Adam Weissmuller, director of product management and cloud services, Internap, looks at the future of outsourcing.

IT pros aiming to make the most efficient use of their budgets are faced with a rapidly increasing range of infrastructure options from which to choose. 451 Research predicts that the managed hosting market will reach $27.9 billion globally by 2014, with demand growing 20% year-over-year. Couple this with the firm’s cloud forecast – which forecasts a 36% compound annual growth rate, reaching $19.5 billion worldwide in 2016 – and it’s clear that demand for all types of outsourced IT infrastructure is unabating.

While public cloud services in particular have exploded in popularity, especially for organisations without the resources to operate their own data centres, a ‘one size fits all’ myth has also emerged, suggesting that it is the most efficient and cost-effective option for all scenarios.

In reality, whilst the public cloud may be the sexy new sports car – coveted for its horsepower and handling – sometimes a hybrid model can be the more sensible approach, burning less petrol and still getting you where you need to go. It all depends on what kind of trip you’re taking. Or, put in data centre terminology, the most effective approach depends on the type of application or workload. This is often a combination of infrastructure services – ranging from public, private and ’bare metal cloud’ (dedicated servers with cloud-like automation and self-service) to managed hosting and colocation.

The myth of cloud fuel economy
Looking deeper into the myth of cloud costs, as part of a recent “Data Centre Services Landscape” report, Internap surveyed 100 IT decision makers to gain a view into their current and future use of IT infrastructure. Almost 65 percent of respondents said they are considering public cloud, with 41 percent of these reporting they are doing so to reduce costs. However, when you compare the ’all-in’ costs, the cloud service will lose out in many instances and for many workloads.

The fact that other IT infrastructure options – such as ‘bare metal cloud’, managed hosting or colocation – can be more cost-efficient than cloud often comes as a surprise to organisations. But for predictable workloads and core infrastructure that is ’always on’, the public cloud is nearly always more expensive because the customer ultimately pays a premium for pay-as-you-go pricing and scalable capacity that they rarely need or use.

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