Sentilla Launches Tool to Help Companies Make Smart Cloud Migrations

Sentilla Launches Tool to Help Companies Make Smart Cloud Migrations

Cloud computing is still riding high on Gartner's Hype Cycle, with private clouds at the peak of "inflated expectations" as of August 2011. 

High expectations leads to high demands in the enterprise, and CIOs now face questions from their bosses and their IT managers about developing a cloud strategy -- especially one that saves energy and money.

For CIOs at sustainability-focused firms, putting that emphasis on energy savings means a reduction in emissions to boot, but even for executives who don't have sustainability as a prime directive, cost savings are always a priority.

But a shift to the cloud may not be the natural step for companies looking to save costs, according to a new tool from Sentilla. As the latest feature in the company's data center management platform, Sentilla's Analytics for Cloud tool weighs the costs -- from energy to HR to management software to licensing -- for a number of different cloud computing and virtualization platforms.

The findings are potentially surprising: Running an enterprise application such as CRM software through a cloud provider can cost 150 percent more than keeping that app in-house.

"Basically, as soon as you get into any kind of enterprise app, the costs just skyrocket," Joe Polastre, Sentilla's chief technology officer.

As the chart below shows, different compute options have different embedded costs -- whether it's depreciation for in-house data centers, management software for virtualized systems, or licensing costs for outsourced computing. Determining where your business needs for computing lie, and where your cost savings can be maximized, is the goal of Sentilla's new tool.

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"We see companies spending four or five months putting together spreadsheets [to find the best cloud strategy], so we're really just trying to lighten the load," Polastre explained.

The best strategy always starts with taking stock of what you've got, so Sentilla is focused on helping companies take stock, then figure out the best way to get the most computing power and business benefit for the lowest costs.

While the company's findings obviously support their business model -- Sentilla sells a subscription-based data center management tool -- it raises important questions that IT managers should have answers to before leaping on board any hot new trend, especially if it promises across-the-board reductions to energy costs.

Although we've had plenty to say on the green and business benefits of cloud computing over the last few years, Polastre raised concerns about whether cloud data centers are facing the same overprovisioning problems that in-house data centers face: Namely, are they built to provide the level of compute power that is only needed one or two times per year?

Regardless of if you're looking at migrating some or all of your computing to the cloud, or if you're focused purely on virtualization and energy efficiency in your own data centers, the best strategy always starts with taking stock of what you've got. So I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, or by email, how you're managing your data center energy use, and how (if at all) carbon accounting figures into those practices?

Photo CC-licensed by torkildr.