The Hidden Cost Of Downtime in Cloud services

Cloud services are changing the way business is done. One of the main reasons why many IT professionals prefer cloud-based services is to reduce the cost of downtime. However, there is a cost associated with the downtime as well, but the exact amount is hardly known to anyone. There are lots of interpretations, estimates, and calculations are done to figure out the cost, but there is always a looming uncertainty with it.

On the basis of the assumption that the third-party provides the technology which guarantees uptime, it is believed that the cloud services can reduce downtime. In addition, it looks more secured with the various levels of service agreements (SLAs) associated with it. However, there is always a question mark on the sense of security.

In order to get a clear picture, one has to go into some deep calculations to get the true cost associated with the cloud. For example, the operational cost when it works and when it doesn’t, need to be calculated. In addition, cost needs to be compared with different scenarios where there are no cloud services. For this, in addition to the operational cost, intangibles must also be taken into account.

In an IT operation, one has to calculate the cost of the facility, the staff, and everything associated with it. The cost is then compared with the value the facility provides to the company. Such calculations are often very complex. However, in cloud services, the cost can be calculated with the fees charged, and other events including connectivity, internal support staffs etc. Such calculations can easily change due to contractual price changes, changes in scale, etc. There are factors like downtime, which can affect the strategy’s cost.   In most cases, such factors are ignored by the IT professional because of the fact that cloud strategy can reduce the downtime. However, this can alter the number and can make the cloud service more affordable.

It can be said from the past history that even cloud services subjected to interruptions. For example, in the recent past, the Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the renowned cloud service providers has affected the various business segments. Due to the cloud service failures in 2013, its customers faced a huge downtime. Among all, the was hugely affected. As a result, it cost the company $5 million loss in revenue per hour until the site was down. The loss was much more than projected as there were other business tasks that could not be performed.

In order to avoid such huge loss, IT managers should calculate the cost of the downtime i.e. how much downtime would cost their businesses. But How? Is it possible in case of heavy downtime?.

Knowing the fact that the IT managers have a little control over the technology, it is very difficult to manage excessive downtime in the age of the cloud. However, by calculating the true cost and negotiating the effective SLAs they can shift the liability back to the service provider. The cost has to be broken into legal agreements along with the public cloud provider. This has to be explained to the higher management for a better understanding of the downtime situation and the cost associated with it.

Regardless of the proper infrastructure in place, IT managers have to face the downtime challenges at one time or another. The real challenge is to prevent the downtime and measuring the cost associated with it.

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