikes with the PAYG model.
Outside of purchased services and tiers, there are other costs that might come up when executing cloud migration. From the costs of data transfer and infrastructure to licensing and software, moving data to the cloud does come at a price.
It’s true that cloud services are usually more reliable and stable compared to the traditional setup. However, you are relying on a third party, and outages can happen to anyone. For example, Amazon experienced a blackout in 2017 which disrupted numerous businesses. Take this into account when considering whether you should migrate to the cloud.
Companies that have legacy parts should keep in mind that their systems may not be suitable for cloud migration. They require changes in the code to make them cloud-ready. Consider working with a trustworthy IT partner to prepare your systems for the change.
Businesses choose to migrate to achieve scalability and seamlessly grow without worrying about their infrastructure capabilities. However, being able to easily scale up and request additional computing power may lead to sudden cost increases. It’s vital to develop an effective strategy to keep your expenses under control.
Despite some challenges, cloud services offer a slew of advantages. From improved flexibility and cost savings to upgraded cloud data security, you will certainly gain a lot. Ultimately, companies have a chance to delegate management and maintenance of their infrastructure to the field experts while concentrating on their core business processes. Here are more benefits of migrating to the cloud:
Among the big players in the cloud market are AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and Oracle. In this section, we will discuss their pricing models and determine which approaches are suitable for you.
AWS is a well-established cloud provider and a leader in the industry with a 32% market share The company offers three main solutions to cover cloud computing needs:
Second-largest cloud vendor after AWS, Azure Cloud is a service provider of choice for 95% of Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, Walmart, Toyota, and others. Let’s take a look at how the price of cloud computing is structured at Azure:
Although in the AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP comparison Google Cloud is behind Azure and AWS in market share at 10%, it’s showing faster growth compared to its competitors. While AWS’s growth rate is 33% and Azure’s is 40%, Google’s metrics reached 45%. Here are the core cloud computing pricing models of the Google Cloud platform:
Launched in 2006, IBM Cloud is another prominent provider that targets mid-sized and large corporations. Here are the company’s three main propositions:
Finally, Oracle Cloud wraps up the list of cloud market leaders. A relatively new solution launched in 2015, it’s currently behind the aforementioned technologies in terms of popularity—yet Oracle has a lot to offer. Let’s examine Oracle’s main cloud computing cost models:
Finally, how does one determine the price of cloud computing? Let’s investigate the main pricing factors as well as hidden costs that can increase your cloud bill.
Before considering any cloud services, it’s imperative to closely examine your current infrastructure condition. During the audit, analyze how well your systems perform and which parts drive up the overall bill. Let’s break down the costs into two main elements:
To predict the cost of cloud computing for your enterprise, you can use one of the available calculators that all of the aforementioned companies offer. However, keep in mind that this tool will only give you an estimation. There are several factors that will influence the cloud computing price:
Networking costs consist of expenses driven by data transfer, bandwidth usage, and systems that tether services and locations within the infrastructure. Basically, the more data you transfer and bandwidth you consume, the higher your bill will be at the end of the month. That’s why you should look into special discounts and offers that provide lower prices for businesses that operate with large volume.
As the name suggests, storage costs are expenses determined by how much data needs to be stored as well as the type of data storage selected. Different pricing models are provided for various types of storage systems such as file, block, object, elastic, etc. When choosing a vendor, take into consideration what data you need to deposit and in which volumes to identify the best strategy.
Cloud computing costs associated with physical infrastructure are referred to as hardware costs. These encompass servers, hard drives, and other physical equipment. Here, due to economy of scale, the larger the provider, the lower the expenses.
Similarly, all the aforementioned physical and virtual systems require continuous maintenance. Costs connected with auditing and fixing hardware, software, and infrastructure are called maintenance expenses. Depending on the agreement, some cloud providers charge their customers for support services.
Aside from common factors that affect cloud computing costs, you may see some extra fees in your monthly bill. For example, some vendors have exit fees that come into place when a customer terminates the contract. Your location may also become a determinant as vendors offer different rates based on the region and availability zone. Finally, most cloud companies set limitations on data and storage in their pricing options. If you exceed the limit, you will incur additional costs.
Overall, the cost of cloud computing is contingent on a range of factors, both internal and external. Before locking in a vendor and signing an agreement, make sure you understand the implications and expenses associated with it. If you can use some assistance in this complex process, reach out to the NIX team. We are a team of software development professionals, well-versed in data migration and legacy modernization. Our years-long expertise makes us an ideal partner to rely on this rocky and lengthy journey.
Alina is a business development manager with a wide range of managerial experience in different areas. And now, for more than five years, she has been helping businesses realize challenging projects on the edge of up-to-date technology with NIX.
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