Entrepreneurs and small businesses are increasingly opting to migrate their critical applications to the cloud. The benefits of doing so are quite evident; but, if you are not keeping a watchful eye, the cost of moving to the cloud can come with a hefty price tag. Let’s dive into learning pragmatic ways to reduce your cloud spend.
With every passing year, the rate of cloud adoption is increasing. More businesses are looking at moving over to the cloud. Gartner points out, “Through 2022, Gartner projects the market size and growth of the cloud services industry at three times the growth of overall IT services.” There can be many advantages to move to the cloud. Some of the important ones are adaptability, better-coordinated work, flexibility, redundancy, and cost. As per Intuit, 80% of small businesses will move to the cloud in 2020, and there is a good reason for it. Of all the reasons to move to the cloud, the most prominent one is the potential cost savings. Small businesses are usually on a tight budget, so moving to the cloud makes sense. The cloud gives the ability to turn CapEx into OpEx and the flexibility to spend based on their need. Unfortunately, most businesses experience the opposite of cost savings. This dichotomy occurs due to their slight lack of experience in a new domain (cloud hosting). That said, there are ways in which you can curtail your expense.
Provision what you need
Cloud governance is an essential aspect of Cloud Optimization. Cloud governance requires businesses to have some level of planning. Checks and balances need to be in place before allocating resources in the cloud. The ease of provisioning brings a lot of unintended consequences, like overprovisioning. For example, you needed a server with standard configuration? If not careful, you might end up extra provisioning storage, schedule multiple backup policies, perhaps add new rules for a web firewall, a load balancer. Each element starts to add up, and soon you are looking at a bloated expense report.
Don’t oversize your compute requirements. Many times you don’t need that extra vCPUs or vRAMs. Start with the right-sized infrastructure and grow when you feel the need. There is no need to lock in a bigger computing environment and keep spending more than what is required. Relook at existing configured instances and downsize them if they are not utilized.
Zombie assets are those cloud assets that are deployed but are not serving any purpose. They can spawn from the actions of an ex-employee or a service that is not relevant anymore as the application architecture might have changed. Kill these Zombie assets to unlock some savings. It’s also important to note that these Zombie assets may spawn more zombie assets. For example, a Zombie Backup process, if left running, will keep on creating more backups. An unchecked backup policy will generate more Zombie storage space. The storage space and the backup policy both are Zombie assets. Kill both!
Are you backing up your non-production servers? What is the retention policy of the backups? For example, if your policy allows production servers to be backed up and retained for more than six months, then such policies need to be reviewed. It is a policy question, but backup and retention policies need to be reviewed in the light of efficiency. Freeing up storage from this lever can add up.
Are you running your development servers 24X7? Power Off those assets that you don’t need. You can choose to switch off your non-production workload during non-business hours. You may also automate by using a scheduler to stop and start your instances. Setting up an efficient schedule with your non-production servers will help in reducing your Cloud spend!
Your choice of storage depends on the workload. The storage tier is dependent on the data activity type and usage. Long term retention workloads, for example, would need lower-cost storage. Similarly, high transaction, active production workloads would need a costlier higher performance storage tier.
Reserved Instances or RIs offer significantly reduced pricing in exchange for one or three-year commitments. They are much cheaper than pay as you go instances. Suppose you have a long term vision of having some workloads for a longer duration, you can opt to have the RI rate charged instead of pay as you go. Setting up the right instance will help you reduce your Cloud spend.
Unused EBS Volumes
In the case of AWS, if you spin up and power down your development server or any other EC2 instances, the chances are that you might be leaving behind orphaned storage. This storage is left unattached, and it accrues charges. If there are no workflows to delete them, they will continue to add to your overall spend.
Optimizing cloud costs is not just a matter of hygiene. You would need to define a robust dedicated plan to keep looking for opportunities to reduce your cloud spend. You can do well with automation and attempt to rein in the bulging cloud costs. It’s now well established that this is a high priority task for many businesses. As per Rightscale 2019, State of the Cloud report, the number 1 priority in 2019 was Cloud Cost Optimization.
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