Cloud Connect: Scaling Down, Turning Off Cloud Apps Saves Cash

In his Cloud Connect keynote on Wednesday, Forrester Vice President and Senior Analyst James Staten told a capacity crowd that to save dough with the cloud, it's important to be able to scale usage back and turn off the cloud when it's not needed.

"The power of cloud computing comes through these two words: Down and off," Staten said.

Staten admits that thinking small goes against conventional cloud wisdom, but said it can significantly reduce cloud computing bills. Since the cloud is pay-per-use and on demand, when the application is shut off, the bills stop, Staten said. Additionally, he said, it's much more beneficial that when traffic slows a site's or application's cloud use should shrink.

Staten said its typical that cloud apps are designed to scale up and are designed to start small, with little footprint, but often they're not small enough.

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"A very small VM [virtual machine] is definitely much more cost effective than a medium or large. And it's way more cost effective than extra large," he said.

Staten cited one enterprise that leverages the cloud to accommodate Web site traffic, but cloud use doesn't click on until users click through a handful of pages on the site. Another company, he said, doesn't spin up cloud instances until a customer already enters their credit card information into the Web site.

Staten urged cloud users to set a low baseline, instead of planning for the big boom right off the bat. "When you're re-designing your app, you need to think the other way around," he said.

And Staten said that cloud computing requires re-architecting of applications, but he said companies should fight the urge to re-architect into a larger footprint. "Re-architect to go down and re-architect to be off as much as possible," he said.

Setting the appropriate performance thresholds, Staten said, will have a near immediate positive financial impact.

"You'll be able to take bills you saw going up in the cloud and bring them down," he said, adding that building for "completely demand-driven" cloud consumption and remembering the two words "down and "off" will yield big savings.

"You will win in the cloud," he said.