6th August 2022

Nima Badizadegan on Cloud Computing

Nima Badizadegan, an electrical engineer, who previously worked almost three years for Google, wrote Use One Big Server on his blog. He talks on cloud computing, not specially on cloud storage. He starts with a description of a cloud machine from Microsoft Azure having an AMD CPU with 64 core, 128 threads. He notes:

In total, this server has 128 cores with 256 simultaneous threads. With all of the cores working together, this server is capable of 4 TFLOPs of peak double precision computing performance. This server would sit at the top of the top500 supercomputer list in early 2000. It would take until 2007 for this server to leave the top500 list.

On cloud costs:

Being cloudy is expensive. Generally, I would anticipate a 5-30x price premium depending on what you buy from a cloud company, and depending on the baseline. Not 5-30%, a factor of between 5 and 30.

He dissects common objections on on-prem hardware.

  1. But if I use Cloud Architecture, I Don’t Have to Hire Sysadmins -- no.
  2. But if I use Cloud Architecture, I Don’t Have to Do Security Updates -- no.
  3. But if I use Cloud Architecture, I Don’t Have to Worry About it Going Down -- no.
  4. But I can Develop More Quickly if I use Cloud Architecture -- no.
  5. My Workload is Really Bursty -- this is a valid objection.

To the last topic of "burstly" workload, I would add that the typical rental of servers for a very limited period of time is a truly suitable case for cloud. This is similar to renting a car, instead of owning one, if you know in advance, that you only need the car for a week, or any other limited period.

So taking costs, developing effort, and maintenance into considerations, it is obvious that this rush into cloud is often not substantiated by facts. This confirms the statements given in Various Quotes from Kristian Köhntopp.

A similar post was written by Wille Faler, "Nobody ever got fired for buying AWS". This title is chosen as to mimic the common phrase "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". In the post he concludes:

That AWS is over-charging becomes all the more apparent if you shop around with smaller cloud providers and notice AWS prices might in some cases be 8X or more what others charge. (...) The AWS stacks are 6.25X and 9.7X more expensive than our budget stack respectively.

These are essentially the same findings as given by Nima Badizadegan.