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Look beyond upfront prices for a public cloud

When looking into public cloud services such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google, is price still the foremost consideration?

If you're trying to choose a public cloud provider, there is some good news: The price war is over. And systems integrators, channel partners and analysts all agree that Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- once the low-price leader -- is no longer any less expensive than Microsoft Azure or Google Compute Engine. In addition, companies don't seem to care too much about subtle price differences from one public cloud service to another.

"There is price parity now with the 'Big Three,'" said Alex Brown, CEO and founder of 10th Magnitude, a cloud-focused systems integrator that specializes in Microsoft Azure. "Price is not a key decision maker anymore."

That's also true in the AWS world.

"Last year and the year before we had to sell the AWS pricing model to prospects," said Eric Valenzuela, director of business development and marketing at Full360, an AWS partner. "We don't even have that conversation now."

"Prices may be a little different but [the difference is] not big enough to use as decision-making criteria anymore," said Larry Carvalho, PaaS research manager at IDC. "The deep discounting way of thinking is going away."

While price is off the table, cost consideration still comes up when talking with customers, warned Goran Kimovski, principal cloud architect and partner at AWS partner TriNimbus. What remains an issue is timing.

While not worrying so much about price upfront, companies understand the public cloud can become very expensive once they're in production. "Customers are comfortable with the cost of the infrastructure now," Kimovski explained. But they also appreciate that the actual cost includes staff and the effort it takes to manage and maintain the cloud environment once it's up and running.

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Price is just one consideration. Latency, availability and ease of access are every bit as important, if not more so.

The major challenges I see to switch back from these cloud provider to others or in-premise solution.
SLAs are a bigger concern for us than cost is at this point.  Another is geographic location of the cloud resources. We perform quite a bit of load testing of our sites, and our content delivery partner requires a specific geographic distribution of load.
This article suggests that price is not the right selection criteria. This is true, but not because the providers have moved to price parity. Price alone is meaningless. Only when coupled with the resource requirements needed to meet acceptable performance can the true cost be determined. Moreover, this 'cost' will change as the underlying platform evolves, though not in a visible way. A platform performance maintenance tool such as Krystallize CloudQoS™ is needed to normalize performance across providers and to continuously monitor the chosen platform to detect and alert to changes in performance levels.