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To Cloud or not to Cloud - that is the Question

August 28, 2010 |
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I am frequently asked questions about whether or not Clickability has considered moving to Amazon or other Cloud infrastructure providers.  This is indeed something that has been discussed and contemplated for years.  In fact, every six months or so since he started at Clickability, Tom C has gone through a cost analysis of moving the Clickability Platform to Amazon.

In general, things are rapidly moving in the right direction to make changes in how our services are delivered, and at some point relatively soon we will likely begin to experiment with a hybrid approach to some services.  However, there are still some challenges to making a headlong plunge into a migration to Amazon:

  • First, a current analysis shows that a wholesale move to amazon would be ~10-20% more expensive than our current infrastructure.  The main reason that this is the case is that we are pretty good a using our servers to high utilization.  The situations where you can make great gains by moving to the cloud are when you are not fully utilizing servers and the "pay-as-you-go" pricing models provide very good leverage.
  • Second, current Cloud provider capabilities and SLA are getting better but still not to the point we could use it without reworking some architectural aspects of our platform.  We rely on sophisticated load balancing capabilities to route customer domains to the right servers, and this level of sophistication simply is not available in Amazon (yet).

Despite these limitations to moving the full production infrastructure to the Cloud, there are many ways that we currently use Amazon, including the dozens of Content Connectors we host, long term log archival, and hosting for our status portal and Community Portal.  When we begin to look at production services in the Cloud, the first ones will certainly be the ones that we can get the most gains from the model, either applications that would benefit from a lot of elasticity (i.e. search servers and indexing) or are a true commodity (like storage).



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