As businesses around the world tackle uncertainties, executives are working hard to improve their cost management processes. One area of particular focus is optimizing the cost incurred by Cloud infrastructure and services.
There is huge room for enterprises when it comes to lowering their Cloud bills. A large number of Cloud accounts overspend on their infrastructure and services. This overspending adds a significant amount to the total Cloud expenditure of any company. Many Cloud providers bill by second or by the hour, therefore each second without a cost-saving strategy is a second that incurs additional cost.
By focusing on just the basics, a business can easily start saving, and these savings will increase over time. So, let’s discuss some strategies to get started on these savings: the easiest and quickest approach, and the more detailed and long-term processes.
Monitor Your Cloud Infrastructure
Before anything else, it is essential to set up some sort of monitoring capability that lets you know if you are doing things right. For example, AWS offers Tagging, which lets you shed light on where the problems are so that you can see what is over-provisioned or under-provisioned, and which applications cost you the most.
With specific products and services, you can get a deep understanding just with a bit of work. Most of companies can use the Cloud vendor’s billing monitoring systems to build budgets, warnings, tags, or resource divisions.
The more detailed monitoring, the better. It helps you understand the infrastructure, learn how things are bifurcated, and show how much money is spent on every application in development, production, or storage. Once these cost-saving steps are applied, these high-level observations can be leveraged to determine the efficacy of these steps over time.
Deep Into Your Cloud Computing Billing Model
No matter what Cloud vendor you use, you need to understand how you’re being billed, what are the alternative billing options, and which option suits your business the most. There are numerous ways to learn more about these billing models to make most of these services, keep costs to a minimum, and tweak the way you pay for the services to match your needs.
For example, AWS charges for servers in multiple ways, generally based on the computing capacity. Hence the difference in cost may often be as high as 75% for the same machine. To address this, you can lower the main server’s capacity and pay for a reserve capacity that would cover any increases for a few months. This solution is ideal if there is no plan to scale capacity in short to medium term, as it is undetectable on the user side and does not require you to change your entire fleet.
Another billing advice is planning before the capacity changes. Try to estimate the growth of your product, and understand how much computing capacity you will need in the future. Capacity can always be increased, but it’s possible to reduce costs drastically with better planning.
Start Automating Simple Stuff
Organizations are racing to maximize every second of their Cloud computing plan to increase their savings. Here, Automation can be a huge relief when it comes to short-term cost reduction in the Cloud.
Often companies keep unnecessary computing resources/instances running when not in use, which incurs higher cost than the resource generating income. There is almost no reason to run full computing instances 24/7, except on production servers or anything that generates revenue. Here, simple Automation can do the job as it allows users to easily shut down development, quality assurance, or user acceptance testing units when not in use. Reducing these active hours will definitely lower the bill.
Cloud storage cost is another option that complements automation. It is evident that more Cloud storage comes with higher costs, so implementing a life-cycle policy that determines duration and category of backups can be helpful.
Generally, non-production environments don’t really require backup. It is not a good practice to store historical data on developer actions on particular servers as it occupies unnecessary space. If you combine it with a robust life-cycle policy, Automation can reduce costs in storage overuse.
However, this is merely one possible use case among many. It shows that by setting up Automation, you can drastically reduce costs in a relatively short span of time. After the easier and quicker actions that will have instant impact, here are some of the more expensive yet long-term saving options.
Right-Sizing: Right Server Capacity is a Must
Besides Automation, one of the most complicated yet impactful cost-saving activities is right-sizing, which is all about finding the right capacity for your servers or storage.
Right-sizing comprises performance testing to understand how much capacity is needed, then sizing servers according to those results. Generally, these tests cost money, but Cloud management platforms offer this as one of their many services. Moreover, it can be done with an automated approach that can be modified for the evolving process. Developers also need to be capable of continuously responding to the tests.
This process is quite complicated and demanding. Still, its long-term payoff is far more reasonable as It shows the right capacity your organization requires in the Cloud services bill.
Architecting for the Cloud
Cloud Migration starts with a “lift and shift,” where companies migrate everything from an on-premise data center to a similar Cloud environment. This approach can get things up and running without much thought, but it doesn’t really gets the most out of Cloud infrastructure.
The biggest advantage of Cloud is the ability to use on-demand size and services, which often need companies to re-think their product architecture. For example, implementing a serverless approach to pay only for individual executions, instead of forking out for a full-blown server.
These steps are pretty beneficial, and organizations must spend time planning and ensuring that their operations are the right fit for specific Cloud services. Otherwise, they run the risk of paying a lot more. It is crucial to implement limiters, monitoring alerts, and budget configurations to keep risk at a minimum. Architecting for the Cloud is highly impactful as it forces you to get down to design level of your applications, and understand what services are actually needed. However, it demands a lot of commitment, and requires a highly skilled team that can adopt a cost-saving culture.