The commercial cloud computing (CCC) industry has reached a level of maturity to make it a truly viable alternative to the traditional, in-house data center. Although there are many notable examples of CCC platforms and technologies being piloted for high performance computing (HPC) tasks, it has yet to enter the mainstream. A variety of obstacles exist which have slowed or hindered adoption of CCC platforms, including implementation complexity, cost confusion, and security concerns. This paper describes the author’s experiences in using CCC for various HPC tasks and compares the results to the same tasks being executed on in-house computing resources. The breakpoint at which CCC becomes more costly than in-house equipment is identified. Lastly, a series of “lessons learned” are presented to assist researchers in effectively interacting with CCC vendors and platforms.