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Cloud is cheaper than VMs and containers for most new applications

A new report from 451 Research shows that serverless costs companies less. And IBM and Microsoft offer the best options, price-wise.

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All signs point to rising cloud adoption for enterprises, and with it, increasing spending on the cloud, according to Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends report. Cloud spending is poised to outpace spending on data centers, TechRepublic has reported. And recent Forrester research shows that global spending on cloud services could each $236 billion by 2020.

On Thursday, 451 Research compared serverless cloud options according to pricing, in a first-of-its kind analysis. The main takeaway? Cloud spending will cost companies less than virtual machines and containers.

Here are the big takeaways:

  1. Serverless is cheaper than virtual machines (VMS). For most applications, the cost of ownership is less for cloud services. The reasoning is that developers do not need to "provision, configure, and manage the infrastructure," according to the report, even when the VM hosts the containers. This is true when code is executed less than 500,000 times, the report noted.
  2. IBM offers the least expensive cloud option. Of all the big cloud providers--Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft and IBM--IBM provides the most competitive option for businesses. Also, according to a press release, IBM "offers a distinct cost advantage by allowing users to choose exact memory requirements, whereas other providers round up the figures, resulting in users paying for unused capacity."
  3. Azure is the most cost-effective for 10-second scripts. While IBM costs less for .1 second scripts, Azure is a better option for longer scripts, the report found.
  4. Prices could drop for serverless. The report predicts that costs for cloud options will go down in 2017.

"Serverless is more than just hype; it has the potential to transform the way we develop, build and run applications in the cloud," Owen Rogers, research director of the Digital Economics Unit at 451 Research, wrote in a press release. "Understanding the economics of serverless technology is vital to understanding its potential to disrupt the industry."

Rogers also noted that the "freemium" options provided by the major cloud providers are a big reason that serverless services are growing, by "stimulating experimentation and helping enterprises gain skills," he wrote in the release. "This could lead serverless to be the next cloud price war battleground."

The report also predicts that cloud service adoption--otherwise known as FaaS (functions as a service)--will continue to rise over the coming years.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A report on Thursday from 451 Research, comparing serverless cloud options, showed how each stacked up, according to pricing.
  2. Cloud spending will cost companies less than virtual machines and containers, the report found.
  3. Freemium cloud options provided by the major providers--Amazon Cloud Services, Microsoft, Google, and IBM--are helping fuel cloud adoption.

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