Another Cloud powerhouse, Google offers a mix of free and paid Cloud services. Among the former are Gmail and Google Apps (which many users say now rivals Microsoft Office); Google Apps for business ($50/user/year) provides more storage and better support. Meantime, Google App Engine―where Google makes available Cloud resources to developers―now imposes fees on many users but charges remain nominal ($.12/GB for outgoing bandwidth; a dime per GB for incoming). Because Google is Google and because Gmail and Google calendar seem to be winning more converts many eyes in the Cloud community remain on Google as the dark horse in the race.
Hewlett Packard is another Cloud heavyweight and they talk the talk a CFO wants to hear. “There are significant cost savings involved in using a Cloud,” said Rebecca Lawson, director of Service Management and Cloud Solutions. The Cloud is energy efficient but when coupled with shifting energy costs to low-cost regions such as Washington state with its vast hydroelectric resources deliver still more savings, said Steve Cumings, director of Scalable Computing & Infrastructure.The other advantage HP sells hard is instant scalability. With the Cloud, resources can be added on a just in time basis, as needed to solve problems in real time.
Just how much would an enterprise user save in moving tasks and data to the Cloud? The answers remains case by case. Cloud computing very much remains a bespoke business but insiders are confident that savings of 7%-15% will quickly come to most companies. It is just cheaper to operate an organization’s data infrastructure from a rented Cloud. That is why optimism prevails among Cloud providers, especially now.
“The recession just may benefit Cloud computing,” predicts David Rice, a co-founder of TrueCloud, a Phoenix-based provider of enterprise-level applications in the Cloud. Rice further predicts that the obvious cost savings involved in Cloud computing will drive Cloud adoption as more companies recognize the need to upgrade, particularly as the recession lessens its grip, but they will want to do it on the cheap. IBM’s Quan shares this thinking: “We believe Cloud computing will grow as a result of the current economic conditions.”
As a busy freelance writer for more than 30 years, Rob McGarvey has written over 1500 articles for many of the nation’s leading publications―from Reader’s Digest to Playboy and from the NY Times to Harvard Business Review. McGarvey covers CEOs, business, high tech, human resources, real estate, and the energy sector. A particular specialty is advertorial sections for many top outlets including the New York Times, Crain’s New York, and Fortune Magazine.