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Why the Cloud is like a Disposable Razor

Rob Waggoner

Have you ever tried to explain how the cloud works? I’ve found that analogies make it easier to explain to any audience. I would like to share an interesting analogy I came up with in regards to the cloud.

Young man shaving with foam and razor over gray background

Disposable Razor Analogy
Most of us understand the disposable Razor blade concept: when the blade is dull, don’t sharpen it, replace it. When was the last time you sharpened a razor blade?

These days, we are all comfortable with throwing away items, like razor blades, that have outlived their usefulness. The cloud can give us that same ability with compute. The cloud offers you the ability to purchase compute resources for as long as you need them, and you only pay for what you use, when you use it. With the traditional on-premises model, computer hardware is pre-purchased, and typically you purchase the maximum capacity you need.  When you don’t need all of what you purchased, it still sits there costing you money.

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What It Means for You
The cloud gives us the capability to start viewing compute as a disposable resource. With the cloud, you only pay for what you use, so when you don’t need maximum compute, turn off what you don’t need.  How can the cloud get “dull” like an old razor blade? Think of aging hardware. The cloud is responsible for replacing aging or problematic hardware, not you.  In the cloud, if you want a sharper (more powerful resource), just provision it.  If your workload needs more compute or memory, it’s just a provisioning request away. Speaking of problematic hardware, most companies have service contracts on their hardware, but when it fails, you still must deal with the outage, the repair, and sometimes the re-certification of the hardware. Even with service contracts, sometimes it seems like certain hardware just continues to have problems… With the cloud, you don’t have to worry about things like that anymore, hardware is no longer your problem to deal with.

The cloud also routinely brings in newer hardware; you can even use the cloud for high-end graphic work. There are many companies that are moving away from purchasing dedicated high-end hardware for engineering workstations, and instead, using the cloud so they only pay for what they use, when they use it. And as new hardware comes out, their users can leverage the latest and greatest, just by re-sizing their virtual machines.

Think about on-premises workstations. How long does it take to upgrade a user’s device when they have to move all of the files and applications from one workstation to another?  With cloud based desktops, you just re-size a user’s desktop to the new size in the cloud as it becomes available.

The cloud truly has made it easier to stay current from a hardware perspective while keeping costs low.  Between the ability to save costs by taking resources offline when they are not needed to always have the ability to stay up to date with the newest hardware and software innovations. The cloud truly does make it easier for companies to focus on their primary business without being distracted by the day to day requirements of managing your own hardware infrastructure.

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