Companies considering cloud computing say it is the cost that drives them to the cloud. But when you do the math, it’s not cheap but right on. The flexibility to pay as you g(r)o(w) is what makes the total cost lower. It’s not easy however to compare, some costs are always taken out of the equation. Simply because they are too hard to predict. If you take a look at flexible computing power from Amazon EC2 for example, you need to pay for I/O on Elastic Block Storage (EBS). The base cost however is simple: € 631 per month for an 8 core 2.45 GHz machine and 7 GB memory. But this adds up to around € 852 when you add 800 GB of EBS with some I/O and snapshot storage. This gives you some idea of flexibility of cost, but it gets even bigger when you decide to shutdown your development server at night. To run the same server 5x10hrs instead of 7×24 it saves you over 50%. When you choose to have a little less flexibility by giving 1 year commitment, the price drops another 45% to as low as € 226 per month.
So far, this is just compared to buying hardware. But the EC2 server goes from noting to Windows 2008 R2 64-bit, patched up to the latest service and security level with IIS and SQL in only 4 minutes. Also, the firewall is set up and there is no mounting or whatever handling to do.
This is no science fiction, this is now!
So to get some feeling of quality I have set up this blog on my own EC2 server. Not the SP2010 requirement like I just mentioned, but a small Ubuntu image. Well, the only hickup I have spotted so far was 25 minutes on March 23. The server didn’t go down, but there was a connectivity glitch. So still over three nines (99.9%), which is not bad at all for € 23 per month!