The cloud pricing wars are on. Cloud management specialist RightScale says it is seeing aggressive price-cutting on the part of major cloud providers.
The company has counted 29 price reductions over the course of 14 months from AWS, Google Compute Engine, Windows Azure, and Rackspace Cloud. Amazon led the pack with eight price reductions on core cloud services, while Rackspace had four and Google and Azure cut prices three times in eight months. Rightscale tracks pricing with PlanForCloud, a tool that attempts to track cloud pricing across the major providers; it includes over 12,000 different prices across 6 cloud providers.
Pricing remains volatile, which is partly due to competition. Rackspace introduced new tiered pricing for storage just this February that resulted in price reductions of as much as 25%; AWS, Azure, and Google keep one upping each other with price cuts.
PlanForCloud is useful in the sense that cloud pricing is in no way uniform, and so can often be like comparing apples to oranges. There are several subsets of services, and these cuts have varying degrees of impact.
RightScale, as a management platform for cloud, wants the underlying infrastructure to be as transparent as possible. It gives the following recommendations:
- Develop competency in cloud forecasting – With this one, the company essentially means that price cuts are a positive trend when justifying cloud, but it doesn’t eliminate the need to forecast as accurately as possible. Of course, the pitch for the tool is assisting in this regard.
- Consider all your options for price, performance, features and support – Again, here the company means that each cloud provider has a different mix of features, performance, and support, so pricing is only one consideration. Pricing often gives a cloud provider the edge in one arena, but you can bet they make up that cost somewhere else.
- Efficiently use the cloud resources you have – over-provisioning, running unnecessary resources is a costly proposition. Cloud doesn't make sense if you’re not using it properly and efficiently.
Keep RightScale’s position in mind here, as this information is in support of using their platform. However, it’s all sound advice regardless of vendor. RightScale has been going the extra mile in trying to provide a transparent look into clouds lately, recently releasing an overview of major outages the company tracked across public, private cloud, and hosting providers. It all makes for a useful compendium when shopping around.