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Avoiding hidden costs with hybrid cloud

Avoiding hidden costs with hybrid cloud

A/NZ organisations can avoid hidden costs with hybrid cloud by achieving full transparency with cloud service providers and maintaining control over workloads.

Organisations in Australia and New Zealand are demonstrating a strong appetite for hybrid cloud delivery models, yet remain unaware of the potential for hidden costs, according to research commissioned by EMC into the state of hybrid cloud.

A survey conducted by IDG Connect on behalf of EMC saw respondents from Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) demonstrate strong interest in a hybrid configuration, but only a third (35 per cent) saw unknown hidden costs as a barrier to hybrid cloud adoption, and a mere 2 per cent saw them as the most critical obstacle to adoption.

Given the continued complexity of pricing associated with public and hybrid cloud services, which historically rely on unpredictable monthly usage bills, this suggests that most companies are either unaware of hidden costs, or lack sufficient visibility into pay-as-you-go, on-demand tariffs.

“Without this knowledge, customers cannot accurately assess total expenditure over a long-term migration to public cloud,” says Glenn Powell, general manager of cloud advisory service, Infront Systems.

“Generally the shift from capex to opex is disruptive to businesses. It’s much easier to manage costs when you make a capex acquisition – you spend a million dollars on a piece of technology and you know what you’re up for, but cloud is a consumption-based pricing model.

“There’s a big difference between signing a purchase order to make the investment up front, and being told at the end of the month how much you owe the cloud provider,” says Powell.

Develop a clear plan

Cost is a big consideration for many cloud customers, and hybrid solutions can help a business achieve major savings when leveraged correctly, yet assessing the total cost of a service as part of a migration to a public cloud provider is difficult, according to Powell.

To avoid overspending, customers must learn to appropriately govern usage of cloud services to ensure visibility across cloud usage and minimise the chance of “nasty surprises” at the end of each month. Powell advises that organisations should always have a clear plan to go to public cloud, using a decision matrix to asses which applications and services should be moved across.

“It makes economic sense for customers to maintain a private cloud infrastructure for the base workload, while leveraging public cloud during peak demand, requiring the need to scale out some of that capability,” says Powell, while discussing a planning model he refers to as “own the base, rent the peak”.

“Many applications will be more expensive in the public cloud. If you have a system that performs its daily duties readily, then that’s probably not a candidate for cloud. But if you have a ‘bursty’ application such as an end-of-month process, that one is always going to be a candidate to be cheaper in the public cloud.

“We can help to bring some discipline into your environment so you can leverage the benefits of cloud without the financial downside,” adds Powell.

Maintaining control

Access to technology that can simplify the monitoring of cloud consumption and maintaining control over workload placement can also greatly assist in managing the cost of cloud resources. Transitioning to a hybrid environment is more efficient with a centralised control plane that extends across both public and private cloud operations.

“In an enterprise hybrid cloud, you want to be able to leverage both public and private clouds but also ensure that your toolset and capability can provide a single point of control across those services,” says David Lloyd, Enterprise Hybrid Cloud expert with EMC.

“Typically a public cloud provides a different control plane for customers than what customers utilise for their private cloud, which means they have the increased complexity and risk of having different tool sets and operational procedures when managing and monitoring both on-premise private and off-premise public workloads.

“A hybrid cloud solution that brings control planes down to a single access point or shared interface for all cloud-based resources significantly simplifies cloud resource management and as such, reduces the risk and ensure standardisation across both private and public clouds.”

Utilising a single control plane also allows customers to keep on top of internal data compliance and governance, which were also key concerns to survey respondents.

The shift towards a hybrid cloud delivery model will be beneficial for A/NZ’s business landscape, as long as customers feel capable of seeking out a cost effective means of seamlessly integrating their workloads into a secure, managed service package that will support the ever-expanding set of workloads their business requires.

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