Managing the costs of cloud

There are two types of cloud users today. There are those that are just starting to ramp up their usage of cloud technologies and there are those that are pretty much “all-in” and have been in the cloud for a while. For both camps, managing the costs of cloud resources is important for anyone who has adopted cloud technologies.

For most businesses managing the costs of cloud investments is in the top 3 of concerns along with security and compliance.

So how do you get the most out of your the cloud without continually throwing money at it? First off, you need to know where you stand right now.

Over time ICT administrators continue to spin up new resources and allocate storage. More often than not cloud resources are increased and never decreased. Cloud infrastructure is rarely piowered off and removed when it’s not longer needed.

Wastage is the #1 enemy

Eliminating wastage is the first and best way of manaing the costs of cloud. In most of the environments we bring under management the resource usage of cloud is well out of control.

Moving development and test workloads to the cloud is one of the most popular ways that businesses leverage cloud technology. The pay-as-you-go model works is really efficient with cloud for non-production workloads.

If you have non-production workloads in the cloud today you may be able to reduce wastage by up to 75% right now. And you can reclaim these savings without deleting any infrastructure or data.

Non-production workloads may only be used during business hours. As the cloud is charged for all resources as they are consumed, or powered on. You can realised cost savings by shutting down non-production workloads out of business hours.

Wastage in the cloud

 

If your environment is not powered on you won’t get billed for it.

Another way to cut out wastage is to perform a complete audit on your systems. This may take some time and may involve a few people or an external consultant. You should go through your cloud platform and look for virtual machines with oversized CPU, excessive RAM configuration and more storage than required.

Managing the costs of cloud successfully

Bringing the costs of your cloud under control is an ongoing process. It shouldn’t be a battle if you have procedures in place and ensure that all your staff are on-board.

Here’s 3 things you can do today to stop your cloud costs getting out of control.

  • As we’ve mentioned above, find ways where you can eliminate wastage. Powering machines off when they aren’t in use is a really easy thing to do from the get-go. Most cloud environments will allow you to setup power off and power on schedules which will also prevent your staff forgetting to turn servers off.
  • Sizing you virtual machines properly is certainly going to put you in a better position to managing the costs of your cloud deployment. For this step your team will need to check all your virtual machines and reduce the CPU, RAM and storage usage for each server. If your team isn’t up to speed with reviewing the performance and resource usage of your servers it may be worthwhile getting someone in to help. This can be done on either on a project or time and materials basis.
  • Putting in controls around who can spin up resources will help ensure that you are on top of all the workloads you put in the cloud. Without the right policies and procedures to deploy cloud resources your costs may spiral out of control really quickly. Without these controls, your staff is going to fall back into their old ways of provisioning new cloud-based servers with more CPU and RAM than they need.

Managing the costs of the cloud is an ongoing challenge. More often than not we are seeing deployments where cloud costs are just growing exponentially.

We see that many IT departments are using cloud as an alternative to asking for more physical infrastructure. As the costs start to skyrocket though, questions may be asked and constraints need to be put in play. Over the longer term you’re going to be a lot better off if you can manage the costs from the start of your cloud journey.

If you want to take it to the next level you’ll need to look at how you are delivering your applications and data in the cloud. There may be ways where you can improve on security and performance while reducing costs.