Most organizations that move into the cloud sooner or later find themselves grappling with cloud cost control challenges. The consequences of poorly planned cloud investments may result in the business perpetually guessing. At the same time, the bills for metered services continue to mount, and cloud services are often overallocated or underutilized.
No business can afford that. Failing to optimize your cloud costs gives you expensive overheads and does away with the competitive edge you could gain from the cloud.
The solution to this is cloud cost management. As a growing business, you’ve got to understand and apply sensible cloud cost management if you are to maximize usage while staying within the budget.
What is Cloud Cost Control?
Cloud cost control is the process of monitoring, measuring, and controlling the costs associated with the cloud services your business uses. When it comes to cloud costs, management involves identifying mismanaged resources, eliminating waste, scaling computing services, and reserving capacity for higher discounts.
The goal of cloud cost management, and essentially, cost control, is to help your business find the most effective ways to maximize cloud usage at the lowest possible price.
Advantages of Cloud Cost Control
This one is a no-brainer. The most obvious benefit of cloud cost control is decreased costs. As a business, you want to take a proactive approach to planning your cloud costs to ensure that you don’t overspend or with unused resources. This opens the door to taking advantage of discounts based on volume or advanced payments.
When seeking to control your cloud costs, you should look at spending to reduce waste and make the most of the resources you pay for. Tactics such as automatic scaling and load balancing come to play here, ensuring efficient resource usage.
Cloud cost control brings another key benefit: predictability. By keeping your costs in check, you can increase resource utilization but also gain plenty of valuable data from monitoring usage patterns over time. Why is that important? Because it allows you to forecast future cloud costs more efficiently.
An advantage of cloud cost control is rightsizing or ensuring that your chosen resources are the right fit for your business.
Overprovisioning is a common habit among engineers who prefer spending more money for a good night’s sleep, free of any worries around their application’s availability or performance. On the other hand, underprovisioning is dangerous because it leads to a decline in performance.
With careful cloud cost control, you’ll be able to smooth out performance without increasing costs.
It’s practically impossible to practice reasonable cloud cost control without having detailed visibility into your business’s usage and cloud architecture. This visibility is an advantage to your business in areas outside of costs, such as governance and security.
So, how can your teams start to control cloud costs?
Cloud Cost Control Strategies
Rightsizing is hands down the most effective way to control cloud costs. It involves continually analyzing instance performance and user needs and patterns. Another key part of this technique is turning off any idle instances and rightsizing instances that could either be overprovisioned or poorly matched to the workload in question. Overall, rightsizing is all about finding the optimal cloud configuration to maximize your performance at the lowest possible cost.
Consider establishing a rightsizing schedule for each team, enforcing tagging practices for all cloud resources, and taking full advantage of the cloud cost management tools.
Removing Unused Instances
If you are not using an instance, what’s the point of keeping it around or paying for it? Shadow IT projects or instances left running after an experiment is done are common problems companies encounter. Removing unused instances contributes significantly to cost savings and is integral to the security of your IT infrastructure since unused resources may be a vulnerability.
Discount instances do not always guarantee availability. As such, this might not be appropriate for business-critical workloads that must run constantly. Still, these discount instances should come in handy for occasional use, which contributes to significant cost savings.
Prevent Cloud Sprawl
Cloud sprawl refers to the uncontrolled proliferation of cloud resources. The latter is to blame for a lot of the cloud bill spikes you might experience when your business fails to eliminate cloud services that are no longer part of your overall strategy.
It would be best if you established proper visibility into your cloud environment with infrastructure and application monitoring and management tools. Additionally, consider setting up company policies that stipulate when and how to decommission cloud resources that no longer serve your purpose.
While IT strategies go a long way in helping with cost-cutting, you need to back them up with an organizational strategy. This could include creating budgets and setting policies around cloud usage.
Consider taking advantage of cloud automation that can configure and manage your cloud computing services where possible. What’s more, you could automate tasks such as backup and storage, code deployment, settings, security and compliance, and configuration. This will reduce the amount of human intervention needed around the cloud, saving you IT staff costs.
Another cost reduction strategy you can apply is automated scaling. This allows your business to scale up its resources as the need arises and smoothly scale down to avoid the cost of maximum utilization.
If you’re anything like most teams, you are likely finding the control of cloud costs quite challenging. For starters, cloud costs are constantly changing, and cost visibility is more complicated than it sounds.
What’s more, with multi cloud, you get multiplied problems that only exacerbate the resource demands that your business already has to deal with. Finally, cost management requires manual work, which might mean some of your resources are redirected from your core business.
Winning companies automate their cloud optimization, which translates to greater control of cloud costs. In our Best Cloud Cost Management comparison you will find a list of top-notch tools to automate cloud cost optimization and management.
Best Cloud Cost Management Tools
Catch our summary of the best cloud cost management and optimization tools in 2022
Unless stated otherwise, all cloud cost management and optimization solutions covered below are compatible with top public cloud providers – AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
Here’s what makes each of them stand out:
- CAST AI – an autonomous cloud optimization solution embracing the full power of automation to guarantee massive savings.
- Spot.io – a cloud optimization solution achieving significant savings and improvements thanks to automating spot instances.
- Harness – a cloud management module and BI tools focused on cost transparency, optimization, and governance with some automation features.
- Apptio Cloudability – financial management tools for monitoring, allocating, and analyzing cloud costs supporting multi-cloud and automating specific tasks.
- Cloudcheckr – detailed cloud cost reporting, allocation, and optimization recommendations for manual implementation.
- Kubecost – a comprehensive Kubernetes cost management solution teams can use for improved visibility, allocation, and real-time alerts.