the laughing cloud

How much cloud do you *really* need?

Some stuff just makes us lazy.  TV, instead of books.  Cars, instead of walking.  The Cloud, instead of hosted servers.  And often, when we get lazy, we also get sloppy…

That’s right.  The cloud has made us lazy.  I can spin up a zillion machines as fast as I can click.  Make it absolutely great for prototyping, or cloning environments, or QA… or some incredibly successful client-facing internet thingy that goes from 100 users to a million overnight…



But just because it’s the easiest tool for the job doesn’t make it the best tool for the job.

And if you’ve had stuff in the cloud for a while, maybe it’s time for a quick review:

  • Have I changed the size of  any of my instances in the last 6 months or a year?
  • How about storage?  What does my usage look like?
  • How about network bandwidth and traffic?  What does that look like?
  • Am I sized ‘correctly’ – even sensibly?

If you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, you’re probably paying way too much for flexibility you don’t (and may never) need.

I have to admit, some cloud service providers are really getting on my nerves.  I hate being nickeled and dimed; S3 compatible storage @ $0.15/gb is bad enough especially when I get charged another $0.15/gb for transport, but when you add extra for GETs and PUTs? Connectria ( got it right by killing that charge.  Just yesterday I ran into a provider that’s charging $0.01 per hour per IP address and $0.01 per hour per internet service, Oh Pleeeeasse!!

Availability?  Amazon has had a few issues, and Microsoft Azure’s leap-day incompetence.

Of course, I won’t mention security; and generally it’s been good unless you’ve been holding bitcoins @ Linode… still, hacking the cloud dashboard was a nice touch :) .

Servers are cheap.  Virtual servers are even cheaper.  So cheap that you could run three of them in different parts of the country (or different countries) and load-balance them.  With a little bit of monitoring, you can watch usage trends – and actually plan for what you’re going to need.

Of course, migrating all your crap off the cloud can be non-trivial, time consuming and scary, and requires the sort of specialized expertise the cloud takes care of implicitly.  The reward is that you’re back in control.  But it’s your data after all… and if all hell breaks loose in the cloud, all they’re gonna give you is an apology and a couple of days service credit… you’ve been warned.

I wonder how long before YC12 sees a ‘cloudmover’ startup?



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