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  • Scot Mactaggart

Is the cloud really cheaper than running on-premises?




In some form or fashion, nearly every cloud professional gets this question at least once a month – and if they happen to be in marketing, sales or business development, they may get it once a week or even once a day.


The spirit of the question hinges on the accusatory adverb that is implied even when not specifically included in the sentence. Executives and experienced managers want to know if the cloud is “really” cheaper than running their on-prem datacenter. They heard it from a magazine or blog article or a sales rep and it has been bugging them ever since.


The answer has two parts:

  • There is no “apples to apples” comparison between a mainstream cloud and a private server environment. The cloud gives businesses a near-infinite box of tools, immediately available, for whatever opportunities or challenges might present themselves. Some firms use this speed. Some don’t.


Either way, it’s baked into every Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform account on day one, and while the more focused players like IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud may not have all the same options available, they have embraced the “just an API call away” mentality of the other three for their own toolsets.


  • Operational choices are what really drive costs. Are you going to keep to a single cloud provider or do what everyone else seems to be doing, accept the increased overhead, and sprawl across 3 or 4 of them? Do you need to send people to training? How much faster will your business evolve once the obstacles of loading, testing and running RFPs for operating software? How will that speedy evolution change your spending?

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is just a blog post. It’s not an exhaustive list of all the moving parts, and it’s not going to explain all the complexities of how best to succeed in any environment. Each option – cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid cloud and on-premises – has its champions and its success stories.


A Pittsburgh AI Works cloud expert can help to navigate these decisions, even if you’re not ready to commit to anything yet. We can at least run your team through a few exercises to reveal some operational priorities and sketch out a budget for your use as you plan.

Use the form below to get started.

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