Cloud or code?

Cloud services aimed at businesses offer a cost-effective and a hassle-free way to create a digital service which would otherwise need a team of developers, a lot of money and expensive hosting. Most of them are mouse driven and require little to no technical knowledge after the initial setup. But when is using a cloud based service not the route you should take? Consider these questions first:

  • Do you need custom features?
  • Should the data be hosted at a certain location (country, continent) due to legal reasons?
  • Do you know exactly what your requirements are or should there be room for improvising new features?
  • How well does the cloud service scale feature and price wise?
  • Have you reviewed all of the use cases for the service and compared them to its features?
  • Are you prepared to accept an arbitrary limitation that might pop up and prevent something from working the way you thought it would?

I’m a big fan of using cloud services, but they’re not a magical one-size-fits-all solution. The better your own specification and planning for what you want out of a cloud service, the easier it is to figure out if it fits your business’ needs.

What’s the price of nothing?

I like pricing that has a clear connection to the associated costs. If I want to upgrade a Dropbox license from Free to Pro or Business, I understand why I have to pay. Upgrading unlocks an extra 998 gigs of space, so at least in theory, there’s a terabyte of HD space and unlimited bandwidth reserved for me. Costs money. Google Docs apps are free to use, but again, upgrading storage space costs something. Understandable.

Then there’s pricing that I’m not a big fan of, for example certain Microsoft products. Want to have 8 users instead of 4 on your server? Buy a better license. Need remote desktop on Windows 10? Buy a better license. I’m sure complex sales projections have been made to justify locking down features, but my monkey brain has a hard time accepting it. It’s like buying a V8 car and running it on 4 cylinders because you didn’t buy the ECU upgrade from Ford.

I’m not saying there aren’t costs involved in developing more features, and certainly not denying the right to use this model. But I am saying I’m not a big fan of it.