Intelligent Infrastructure

Mass data and next-gen workloads Intelligent Infrastructure

A look at cloud storage buyers

Researchers estimate that a significant portion of cloud services spending is dedicated to storage.

Providers are usually hesitant to go into too much detail about their customer base, but cloud storage monitoring company Cloudyn has provided a glimpse into the Amazon Web Services user base. IT World contributor Nancy Gohring pointed out that there is no guarantee Cloudyn’s data is representative of the demographics behind AWS as a whole, but it does provide some insight into some of the adopters of this cloud service and how they use the technology. 

Cost is one of the crucial items that comes up in cloud-related discussions and Cloudyn found that its customers on AWS spend an average of $250,000 per year. In addition, Gohring reported that 70 percent of those customers come from North America with another 20 percent between Europe and Asia. Much of the expense in using cloud computing services of any kind stems from holding data and applications – Cloudyn estimated 30 percent of the AWS bill accounts for storage cost. This places greater value on optimizing hardware so that higher capacities can be reached at affordable prices, as well as on tools that enable visibility of data within cloud environments. 

Lacking such visibility is likely to result in frustrated customers when they are met with unexpected costs. Earlier this year, for example, Cloudyn found a difference in what a cloud storage customer expected to pay and what they were actually billed. A thorough investigation revealed that the issue stemmed from the way the provider handled billing – when the customer signed up for a heavy utilization service, it was charged hourly rates regardless of whether those added benefits were actually used. Cloudyn’s Zev Schonberg explained that this practice is mostly accurate, but it skews data when looking at trends. This makes it difficult for enterprise cloud storage users to accurately track their utilization rates. 

“This kind of noise makes it difficult to practice IT change management in a meaningful way,” Schonberg wrote. “These artificial spikes can confuse users who then become jaded and ignore anomalies that really do represent a serious breach of usage or spending.”