What’s the True TCO of Public vs. Private Cloud

Channel Cloud

Everything has a cost — do you really know what it is? Better yet, do you have what it takes to really help your customers understand the true total cost of ownership (TCO) when it comes to public vs. private cloud?

Grant Kirkwood, founder and chief technical officer at Unitas Global, has answers for you in the upcoming cloud education track – “Public vs. Private Cloud: What’s the True TCO?” – at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 25-28, in Austin, Texas.

We chatted with Kirkwood about his upcoming presentation, about two common issues that partners face when helping their customers make the leap to digital transformation, and how to use cost-comparison metrics when evaluating public vs. private cloud services. Unitas Global is a partner-led enterprise cloud solution provider founded in 2011.

Channel PartnersSo, clearly, companies have issues understanding the true total cost of ownership of public vs. private cloud. What’s going on?

Grant Kirkwood: I personally spend most of my time talking to clients – probably 75 percent of my day is spent with clients – so I get to hear about their challenges and what they’re interested in doing, firsthand. As recently as 24 months ago, the enterprise was scared of the public cloud. Now, that’s totally shifted. What I’m finding is that companies are saying – and these are traditional businesses, not technology-centric companies by nature – and I’m hearing it over and over again from the CIO and CFO is this: We’re going to pick up everything that we have in infrastructure in our own data center or in our hosted environments and move it to the public cloud, and we’re going to save tons of money and unicorns, rainbows and butterflies … .and everything is going to be amazing and wonderful.

The opinion that they’re going to move everything out and save a ton of money is becoming super prevalent and is becoming a big driver. What we’ve shown, and conclusively for a lot of models, is that’s not the case at all.

CPWhat have you found?

GK: Public cloud on a like-for-like basis, apples-to-apples resource consumption basis, is a lot more expensive than private infrastructure as a service from companies like Unitas and others. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that – some are financial, some of them are technical – but public cloud is pretty much just about the most expensive way you can go.

CP: It sounds like the market needs some education about public, private and hybrid cloud. What are some of the issues that partners have here?

GK: Partners have an opportunity to be the adviser that brings value. But partners don’t know how to use the economic model. And, cloud providers are doing a really good job of obfuscating the comparative metrics so it makes it hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison on an individual workload basis. It’s a pretty sophisticated thing to do and the channel community hasn’t … been taught how to do that.

The second issue … cloud providers make it difficult to build that model, so from a channel-partner perspective, if we can help educate partners and give them the tools to understand those models and ask the right questions about workload profiles, they can have a more substantive conversation with a client.

CPWhat will attendees at your session walk away with?

GK: They’ll hopefully leave with some tangible things to take to clients to elevate the discussion and move it away from, “I’m going to help you procure XYZ” or whatever they’re used to selling in a transactional way and elevate that conversation to, “What are you trying to achieve with your technology infrastructure, what’s the business outcome that you’re looking for as it relates to cloud transformation and specifically to cost,” but understanding that it’s not as simple as, “Let’s move everything to cloud and save a lot of money.”