Last week the IT industry was shocked to find that the Intel chipsets that drive many of our phones, smartphones, laptops, desktops and our servers, have an architectural flaw that exposes them to hacking. The other two major chipset manufacturers AMD and ARM appear to be much less affected.
By patching their operating systems to address this design flaw in the Intel chipset the OS providers have been forced to sacrifice the thing that impacts us most, performance. The numbers aren’t out yet but we could be seeing reductions in performance of between 5% and 30%.
For the average user, even a 30% reduction in performance on their laptop or smartphone might not have any discernible impact. Most of us don’t use even a fraction of the capability of our machines and with the consumption of cloud software services such as Office 365 the compute power is in the cloud anyway. But herein lies the problem…
Cloud Service Providers (CSP’s) like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are massive consumers of high-intensity computing power. Every day they wrestle with optimising the cost and performance of their infrastructure environments to deliver to their own and their customers’ needs.
CSP’s have been the first to implement the security patches on their servers, as you would expect from responsible global providers. This is where a 30% performance reduction really hurts. My guess is that their systems architects have been in a right state of panic about how to address the possibility of significant performance degradation unless loads of new equipment is installed in a hurry.
What does this mean to you, the business user of cloud services?
The future performance, and thus the relative cost, of chipsets, will also likely change for the worse in the short to medium term. The security flaw I mentioned earlier was based on the need for manufacturers to make chipsets run faster. This design is now no longer acceptable from a security perspective and will have to change somehow. It will take time for them to come up with a new solution. In the meantime, all those performance/price gains we have come to expect in the past will be very hard won indeed. Expect increases in prices for Intel-based computers and some smartphones.
Expect to see cloud services prices rise as CSP’s move to recover their increased infrastructure overheads both current and into the future
There is little we can do in New Zealand to force a better deal from the big multinationals. Local providers like Datacom and Revera are subject to price/performance challenges as much as the next company and are unlikely to welcome requests for better pricing.
What you can do, though, is to manage cloud computing costs by addressing the issue of consumption through closely monitoring when and how you use cloud computing infrastructure. Microsoft and Amazon both now provide options for paying a lower price for guaranteed future consumption. There is also the option available to purchase services on the spot market. Discounts in this market can be as high as 90% but you must know what you are doing because spot markets go up and down based on demand.
Monitoring and then actively managing cloud consumption requires experience and skill. Rather than trying to do it yourself, you should consider using the services of a utility analytics firm. This will help inform the decisions you make, directly tie cloud computing cost savings to the activity and will allow you to focus on the business at hand rather than on what can be a rapidly changing and complex computing marketplace. Total Utilities has the tools and expertise to deliver real insights and recommendations to help optimise your cloud consumption and cost. For more info click here or contact us today.