To the cloud, right? Actually, it’s not always that simple

(L to R): Anthony Skinner, CTO, Moz; Stephen Felisan, VP of Engineering,

More than halfway through Day One of Structure 2014, one could be forgiven for thinking that the march to cloud computing is inevitable. But not all companies, businesses and computing workloads are created equal.

Two speakers Wednesday afternoon told two different tales of enterprise computing strategy. Stephen Felisan, vice president of engineering at car shopping website, recently moved his company from managing co-located servers to Amazon Web Services. “It wasn’t about price,” he said, referring to the usual notion that building and maintaining your own server infrastructure is a pain. “The big catalyst that really set our migration was the fact that we had reached power density in our data center,” he said.

However, Anthony Skinner, CTO at search and social marketing company Moz, just went the other way: “at one point we were (AWS’s) second or third largest customer,” he said. But Moz decided to build its own infrastructure, and it is saving the company between $500,000 to $600,000 a month in support costs, he said.

Of course, this is not really a new argument when it comes to computing needs, as Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill pointed out in the session immediately preceding this one: modern web services and applications are extremely complex, and one size most assuredly does not fit all. Skinner acknowledged that some Moz workloads are in cloud services from Rackspace and Microsoft, because for some things, like its main website, it simply makes more sense.

Check out a video embed of the session below:

Photo by Jakub Mosur

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