Calculating IT cost for business assets is far from a trivial undertaking. If you want to predict the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a new product or service, you need to think about a wide range of direct and indirect expenses: hardware and software, installation and maintenance, power and cooling, potential downtime, end user training, and so on.
As such, making even a simple purchase – a couple of licenses for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, for example – can involve a lot of number-crunching for IT managers who can’t afford to loosen their purse strings or sleepwalk into a mess of hidden costs.
Luckily, that’s not necessarily a reason to break out the spreadsheets every time you need to make a forecast or check if there’s scope to save cash on your next infrastructure upgrade. There are plenty of ready-made IT cost calculators on the internet, available for free to those who know where to look. Here are five of our favorites.
SaaS TCO Calculator
Buying a SaaS product is very different than paying for software in the traditional sense, with the latter tending to involve one-off license fees rather than subscriptions, greater overheads in terms of setup and maintenance, and potentially demanding their own dedicated hardware.
The Software Advice TCO Calculator allows users to make a side-by-side comparison of SaaS and on-premise software in terms of cost, taking into account a vast array of factors like the terms of their respective licenses, their life expectancy, and any support and training that may be required. It also provides a useful visualization of cost over time.
Data Center Capital Cost Calculator
Calculating the IT cost of data center build out is notoriously difficult. Not only do you have to think about hardware, power and cooling, but also capacity, redundancy and life expectancy. The Schneider Electric Data Center Capital Cost Calculator is a suitably sophisticated tool for this demanding discipline, allowing users to dig down as far as the local cost of labor and parts in their data center’s host country.
The Cloud Calculator
One of the big questions for most IT managers at the moment is whether their data would be better off hosted on-premise or in the cloud, or both in a hybrid configuration. The Cloud Calculator, launched by industry stalwarts Expedient and Intel in 2013, allows users to check the cost of cloud infrastructure against an in-house data center. There’s also a tool to compare the price of a co-location service with on-premise rack space, as well as calculators for file transfer times, disk-based backup and RAID storage requirements.
Downtime Cost Calculator
How much would a prolonged period of data center downtime cost your business? It’s not an easy question to answer, because the indirect costs are so diverse: you might lose sales, sure, but there could also be hours of employee productivity, mission-critical data and your company’s reputation headed down the pan.
Storagepipe’s Downtime Cost Calculator may not account for all of these factors, but it’s still a good starting point for thinking about how the losses associated with outages can quickly spiral out of control – not least because it shows them ascending second by second. To determine the level of availability you can realistically expect from your data center, another useful tool is Uptime.is.
Backup Capacity Calculator
The Backup Capacity Calculator from WintelGuy is a phenomenally well-equipped tool for checking how much storage space you’ll need to carry out a backup plan that meets the needs of your business. Adjustable metrics include the size of your core data set, the percentage change between backups, and even your expected compression and deduplication ratios. It’s never easy to know exactly how much capacity your proposed backup strategy requires, so revisit this calculator to help you set realistic targets and plan your cloud or server spend accordingly.
As you work through your annual budget and consider new solution upgrades, these tools should help you further understand the impact of any changes to both your capital and operational expenses. They’ll also help you to make better decisions that will ultimately improve your bottom line.