On “Renting Amazon’s Cloud”

I’ve had many conversations from I.T. executive leadership concerning the pressure to look at “cloud” for better I.T. ROI.  Often the President is under pressure from the board to “get into this cloud thing because it means you can cut down on all the growing number of I.T. staff?”  Or maybe the pressure is more subtle.  Maybe the same familiar vibes, similar to the ones that forced many of us into off-shore app dev when we really didn’t know if it would cost less?  Cloud Computing, it’s the “cool” trend of the time.  Will we just jump in so you we say we’re open minded or will most of us look at it objectively and make the decision based on the facts?

In the coming weeks I’m going to publish some information regarding the PRACTICAL use of deploying cloud offerings – serious ones.  So much hype, right?  I have a friend who is now working at Amazon, selling EC2, or “Elastic Cloud Computing”.  This cloud is much more fundamental though, it’s selling “hardware as a service”.  You pay for what servers you use.  Indeed, you use an interface to “lease” X number of servers for various purposes and put them to work.  You can take them out of service as you need to, and you’re charged only when they’re in service.

It’s a very interesting offering and frankly the BEST case for cloud offerings that I can imagine to date.  Think of it this way – we’re now comparing that $10 million data center running at your corporate office to hardware running in the Amazon cloud.

My approach for this article series will be to sift through various articles and first-hand accounts, including reports of cost savings (or not).  In other words, let’s find out if there is a true reason to do this!  Let’s keep our goal simple – yes we’ll review the technical, then move the technical stuff aside and move the business case front and center.

I’ve already studied the Trip Advisor story.  Thank you, Jeff Crawford for sending this third party (non-Amazon) article to me this week.  I am VERY impressed with Trip Advisor’s testing and analysis.  Let’s give them credit for putting some very well thought out material together, and also pointing out many of the remaining unanswered questions.  How can my I.T. leadership friends (YOU) help?  Please respond to this article as to what cloud services you are using and whether you can share some metrics (cost savings, overhead, performance, whatever).  Let’s consolidate some information and cut to chase!!

On my next blog I hope to have about 20 questions I’ve saved up for the TripAdvisor and also the Amazon boys.  They did great work and I’d like to really put the business case in perspective for us.  Hopefully we can merge in your experiences into some really useful consolidated cloud ROI information.


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