The Economics of Application Platforms

Don’t let anarchy or false economies hold back future-proof transformation

Published May 2019

Why would anyone care about the economics of application platforms? Whether it’s a dedicated system stack, a traditional x86 virtualisation environment, or a modern cloud option, what you pay for the ‘systems layer’ should, in theory, be a relatively small part of the overall cost equation, especially over the lifetime of an application.

That is no longer true, though. These costs can now be very significant, especially once you add in the too-often-forgotten management element. In many ways, it is a problem that has crept up on us, but not for the reason we’ve heard so often that it’s become a cliché: “The squeeze is on, IT needs to do more with less, blah blah.”

Instead, it’s quite simply that platform costs are out of control in many organisations. Part of this is a lack of objective, coordinated and disciplined decision-making, which causes procurement inefficiency and impedes strategic transformation activity, especially if it brings about the anarchy known as cloud sprawl.

This paper explores such challenges based on the results of a recent survey of 158 IT professionals. We go on to consider what’s important when looking to transform at a platform level to create a more coherent and future-proof hybrid environment.

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