The Cloud Isn’t Cheap – Part four or five I think

Recently, I wrote ConsultoBabble Report for Cloud Deployment of wherein I pointed out that Cloud Computing is not cheap. It’s cheap in terms of CapEx, but expensive as OpEx. Over a five year ROI, I’ve never managed to make a significant corporate project come out cheaper with cloud services of any sort. It’s always cheaper to insource computer resources. 

A few people attempted to make the point that I didn’t understand, or didn’t know something or other.

Marco Arment runs Instapaper as a tidy online business. Saw these tweets today:


Screenshot of ScreenFloat



This is just another data point on the graph  that cloud computing is too expensive for enterprises. Although attractive in terms of CapEx, someone has to pay for all extra software development that makes those cloud stacks possible. And resource costs are much higher the purchasing the equipment outright. 

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About Greg Ferro

Greg Ferro is a Network Engineer/Architect, mostly focussed on Data Centre, Security Infrastructure, and recently Virtualization. He has over 20 years in IT, in wide range of employers working as a freelance consultant including Finance, Service Providers and Online Companies. He is CCIE#6920 and has a few ideas about the world, but not enough to really count.

He is a host on the Packet Pushers Podcast, blogger at and on Twitter @etherealmind and Google Plus

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  • boece

    I am wondering if Instapaper’s cost listed above includes OpEx – i.e., the initial as well as the ongoing cost of “manually implementing” – or just the rental cost of the dedicated hardware.  Still an obvious win for bare iron in this use case, but it might make the point more salient if it were known if OpEx costs were bundled in this monthly figure.  

  • Ross Judson

    AWS CloudSearch creates memory-based indexes. That’s its design. It means that if you’ve got a lot of large indexes, you’re scaling out on additional ec2 instances to hold additional index information. It’s not backed by disk, like a Lucene or SOLR index can be.

    I don’t think this says too much about cloud infrastructure generally. I think the quoted cost says a great deal about CloudSearch’s architecture and pricing model.

  • CliffElam

    Well, yeah.  It makes a ton of sense if you are all the time spinning stuff up and then shutting it down.  Shoot, hosting makes sense up to a certain scale, then co-lo works, then in-lo, then back to hosting as you disperse geographically.

    When all you got is a hammer….

    I recently helped a startup save big $$ by switching to a $125/month server at SingleHop (good guys to work with) until their code was out of beta. They project to save $10K over Amazon.  That’s a lot.


  • Andy

    Cloud is not even cheaper in terms of Capex. You can rent dedicated servers which has no Capex.

    If you’re getting a raw cloud virtual server, it’ll be about 10X more expensive than a comparable dedicated server in terms of monthly expenses.

    If you’re renting cloud-based software services like Amazon CloudSearch, that’s another 10X more expensive than simply running your own software like Solr or elasticsearch, resulting in a 100X cost increase

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