To Cloud or not To Cloud?

As a developer, the choice to go to the cloud has always been pretty clear, do it! Why would anyone want to run their own machines. Cloud services like Azure and AWS have been a phenomenal boon to service delivery, options, and capabilities that developers like myself hoover up like it’s going out of style.

But, I’ve never been the one writing the checks before.

shut-up-and-take-my-money – MEA Cloud ComputersResgrid isn’t a huge software company, so it’s important to balance how much it costs to run vs how much money it’s brining in. Even at low loads there are baseline needs that have to be met, for example redundancy. Architectural decisions, like splitting up the API from the Web Site into 2 deployable application also lead to increased cost.

I was pricing out some server gear and just starting doing some back of the napkin math, man the cloud is expensive now a days! Back during PDC 2009 when I first started looking into Azure and AWS the pricing was very attractive when compared to local hosting when you factored in all the costs, but now a days, it’s a much more difficult decision in some situations.

If you already have a pretty solid environment for hosting servers and experience running and maintaining the hardware, you might be better of locally hosting your application. If you need some decent power and have some heavy workloads and not very deep pockets, the cloud also might not be for you.

I recently bought the following kit:

  • 2 Dell PowerEdge R730xd Servers
  • 2 Dell PowerEdge R630 Servers
  • 2 NewApp DS2246 Disk Shelves
  • 16 1TB Samsung EVO SSDs
  • 2 1500VA APC UPS’s
  • 1 UniFi 48 Port Swtich

All in all, it’s just under $7,500 worth of equipment, that’s a lot right?

  • Azure SQL S2: $74
  • 4 Azure B2 App Services: $110\ea

Just for the SQL Database and 2 redundant App Service hosts is $514 a month. This doesn’t include storage, data transfer fees and other utilized services. That means in a year, I’ve hit a break even point where the servers had paid for themselves and past that it’s money in the bank.

I’ve come to view the cloud differently after building a business on it vs just being a developer on it. Do I still think it’s worth it? Yea for the most part it should be the default way any of us go. But it shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all of our thinking. Sometimes locally hosted just makes sense either from a fiscal or technical standpoint.

I’m the Founder of Resgrid an open source computer aided dispatch (CAD) solution for First Responders, Industrial and Business environments. If you or someone you know is part of a first responder organization like volunteer fire departments, career fire departments, EMS, search and rescue, CERT, public safety or disaster relief organizations check Resgrid out!

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About: Shawn Jackson

I’ve spent the last 18 years in the world of Information Technology on both the IT and Development sides of the aisle. I’m currently a Software Engineer for Paylocity. In addition to working at Paylocity, I’m also the Founder of Resgrid, a cloud services company dedicated to providing logistics and management solutions to first responder organizations, volunteer and career fire departments, EMS, ambulance services, search and rescue, public safety, HAZMAT and others.


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