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Cloud Computing: It’s not just about Price

I fly a lot. When you do something a lot, little frictions start to mount up and can become a hassle.

Last week I had a small trip from Sydney to Melbourne and I was booked one way on one of the low cost airlines that offer a price that includes only the seat – everything else is an optional extra. On the way back I flew an airline that offers an all-inclusive price.

Since it was a short trip, I only took carry-on luggage with me. When I went through the scanners I was told that I had a pair of scissors in my bag and I had to surrender them. The scissors were expensive ones so I opted to go back and check in my carry-on bag. When I got to the counter I was asked to pay more than the price of the ticket to check my bag in.

I have to admit I got a bit upset at this and decided I had to throw the scissors away – they were good, but not worth the baggage charge. Frustrated, I tossed the scissors and went back through the scanners, to find out that my shaving cream was now being rejected due to an ill-fitting top. Rather impatiently, I made it very clear the shaving cream was not that important to me.

Then I walked off towards my gate lounge and realized I had lost my wallet somewhere in all of this mess. So I had to go back to the security area, then eventually to the check in area, again with my bags, and learned that my wallet had been taken to the gate lounge.

So after passing through the security screen for the third time I finally went to my gate lounge and picked up my wallet. Over the next five minutes, the gate was changed three times, in one case we were swapped with another flight.

When I finally arrived in Melbourne, there was an attendant (mis)managing the taxis. Fifteen taxi spots back to back and one taxi pulling up at a time, always being sent to the first spot, so the person sent there was always served quickly, but the poor people back in spot ten, eleven, twelve etc were waiting forever. More frustration.

All of these issues were minor in the bigger scheme of things, but they all added up to a really bad experience. by the time I reached my destination I was furious. Contrasting that with my return trip where I am a high-profile customer. I swiped my card, went to the lounge had breakfast, boarded my flight without incident. But if there was an incident, the airline would have assigned someone to take care of it, without charge.

I recognize that both these models are valid – pay a little and hope all goes well, or pay a premium for the piece of mind that you are in good hands, but often the prices of these product offerings are compared as if they are the same thing.

Cloud hosting is like this. Some providers offer a self-service model designed to be cost efficient without any bells and whistles, and if you run into difficulties you are pretty much on your own, or into some sort of exception management situation. Others charge a bit more, but include Service Level Agreements and support offerings that are factored into the price so that when you are in a spot of bother, someone will be there for you.

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