The two most mentioned advantages of cloud-based platforms are pay-per-use billing and the ability to scale up to an almost unlimited number of resources. No more buying ahead of resource demand, attempting to guess the amount of physical hardware and software that you’ll need.

But enterprise IT needs to understand that scale and costs are coupled concepts in cloud computing. The more resources you use, either self-scaling or auto-scaling, the more you pay. How much you pay may depend on the architecture patterns as much as on the cost of the resources themselves. Here’s why.

In building cloud-based systems, I’ve discovered that cloud architecture is really just making a bunch of the right decisions. Those who make bad decisions are not punished, they are just underoptimized. That everything works conceals the fact that you’re paying twice as much as you would if the architecture were fully optimized as to scaling and cost.

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