5 Key Strategies to Lower Your Cloud Costs

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It happens to us all. Bloat can happen. An apt analogy to cloud spend bloat is Thanksgiving, as the cornucopia of yum covers every piece of plate real estate. There are so many cloud tools and technological gravy to spin up and sample that good intentions are powerless to the runaway instances sitting idle, but still impacting your financial waistline.

DevOps teams want the perfect balance of being able to utilize the most noteworthy perks the cloud has to offer, while avoiding unexpected and underutilized costs. Check out some of the top considerations to avoid paying gold prices for the cloud’s silver lining:

1. Understanding and Analyzing Your Invoice

Before you jump straight into cutting costs, it is essential that you have reviewed and thoroughly understand the cloud-billing model. There is no way to prune expenses without first understanding exactly how your cloud vendors are billing you. Much like reminding your kids to shut off lights before it spikes your electric bill, your cloud resources are costing you every second they are being used. Take a thorough look through your bill and dive into how you are being charged and why.

2. Eliminating Unused Resources and Inactive Users

Most cloud models will issue common charges based on stored data and users accessing it. Eliminating unused resources and obsolete relationships may be obvious cost-cutting strategies, but are perhaps the most overlooked and underutilized. Tagging, tracking and pruning orphaned resources is going to be a major money-saver and is fairly instantaneous. As stated in a blog by ParkMyCloud, wasted cloud spend from orphaned resources was estimated to be over $17 billion in 2020. If you are not consistently auditing and scanning your cloud environment it’s like money is being spent and not delivering value.

3. Regular Scaling of Your Servers/Instances

After clearing out unused resources and users, excess server capacity is going to be even more apparent. According to AWS, “right sizing is the most effective way to control cloud costs.” Because your business needs are regularly changing, your cloud capacity is going to change right along with it. This continual process includes regular performance testing to analyze how and where you can scale your servers to optimize cost. Huge cost savings can be realized by right-sizing instances, purchasing reserved instances, and doing things like converting highly available (multi-AZ) databases and services to single-AZ services in non-production accounts. You can always upgrade when the needs arise, but ignoring opportunities to downsize is going to add up quickly. Though the development of the right assessments and testing patterns may cost you initially, the long-term savings are going to be well worth it.

4. Utilizing and Optimizing Automation Workflows

Automating your computing services not only saves your IT team the need for intervention and lowers the instance of manual error, but can save you money. Actions such as security scans, backup storage policies and minimizing computing runtime can be automated in order to reduce waste. Chances are, you can enable automations to shut down certain computing operations (such as Q.A. or development) that don’t need to be running constantly and in turn save money with the downtime. Take inventory of tasks your teams are still operating manually and consider how automation may relieve staff hours and cloud computing costs.

5. Implementing Ongoing Monitoring

Every single action in the cloud is metered. If you are not consistently monitoring day-to-day and overall usage, your bill can grow without receiving 100% of the cloud value. Here at Foghorn we love finding cloud bloat and underutilized resources to make sure everything you are paying for is working for YOU. Our Fog360 Cost solution leverages the budgeting and alerting tools that are already part of your AWS, Azure and GCP spend to optimize cloud costs. This proprietary and comprehensive toolset will give you the visibility and ongoing monitoring you need to make sure every penny spent has ROI. To learn more, register for our complimentary 2-hour Cost Optimization Workshop.