Can cloud savings just evaporate?

Can cloud savings just evaporate?

Summary: We've been at the SharePoint conference this week and I was thinking about Google in the session about using the FAST search engine in SharePoint, in terms of the tweaks administrators can do to refine results and wondering if the Google search appliance offers more controls than it used to (Google's answer used to be along the lines of 'you don't need controls because it works so well' and given that the search algorithm was the secret sauce, the source stayed secret).

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TOPICS: Windows
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We've been at the SharePoint conference this week and I was thinking about Google in the session about using the FAST search engine in SharePoint, in terms of the tweaks administrators can do to refine results and wondering if the Google search appliance offers more controls than it used to (Google's answer used to be along the lines of 'you don't need controls because it works so well' and given that the search algorithm was the secret sauce, the source stayed secret).

I've been thinking about the Sidekick data story on and off for a while too, more in terms of governance and out-sourcing accountability and SLAs than in a technology sense. I often think about cloud services in terms of the tension between lower costs and less control, but I'm not sure if the cost savings always add up. Efficiencies of scale yes, free electricity no. And then I spotted the debate in LA about whether to switch the city government to Gmail and Google Apps bringing up some really interesting points (especially at the LA Times blog).

The contract is for $7.25 million contract; that's a small proportion of the LA city IT budget, but it's not a small contract. The city had 15 proposals (the LA Times says seven of those are from Microsoft; I'm going to assume that's different proposals from Microsoft and partners across on-premise, hosted and cloud solutions with a mix of Exchange, Office and SharePoint, with different features and prices).

Some critics have wondered if the email for the LA police should be in Google servers at all, for privacy reasons. I hope LA is thinking about availability and support issues as well as security and geolocking. But the big argument is, of course, about the money.

Google told the LA Times they have a "dramatically lower cost solution" and the city's Information Technology Agency said that the Google system would save millions of dollars. But then, says the paper " a recent city analysis found that, instead of offering clear budgetary savings, installing and running Google Apps would actually exceed the cost of the current Novell system by $1.5 million over the five-year life of the contract."

To get such different figures means they're measuring different things. I keep saying most companies don't know what their IT costs them or what value it has for them. We have to get more instrumentation and better cost analysis - or working out what saves money and what costs money can cost more than you'd save by changing in the first place.

-Mary

Topic: Windows

Simon Bisson

About Simon Bisson

Simon Bisson is a freelance technology journalist. He specialises in architecture and enterprise IT. He ran one of the UK's first national ISPs and moved to writing around the time of the collapse of the first dotcom boom. He still writes code.

Mary Branscombe

About Mary Branscombe

Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

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  • Can cloud savings just evaporate?

    This is the thing how can you tell whether or not your being lied to by various representatives from a multitude of company's all vying for your contract?

    Unless each and every one of them send in a full team to look at and diagnose your current and full IT infrastructure & costs, how can you know for sure what there telling you is true.


    "When asked whether he thought the committee's decision to skip voting on the issue was a good or bad sign for the contract, Dave Girouard, the President of Google's Enterprise division, said, "I really don't know -- I've never been in a process like that."


    This quote says a great deal about the very same people telling you every things going to be O.K. if you sign with them.
    CA-aba1d