Cloud News & Insights

Is Cloud Computing Only for Large Companies?

Businessman sitting on a cloud while drinking his coffee

In my last post I discussed a case study of a florist. Lillian White faced a typical problem of a small business – Is cloud computing for me? Most of us think that cloud computing is for large companies who do millions of dollars of business. From where did this idea spring up? Obviously, the larger-than-life picture which the media has created about the cloud has something to do with it – but what really is the truth?

Looking at the facts

Let’s look at cloud computing from the perspective of affordability. I have taken the example from Here you will find a typical general purpose configuration with two web servers and a database server, with 8 GB memory and 40 GB disk space. The cost is around $150 per month. This seems quite affordable for a small business. But wait a minute. With a dedicated server with the same cost, you may get a larger disk space – maybe 500 GB. Looks like you are losing out here. But the fact of the matter is that in practice, a small business doesn’t need more than 40 GB of space on a web server.

Now let’s look at the small print. For a dedicated server hosted in a data center, you will always have a limitation on bandwidth. Out here in the cloud environment, you are free from this botheration. This is the situation when a small business starts small. What happens when the business fluctuates as in the case of a florist?

Flexibility in adding/removing resources

Remember that Lillian White had to add resources during peak season. When she was using dedicated server, she had to add servers well before putting them into service. There were a host of activities connected with bringing servers online. Moreover, she had to pay monthly even if she used a server only for a few days. In case of a cloud environment, she could add or remove resources and be charged only for the time she used them. Let’s read the fine print in our link once again. Here, resource addition charge is calculated by run time. Resource additions are charged by the hour. Monthly billing is calculated over 30 days of use. What this translates into is savings. When you add several resources, the savings increase manifold.

Ease of operation/automation of functions

In a dedicated server environment you need an experienced administrator who knows the intricacies of maintaining web servers. In case of a cloud computing set-up, most of the technical tasks are automated. Functions like load balancing can be managed by paying a bit extra, while the savings are a lot more in terms of a highly experienced technical staff. You can make do with a junior administrator.


Obviously, cloud computing is best suited for small businesses. What you must remember is to find a friendly cloud service provider – one who will hold your hand when you most need it. For this I would recommend that you go with a small cloud service provider instead of big names. Due diligence is important when you choose a cloud vendor. Get you facts right and get an SLA signed before you move into the cloud.

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About the Guest Author:

Sankarambadi SrinivasanSankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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