Consistency, agility and cost:  the calculus of cloud

Consistency, agility and cost: the calculus of cloud

J.R. Storment knows that many organizations are moving from data centers to the cloud in an effort to save money, but he believes there are other benefits.

“A lot of people move to cloud for cost savings, but I think the real power comes from agility and getting the resources when you need right away,” Storment, Cloudability's co-founder and chief customer officer, said.

Storment and his fellow panelists at last week's Amazon Web Services Symposium in Washington, D.C., discussed both the challenges and benefits that come with switching to the cloud.

The money matters too, of course.  Mureed Nazir, the CIO, chief technology officer and principal cloud architect of A&T Systems, noted that cloud can allow organizations to put precious financial resources elsewhere.

“What we are seeing with agencies moving to the cloud is that they're now able to focus more on spending money on what they’re actually using today," he said, "as opposed to spending money putting infrastructure together based on the worst-case scenarios.”

Cyrrus Analytics founder Richard Beutel, however, cautioned that this same operating-expense aspect of cloud services can create problems in government.

“The mismatch between how the appropriations process operates and the evolution and development of technology is so glaring that I think this is one of the biggest obstacles and hurdles for the government to acquire cloud technology,” said Beutel, who until recently was a senior congressional staffer focused on federal IT issues.

“We need a broader, more flexible financing mechanism," he argued.  "For example, the use of revolving capital and franchise fee funds is something the government does use in fairly narrow situations that would ... give the government more flexibility.”

And Storment noted that, while making the switch can be very beneficial, it can’t be done overnight -- and it’s not nearly as black-and-white as setting up a data center is.

“The issue when it comes to data centers is companies had very controlled spending processes when it came to buying data centers,” Storment said. "Just a few people would essentially write a check and you knew what you were going to spend."

“In the cloud world, it's set up where hundreds or thousands of people in an organization are making their own decisions about what your bill is going to be," he said. "So they have agility and they can get what they need, but it’s really hard to manage where dollars are going.”

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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