IT cloud decisions use flawed metrics

IT decisions makers do not understand the true cost of providing a service from a datacentre because they lack accurate metrics, according to analysts.

IT decisions makers do not understand the true cost of providing a service from a datacentre because they lack accurate IT metrics, according to analysts.

Datacentres are today the engine rooms of corporate IT and the increased take-up of virtualisation and cloud computing is giving the datacentre increased prominence.

UK company Romonet has launched software, known as Prognose, that uses modelling to work out the costs of having a service delivered from a datacentre.

Very little is known about the cost of delivering cloud-based IT and, as a result, businesses find it difficult to decide what to keep in -house and what to put in the cloud.


Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, said, "Virtualisation is hitting the market today. With this move to cloud-based IT, people do not know how to decide what to move to the cloud, what to keep internal, and what to outsource or co-locate.

"There'll be a big mash-up and it needs managing. Predictive modelling enables companies to analyse and compare scenarios and say whether the move makes sense or not. Such level of knowledge and information is a great basis to make decisions, based on better assessments."

CIOs can make decisions on what to put in the cloud quicker and based on accurate information, according to Romonet.

According to analyst firm Quocirca, "The IT department and facilities management have been left with a highly complex environment, where a mix of applications and hardware platforms is being maintained in sub-optimal facilities at a high cost to the business.

"Consistently, research by Quocirca and other analyst companies has shown that about 70% of an organisation's IT budget is spent purely on 'keeping the lights on', that is in dealing with the day-to-day issues of maintaining existing systems, leaving only 30% of the budget to be spent on new investments."


Service costs


Suppliers will benefit from the increased understanding of costs because it will enable them to price their services appropriately. This will become more important as businesses turn to pay-as-you-go services.

Zahl Limbuwala, CEO at Romonet, said he set the company up in 2006 to attempt to develop software that could answer the question: how much does it cost to deliver a service?

Until now it is impossible to predict how much a service costs in terms of things like energy consumption and carbon production.

Romonet already boasts Thomson Reuters, Dell, and engineering firms Arup and Hurleypalmerflatt as users of the Prognose software.

Thomson Reuters is using the software in its own business, Dell is using it to help customers and the two engineering firms are using it to help them build datacentres.

Robert Thorogood, CTO at hurleypalmerflatt, said complex spreadsheets were previously used to work out the power efficiency of datacentres they were building. "We found that using Prognose to establish Power Usage Effectiveness and energy usage takes far less time than the traditional method. We've been able to use this time to give our clients far more understanding about what's going on in their datacentres".

Clive Longbottom, analyst at Quocirca, said there are products on the market that help users work out the cost of services but they are limited. "Most tools used historical data but the Romonet has a predictive side."

He said the software has a database of "real world performance of different parts of the datacentre such as how a cooling system works".

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