Study Reveals “Cloud Hangovers” Common But That Alcohol is Tasty

  • 7 in 8 Have Had at Least One Hangover
  • Surveying the Evidence
  • Enchantment with the Supercomputer
  • Sip Slowly

7 in 8 Have Had at Least One Hangover

If you’re anything like me, you have learned the hard way that drinking a lot of cheap alcohol filled with hidden content – impurities – will result in an excruciating hangover. In the morning, the quality of the booze you consumed is immediately evident in the power with which your head is pounding and your stomach is screaming that it is unsettled. However, the night before, the drinks tasted great.

No one wants to make their customers ill, but apparently, many cloud service providers are. A poll conducted by SunGard Availability Services found that many companies delivering cloud-based services are blindsiding their clients with unexpected bills. SunGard, a multinational corporation headquartered in Pennsylvania, surveyed 150 IT decision-makers in the United Kingdom to collect the information, determining that 7 in 8 of them (87%) had encountered a hidden fee during their use of cloud technology.

“All this improved productivity and efficiency is great, but there are plenty of hidden costs and issues lurking around the corner,” explains CloudTech editor James Bourne, “and it’s not going to be solved by an aspirin and a glass of water before you go to bed.”

The companies involved were clearly enterprises that had poured vast amounts of cash into the cloud, with the average one allotting 200,000 British Pounds (~ $300,000 USD) annually to cloud systems and supporting technology. Well, that’s what they allotted.

Surveying the Evidence

Just as with the morning after a night of heavy drinking, Bourne explains that when a business has a cloud hangover, to better understand exactly what happened and what apologies they need to make, they take a look at the receipts. All sorts of strange and marvelous things can show up on these simple itemized lists of one’s physical or technological debauchery (although perhaps the latter is not quite as fun).

The SunGard survey demonstrated that across the last five years, during which time the typical respondent spent 1 million Pounds (~ $1,480,000), unexpected charges amounted to an additional 270,000 Pounds (~ $400,000), with typical costs above and beyond stated prices including:

  • Deployment administration – 44%
  • In-house app upgrading and patching – 42%
  • Integration/interoperability – 40%

It is important to keep in mind that the UK is a specific market for the cloud. In Ireland, just 54% of participants said that they had experienced additional “cloud hangover” fees, while the average excess beyond the budgeted amount (across five years) was 150,000 Pounds (~ $220,000). French businesses, meanwhile, were slammed with unforeseen expenses totaling 430,000 Pounds (~ $640,000) each.

Enchantment with the Supercomputer

Nearly one in two (45%) survey respondents from the United Kingdom reported that cloud had made their systems architecture more sophisticated, with a full seven in ten (70%) mentioning that it required substantial problem-solving as the firm transitioned to the new model.

Notably, “28% of those polled said their IT costs had not gone down overall, as an expected return on investment in adopting cloud services,” comments Bourne. Obviously that also means that 72% did experience a drop in their costs – but cost-effectiveness is considered to be one of the chief cornerstones of cloud computing.

Sungard VP Keith Tilley says that, similar to someone who keeps ordering another beer when they know they’ve had enough, often the excess charges are due to poor preparation.

Tilley argues that many businesses were enchanted by the trendiness of cloud and were also legitimately concerned by the notion that its supercomputer potential could mean companies that didn’t jump in early would lose out on competitive advantage. Although those firms were respectably wanting to keep pace with technology, says Tilley, their use of the cloud was not integrated into their overall organizational strategy. Plus, it was common for recent adopters to be unprepared for issues including integration and the true cost of operations.

Although companies will often experience improvements in adaptability, elasticity, and affordability with the technology, “the cloud needs to be deployed on a case-by-case basis in line with business goals and the nature of the application or the workload,” notes Tilley.

The public cloud model clearly does not make sense for every type of situation. As with any IT decision, migrating to this technology deserves careful consideration. Where is the data? Do you own it? Although there are questions, it’s obvious that cloud technology is working well for many businesses or it wouldn’t be so popular. However, every organization should do what it can to prevent any cloud hangovers in the future.

You can read the complete “Cloud Hangover” whitepaper here.

Sip Slowly

Like any fine wine, cloud computing should be savored. Always sip.

Set up your Flex Cloud VM for free. It’s the perfect solution for sites with highly variable traffic or that otherwise fear the unbridled pain of a cloud hangover.

By Kent Roberts

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