1U Colocation America, /24 IP Range
Monthly cost: ~$250/month
Yearly cost: 12 x 250 = $3000
5 year cost: 5 x $3000 = $15K
Last I looked, 1U was more like $225 with that many IPs. And I think typically you'd get fewer for a lot less cost and/or go IPv6. /24 is two IPs per VM. No need to pay for that.
Yes, the basic 1U was $100 with two power outlets and then you get four usable IPv4s.
A smaller server, say 16c EPYC, 128GB RAM, 2x500GB SSD, would be about $3500 and something even smaller, like a 8c Xeon @ 3.7Ghz, 64GB RAM, 2x500GB SSD around $2K.
So you could scale down everything substantially if you wanted. But if all you are doing is running a few very small workloads then a couple of $5 Vultr VM would be cheaper.
another factor is - are you running windows VMs, likely always cheaper to have your own hardware, but yeah, the amount of workloads definitely plays a factor here.
That's true, Windows workloads make cloud computing harder to justify. Not much, but a little.