Overengineering is one of the leading causes of cloud cost overruns and long-term functionality and cost effectiveness, and one that isn’t going away soon.
Overengineering is one of the leading causes of cloud budget overruns and long-term cloud project failures, and due to a shortage of technically proficient cloud engineers, the issue is unlikely to go away any time soon.
In most programming areas, overengineering is not a good thing, but it is being felt heavily in the cloud industry, which has seen a sharp uptake in demand following the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Gartner, end-user spending on public cloud services will reach $500 billion by the end of 2022.
There are plenty of reasons why organizations tend to overengineer their cloud service. One of the most common is the lack of centralized control of all cloud operations, which can lead to different teams working on subprojects independent of each other. Without a consistent development structure, organizations may find they have more moving parts that do not effectively work together.
Due to this lack of consistent leadership or structure, organizations which have migrated to the cloud with the goal of lowering costs may be disappointed with the end results. Cloud sprawl, which occurs when an organization does not properly audit the proliferation of services or providers, is much more likely to occur if the organization does not have consistent, centralized structure for cloud projects.
“There is no one way to do cloud architecture, but the most successful cloud architects keep a close eye on centralized efficiency and cost optimization,” said author at InfoWorld, David Linthicum. “Overengineering happens when we add too many unnecessary features just because we can. These features drive up the costs without a counterbalancing ROI. Value-added cloud architecture typically happens when the least amount of overengineering takes place.”
A lack of broad cloud knowledge is also a factor that can lead to overengineering, as organizations hire cloud engineers who have not been involved in the management of a cloud project before and cannot see the full picture. These engineers are not often at fault however, as organizations put speed above everything else, leading to a cloud project which is completed quickly but at a higher cost than originally budgeted.
“As one developer succinctly put it, overengineering is like snoring: no one thinks they do it,” said Anastasia Osypenko, a market researcher at MadAppGang. “It’s true that overengineering can be tricky to spot, but there are ways to avoid the issue. When searching for a development team, find out if they have similar projects in their portfolio, ask how they build their processes and how much you will be involved. The latter point is important because understanding your goals and communicating them to the team is half the battle.”