Leymans Cloud Economics Musings

This whole cloud thing. Does it work as a sustainable financial concept, or is there a tipping point that slides us back towatds a more traditional hosting model?

Firstly, we must recognise that not all clouds are the same, have different financial models and different purposes. This post doesn’t profess to be the fountain of all knowledge on cloud financial models, rather a musing on a potential for there to be an effectual glass ceiling or not where the model of clouds tips back in favour of a more traditional hosting architecture.

Long term average costs of productivity are assisted by a scale out and long term strategy – all heading in the direction of reducing the average short term costs by applying an economy of scale model to buying, managing and maintaining an IT infrastructure. Whilst managed hosting contracts tend to be fixed term (albeit often renewed), cloud models take the longer term to benefit from these economies of scale and strategy.

Cloud architectures are also by design pre-disposed to scale. As with a lot of things, generally the bigger the architecture and the better the cost saving associated with running the hosted service. Generally, it’s accepted that there is less of an overhead associated with running a cloud infrastructure due to the nature of cloud deployments – resilient architecture, live-live locations and failure-tolerant applications. However, to some extent this is also true about a traditional hosting environment. All the elements of capital and operational expenditure are present in both types of deployment – specifically:

  • Volume purchasing (hardware / software).
  • Hosting costs (local and co-location).
  • Networking (local and commercial transit).

Other factors are found in the project costs associated with a cloud deployment that might affect the overall economy of the project. With a new platform, start-up costs would expect to be high for a fresh deployment, against significantly lower start-up costs for more traditional hosted environments that have already been deployed in a ‘cookie-cutter’ templated deployment. However, once running, the units of scale for cloud platforms decrease over time (as the infrastructure looks after itself through a self-service model and minimal administration), but the units of scale for managed hosting remains the same due to it needs to be constantly maintained by operational process.

Then real benefit to a cloud deployment comes in the operational cost (OpEx) of maintaining a cloud service. Deployed properly, OpEx of a cloud platform should be significantly less than a managed hosting environment. By using the self-service aspects of cloud operations, combined with the reduced overhead of maintaining a resilient platform designed with failure and uptime in mind – OpEx can only be lower than that of a traditional hosted environment.

Less administration required = Less manpower = Less operational cost = Lower project deliverable costs = Better profit margins!

Building A Swimming Pool In Your Datacentre

As the vSpecialist Blog has a standing remit to report on cool (forgive the pun) technology in the virtualised and enterprise spaces, here is another example of the kind of innovative technology that’s invading datacentres.

Got cooling problems? Just build a swimming pool in your datacentre, then chuck in your servers and let them cool themselves in the water. Think I’m joking? No, it’s not (quite) April Fools, but a new piece of tech. from Green Revolution Cooling.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that – but almost it is. First reaction – of course not. Second reaction – actually that would work! Simply doing a few changes to your hardware (or building new OEM hardware to use this technology) could allow this to be retro-fitted to any DC. All you need to do is:

  1. Remove the server fans (these become obsolete when the servers are under water), or fit an emulator (if the OS requires one).
  2. Seal the hard drives. Irreversable airtight encapsulation for traditional drives (not required for SSD).
  3. Replace the thermal grease for the CPU / GPU with a special foil replacement.
  4. Install the immersion rack system in the DC, and fill it with dielectric coolant.

Essentially – you now have a swimming pool in your datacentre!

Note: I’m not in any way affiliated with this company or technology – I just think it’s cool tech.

vSpecialist Little Gems – Number 1

Today’s Little Gems post recommends the following technology morsels:

  1. Windows 7 Speech Recognition. Very cool technology for using your voice to control your Windows computer OS.
  2. MouseGrid. Freeware utility to control mouse clicks on-screen using either the keypad or voice commands.
  3. No Colour Firefox extension. Sick of viewing websites with lurid or visually offensive backgrounds? Use this to remove them.

More soon!

vSpecialist Little Gems

Occasionally, I come acoss some features of an OS or technology that aren’t widely known, used or talked about that I think are really cool and worth investigating further. They could be (and often are) from all spectrums of the IT spehere – from Mac OS to Windows, from cloud platforms to hosting infrastructure, from web applications to desktop widgets.

I plan to write these up in a series of mini-posts to give you, the reader, some inspiration to look deeper into the technology you use, to discover more hidden gems or features you may not have discovered.

Little Gems published so far:

Is Your Cloud Really A Cloud?

Lots is being made about cloud technology. Cloud as a vision, cloud as a technology set, cloud as a service provider, cloud as a direction for computing. But is cloud really cloud for most of us?

Cloud providers in the adoption stage are at a crossroads for technology deployment. The direction they take at this first crossroads often dictates if they take a true road to being a cloud provider, or if they take a path towards an alternative solution that simply provides enterprise a virtualisation solution with a self-service element. [Read more...]