Cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Windows Azure can be counted on to drop prices for commodity services. But rarely does the total cost of ownership (TCO) come into consideration when the giants engage in their price wars.
Tier 3, an infrastructure as a service provider, is today adding more self-service options as part of their efforts to natively offer what the larger players provide as add-on services.
In this latest release, Tier 3 has launched the capability for architects to design network configurations in the public cloud that for the most part mirrors the networking common to internal data centers. With that capability, Tier 3 maintains customers can move enterprise applications to the cloud in a secure and compliant manner. The new capabilities include what Tier 3 describes as the ability for customers to create and manage load balancers for web applications, virtual LANs for building secure systems, site-to-site virtual private networks and custom IP ports for edge firewalls.
AWS, Google Compute Engine and Windows Azure are all programmable but a lot of it is manual work to get the services running. This adds human capital costs to already tight IT budgets.
“It’s the human factor that costs the most,” said Jared Way, Tier3’s Co-Founder and CTO. “It doesn’t matter if the price drops on the infrastructure. That is always getting commoditized. It’s the cost to employ an IT manager that adds up.”
Add-on costs to consider include:
- Deep network security
- VPN configuration and maintenance
- Configuration management
- Policy governance
- Server automation
- Support contracts
Wray believes this factor of overall cost will come more into play over the next few years and will factor more into the decision-making of the CIO.
That’s hard to dispute. The expertise needed to maintain a cloud deployment is not getting cheaper. But it is also true that the major providers are getting better at offering core services that help automate tasks and simplify what they offer.