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What Happens When You Scale AWS? It Gets Expensive

By: Kayla Matthews on March 18, 2019

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud platform and one of the leading providers. Many people initially see AWS as an appealing option because it's an all-in-one solution.

You can get all the additional services you need as your business scales up, which sounds great at first. However, scaling up AWS can get significantly more expensive than you may realize.

Amazon's Data Suggests Differently

You only need to search for a term like "AWS is expensive" in Google to learn that many people think the service costs far too much. And, Amazon is aware of that criticism, as evidenced by how it released a study showing that the workloads run by its AWS clients in 2017 cost up to 73 percent less than they did in 2014.

The research also points out that Amazon has dropped its rates 67 times since launching AWS in 2006. But, you also need to realize that TCO Logic, the company that carried out the study, is an AWS technology partner. That knowledge could make you wonder if the results were biased.

Storage Sold Separately

Amazon is only one of the leading cloud providers, so it's essential that you don't primarily choose AWS for the "name value." One of the things that makes AWS more expensive than some other options is that you have to buy storage separately. Some people see that as a positive thing because it allows more flexibility than a plan that comes with a set amount of storage.

But, with Microsoft Azure, each plan comes with a fixed amount of storage, and you can buy more at an advertised rate if needed. So, it's not hard to imagine how a company could make the leap over to AWS and not spend a sufficient amount of time thinking about their storage requirements first. AWS offers a pricing calculator you can use to estimate costs.

However, the trouble is that anticipating your future needs is a challenging task. All services have pros and cons associated with them. If you're thinking about moving to AWS, be aware of all the cost-related and other relevant advantages and disadvantages first.

Moreover, remember that other cloud companies may be more suitable for your needs. Doing adequate research on all of them is smart.

Today's Enterprises Need Robust Cloud Computing Choices

One of the reasons why AWS has become so popular is that it can handle hefty client demands. Think of the online stores operating continuously and giving customers access to products at the click of a mouse. Cloud computing helps those e-commerce destinations remain reliable. Plus, emerging technologies have changed the ways people do business, and most of them rely on cloud computing, too.

For example, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) can work together to improve business contracts. Instead of the static agreements that most people know and may only view in full just before signing them, AI and the blockchain can give more transparency and updated information by offering contracts that change in real-time and provide the most recent information to all parties.

AI and blockchain applications can both be extremely data-heavy, which means the companies using them need to find cloud providers that have the technology to tolerate the intensive workloads. AWS is one that can, but as mentioned earlier, it's not the only company catering to businesses interested in cloud computing.

Companies Realize the Need to Weigh All Options

Businesses using AWS can optimize their costs, but some entities realize that even after doing that, the service is still prohibitively expensive. Uber uses AWS for some things, but it assessed other cloud providers when scaling up, and has its own data centers, too. The company currently handles approximately 15 million trips around the world a day, all of which generate a considerable amount of information.

Similarly, Dropbox moved 500 petabytes of data from AWS servers after deciding it was more suitable to build an internal infrastructure and network. In that case, the company wanted more control over its data than AWS provided. It believed that a Dropbox-specific data center would give more quality control and management options since no outside company would know the data as well as Dropbox does.

Like Uber, Dropbox didn't cut ties with AWS and continues to use it to fill some needs. Moz, the marketing startup, dropped AWS in favor of building a private cloud after spending "many small fortunes" on it. The costs hurt the company's margins, and representatives were less than satisfied with the service received for the price.

Think Carefully Before Finalizing Decisions

As you can see from the previous section, many companies that discover AWS isn't working for them due to cost or other reasons decide to take the matter into their own hands.

Perhaps that isn't feasible for your business at this point, or maybe it's something you've been quietly pondering for a while. In any case, it's crucial to take stock of your current needs and how they might change soon.

AWS has the scalability aspect in its favor, but at a price that's too high for some. Other companies can scale up as needed, and they may offer prices you deem more reasonable.

In-depth thought and thorough research should help you reach a well-informed decision about cloud computing providers.

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