This is something I have been looking into quite a bit in the past 6 months, and though reading lots about the “cloud” suggests this is the case, I have always had my reservations. For me there is a distinct difference between cloud based services, and the cloud itself.
This is basically software applications that operate in the cloud (SaaS – Software as a Service). Here I can see many cost saving benefits, simply due to licensing and usage. For some time there has been a distinction between “dedicated” licenses and “concurrent” licenses, the second being basically licensing on demand. We have always sold our own licenses for software, such as workFile, workFile EPOS etc on a “concurrent” basis, allowing a 1-10 license model. This means you can have up to 10 users for 1 concurrent license, effectively providing large cost savings.
Cloud Networking and Storage
Ahh, outsourcing your actual hardware and storage capacity requirements. Now here is where my main reservations lie, simply because of cost analysis never seems to be quite right. I have always thought that the more space I used up “in the cloud” would cost more per month, so the larger the organisations requirements, obviously the cost of their “cloud” services would increase. I also believe that the larger the requirement the more cost “ineffective” the cloud could potentially become. I have to be honest, most of my thoughts on this were based on our own hosting programmes that OD Media offer, and our own cloud solutions based on workFile.
Today I see that a McKinsey study actually proves my concerns. Let’s face it, large enterprises are not going to commit all their data storage and networks to the “cloud”. So, realistically there will be some hybrid requirement, if one at all. Because of this there really just isn’t any large saving to be made for larger organisations, sure if you outsource everything there will be an admin saving to be made, but since this realistically won’t happen, that saving is negated.
Small businesses? General Public?
This for me is where cloud computing services should be aiming, and in the purest form, cloud computing has been aimed at these areas for some time, just think of outsourcing your website…
There are savings to be made for small businesses, especially if using SaaS. Our own workFile ECM SaaS does provide significant cost savings to small businesses.
The general public will always make savings with SaaS, though with the “cloud” storage I am not so sure. At the end of the day, most members of the general public will purchase a mass storage device, which is more than adequate. So again, SaaS is the only real benefit I see…