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Cloud Computing: 8 Hidden Costs

If you're not careful, hidden charges can make your next cloud bill significantly more expensive than you budgeted for.
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(Image: ivkuzmin/iStockphoto)

(Image: ivkuzmin/iStockphoto)

From our cellphone bills to airline tickets, and even home mortgages, our world is filled with hidden charges. As hidden charges add up, they can cause a significant number of unexpected expenses. In a sense, cloud computing is no different. If you're not careful, hidden charges can creep up, and your next cloud bill may end up being significantly more expensive than you budgeted for.

There are eight different cloud computing areas that catch IT administrators off guard. While some relate to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud setups, keep in mind that there are hidden costs to Software-as-a-Service models as well. While you may not have to worry about forgetting an orphaned VM, you're still vulnerable to over/under provisioning a cloud application that charges based on tiered user counts and/or storage requirements.

The important thing to note is that hidden charges are never truly hidden. Instead, by carefully learning about potential added-cost pitfalls, administrators can be on the lookout for, and properly architect around,  these areas. While most cloud service providers operate in a relatively similar manner when it comes to charging for services, there are differences when it comes to charging customers. Not only do you have to know what to look for in a general sense, you must also do further research to see how costs are accumulated in each individual cloud space where your organization resides.

[ Avoid disaster. Read 9 Spectacular Cloud Computing Fails. ]

Another tactic for eliminating areas where hidden costs can crop up is simply talking to your service provider account manager. It's the account manager's job to keep you happy. While he or she might enjoy you paying for unnecessary services on a regular basis, the ultimate goal is to retain you as a pleased customer.

If you find yourself snagged in a hidden cost nightmare with no clear path out, your service provider's account manager is most likely your best bet. The account manager can help you work out a strategy to restructure your cloud services model and get your company's billing straightened out so that you're paying a reasonable rate for the services you actually need.

Once you've reviewed these potential cloud budget-killers, join us in the comments section below and let us know your experiences and suggestions related to hidden cloud costs.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
8/11/2015 | 11:05:49 AM
Over and under provisioning in cloud
Spot on that both over and under provisioning are problems. Whereas enterprise IT shops have long experience sizing their own, on-premises systems to support expected workloads, sizing in the cloud is still a new discipline. Though the elastic nature of cloud makes initial sizing a lower-stakes game than for on-prem, there can still be significant financial ramifications for under or over sizing.
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