If you’ve read any of my past blogs, you’ll know I focus a lot on the economic impact of Cisco UCS. Today I’m comparing the TCO of hosting data intensive workloads on-prem vs. in the public cloud.

What started out as a 2RU rackmount consolidation discussion (more on that next week) turned into a public cloud vs. on-prem discussion. I was asked the question of how a S3260 managed by a customer in their own data center or colo would compare to Amazon S3 storage. I was completely blown away with what I found.

The short story is the on-prem solution is 56% less expensive over three years with a 13 month breakeven point. If you don’t like CapEx, using a Cisco Capital lease, your monthly payments can be less than your payments to Amazon. [I wonder if this is why companies like Dropbox, Moz, and HubSpot are moving away from public cloud?]

Let me break this down for you.

Amazon publishes all of their pricing here. That makes it very easy to price out a configuration. I priced out 420TB of S3 storage in the US East N. Virginia region. I included an always on 10Gbps connection and business class support. Note there are no data transfer charges. The breakdown is below.

Amazon S3 Pricing Table

Next, I configured a S3260 with 60 10TB drives for a total of 600TB of raw storage. Why am I comparing that to 420TB of S3 storage? Overhead – RAID, file system, spare drive, and the fact no one would run at 100% utilization. I used our MSRP for our solution which is effectively an apples-to-apples compare to Amazon’s published web price. Your mileage may vary based on discounts from Cisco Partners or from Amazon.

S3260 Pricing Table

There is enough savings that I could buy a second and third S3260 (1,800TB!) and still have some change left over.

If you need more compute power, you can replace four hard drives in a S3260 chassis with a second server node. What’s 40TB among friends when you are doubling your CPU and memory capacity?

Best part of the S3260 is that it is managed with UCS Manager right alongside B-Series blade servers and C-Series rack servers. One tool, one set of processes and procedures to manage your environment regardless of form factor.

While we are all tempted by instant gratification, it’s pretty clear that storing data in the cloud comes at a premium over the long haul. There can be very good reasons for data to live in the cloud. Just as there are very good reason why data should be on-prem. It will depend upon the cost, application, speed of access, privacy, security concerns, etc. The list is a long one and you will need to decide where the best place for your data is.

Hopefully I’ve piqued your curiosity enough reach out to your Cisco Account Team or Partner to learn more about the S3260 Storage Server.