Cloud adoption continues to be one of the fastest growing strategies for businesses looking to streamline their processes – Gartner forecasts that public end-user spending will grow by 23% in 2021. But many are finding it overwhelming to control Cloud costs, and rightfully so, it is a complex problem. On average businesses waste 30% of their cloud spend. So it’s necessary to monitor your Cloud spend and understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Managing Cloud costs isn’t just a concern for operations. It takes a larger initiative to get it right between all relevant parties such as governance, architecture, operations, product management, finance and application development. We’ve identified key areas of business that you should be looking in to perfect your Cloud cost management strategy.
Regular environment auditing
Stop paying for idle resources
Cloud services can be used in many ways across your business, but you could end up paying for resources which aren’t in use. One of the main reasons for unexpected costs is due to reduced visibility. That’s why it’s important to regularly identify unused resources and stop the charges, or work on scaling idle resources when they aren’t in use.
For example, a VM might be deployed but later get deleted when it’s no longer needed. Often the storage/data disks for the machine aren’t deleted, causing businesses to pay for disks that aren’t attached to an VM.
Review your machine sizes
We recommend that you review your machine sizes regularly, and also adjust the machine to the correct size for the workload it uses. It’s pretty often where machines can be over spec’d, or the machine probably isn’t carrying out the workload it previously did. So by simply changing your VM size, you can dramatically cut costs.
It’s also quite common for IT staff to spin up a new instance to rectify a short time issue, but once they’re finished, they forget to turn it off and that’s when costs can start spiralling – that’s an extra spend that your business doesn’t need.
And you can even right-size your instances – something which fewer than half of businesses don't do even though it’s one of the key methods to control Cloud costs. Most leading providers will let you choose what you want to run, with your desired duration. This ensures that the instance will run whenever the capacity is available.
If you’re currently with Azure, implementing start-stop automation means you can simply turn off non-essential servers during user-defined schedules when the VM's aren’t needed, and turn them back on when they are. Saving money on compute costs.
Whilst it isn’t possible to turn off all servers, a good cloud partner can provide the required consultancy services to help you understand all the possibilities and reduce your costs.
Regular spend monitoring
All businesses should be monitoring their spend on a daily basis, and not just weekly or quarterly – that’s how you can end up with unexpected costs. Take Microsoft Azure Monitor as an example, their monitoring solution scales usage depending on data. It even sends admins alerts to track unused resources which can help your business to control your spending. And like we previously mentioned, Cloud cost control isn’t just an operational issue, it does involve the wider team. So your finance team for example will want to know where and when budgets are being spent.
Cloud access and control
People within your business will use the Cloud in different ways, and your IT team may not have visibility into how the resources are being used. So you have to ask yourself, are you aware of who is using what resource in your business? Compliance and governance policies are crucial in today’s digital world, so you should be aware of how you’re allocating permissions. But you’d be surprised of just how many businesses are unaware of who has access to what Cloud resources.
The great thing about the Cloud is its ability to apply compliance controls. But many businesses either find it challenging to set the controls during the configuration process, or it simply goes unnoticed. And if it’s something businesses eventually look into at a later time, costs can immediately shoot up.
The key pointer to note is that compliance and controls isn’t something to think about post implementation, environments should be set up correctly from the get-go, and it’s something that IT leaders should be investing time in during planning and project scoping.
Remember that Cloud isn’t a station, it’s a journey, and there’s always more you can be doing to optimise your environment and save costs.
Our Cloud team constantly work closely with our clients to identify cost saving opportunities and work on strategies to optimise their cloud experience during their journey. To find out more, contact our Cloud experts today.