Containers are driving up costs in the cloud

The popularity of containers could be leading to escalating costs in cloud computing.
28 February 2019

Containers. You get the picture. Source: Shutterstock

As SMEs and large corporations make a continued transition to cloud computing, there are concerns that cost overruns may become a prohibitive factor in the technology’s ongoing adoption.

As reported by ZDNet, a survey of 700 IT professionals by cloud resource management company Densify found that multi-cloud— the use of multiple cloud computing and storage services, such as AWS and Azure, in a single architecture— is, in turn, seeing a rise in the use of container technology.

Containers have changed the adoption of public and private clouds. With a container image, a common package format can be run on-premises as well as on every major cloud provider.

However, while costs of cloud services and usage remain high— 40 percent of companies use at least two clouds— adding containerization solutions into the mix is driving costs up even more, making budget a point of concern exceeding even security.

According to Densify’s CEO, Gerry Smith, about four in 10 companies (40 percent) are overspending. “While containers are a tremendous means of developing and deploying applications, companies must properly provision cloud resources to meet application needs.”

Compounding the issue, cloud resources are not being provisioned well for containers owed to a lack of visibility on container, app or compute requirements. “There are not sufficient ways to know if the box is big enough or small enough and customers don’t have the visibility on how it rolls up into the node,” Smith added.

The survey found that 45 percent of IT professionals believe they are spending too much on cloud computing and 10 percent of respondents said they were 100 percent over budget. Despite the rising costs, however, the Densify study also found that 80 percent of respondents have actively deployed containers or plan to do so soon.

Cloud’s rapid uptake seems to be at the heart of the cost problem; businesses have flocked to the technology, deploying it on-the-fly, often without formalized processes in place which is leading to inefficiencies.

A study by Kentik revealed managing cloud costs was the biggest challenge for 30 percent of IT executives, while one in 10 still tracked AWS costs (used by 97 percent of companies) using spreadsheets.

When it comes to ongoing cloud transformation at large, a recent report by Oracle and KPMG found that cloud technologies are no longer “nice to have tertiary elements of IT” but have become core business functions, increasingly trusted with housing sensitive data.

The study revealed a projected 3.5 increase in the number of companies with more than half their data in the cloud from 2018 to 2020.

As also reflected in the Densify study which found that 40 percent of companies claim not to understand the impact of cloud providers, Oracle and KPMG said a technology knowledge gap around cloud computing was leading not only to cost inefficiencies but issues of security.