How Do You Optimize Your Cloud Costs? 9 Efficient Solutions at Hand

So, it looks like you, too, are struggling with the same challenge that many organizations are facing: you already have or you risk to outspend your cloud budget. And so you wonder: how you can optimize your cloud costs?

What are some accessible, yet efficient ways to keep a steadier control of your cloud spending? Especially if it's a multi-cloud environment that you're running...

Now, here are 9 simple, yet powerful steps that you can take to keep your cloud costs under control:

1. But First: The 2 Main Reasons Why You Lose Track of Your Cloud Spending

Wait... are there other “culprits” that you can put the blame on for your organization's struggle to manage its cloud service expense?

There are, actually:

  1. spending a too high amount of your budget on public cloud services (instead of private ones)
  2. having trouble forecasting cloud usage and, implicitly, the unplanned costs that go with it

The lack of transparency and unpredictable cloud costs makes it twice as challenging to keep track of your spendings...

2. 3 Biggest Challenges In Managing Your Cloud Costs

Now, before we get to the solutions to optimize your cloud costs, let's review the main challenges for controlling them that you're facing:

  1. you run a heavy, intricate multi-cloud environment (and, according to Gartner, 86% of the companies will be using multiple public cloud providers by 2020), therefore costs vary a lot from one provider to another
  2. your team hasn't yet switched from the old principles governing a traditional data center to those specific to cloud infrastructure; they still lack the practice and the know-how to properly manage cloud costs
  3. with so many cloud cost optimization tools to choose from, the struggle is real: how do you identify the one that fits perfectly into your own cloud strategy?

3. 9 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Cloud Costs

3.1. Set Up an Asset Management Process

Efficiently managing your assets is crucial for keeping track of and keeping your cloud spending within budget.

For, you know how things work: it's too tempting, too easy to just send data to the cloud, to make use of those resources and skipping to notify the IT department about it.

The easiest way to address this major issue in most organizations using cloud computing is to set a robust asset management system in place. This will identify and alert the IT about any new attempt of using cloud resources “undercover”.

Furthermore, such a system will detect all:

  • unused instances that are just “lingering” in there; someone in your team has quickly created a new instance and, once no longer needed, has forgotten all about it...
  • underused cloud services 

3.2. Consider Implementing a CSEM Solution

For you'd then hit three targets with one shoot:

  1. you'd strengthen the security shield around your cloud environment; a CSEM solution's ideal for mitigating risk during specific cloud operations
  2. you'd boost performance
  3. you'd cut down costs

Piece of advice: don't select your CSEM solution based on cost optimization criteria only; instead, make sure that it aligns perfectly with your whole cloud strategy.

3.3. Get Rid of Excess Data

This is the most straightforward and the most effective way to optimize your cloud costs.

And building up data clutter in your cloud is almost unavoidable: 

  • first, you postpone filtering out incoming data and you just store it all in your data center
  • then, to free it of some of its load, you push all the unused data to the cloud

Now's time to clean it up: separate useful data from... mere clutter and remove all excess data.

3.4. Assess the Value of Your Current Cloud Management Solution

Are you leveraging the best cloud management solution for your own organizational cloud strategy, specific needs and IT infrastructure

Now, here are 10 criteria to evaluate it by. 10 essential capabilities to test first things first:

  • discount management 
  • cost forecasting 
  • service provider capabilities 
  • allocation and tagging  
  • dashboard and reporting 
  • role-based access control
  • events and notifications 
  • reserved instance management 
  • budget management 
  • cost optimization 

3.5. Avoid Vendor Lock-In

Don't go there, it's definitely a trap! 

Don't grow dependent on one of the big players in the public cloud market. Just think long-term: migrating to a new vendor, sometime in the future, will get particularly challenging and particularly... expensive, too.

3.6. Optimize Your IT Infrastructure

Optimize your IT resources and you'll implicitly optimize your cloud costs, too.

And this calls for a massive system and app restructuring so that you can free up both your cloud and on-premise resources and ensure that they're being wisely used.

3.7. Track and Optimize Your Usage of the Cloud

Opt for smart use of the cloud...

For, the more often you engage cloud resources, the more data you store in there... the higher the costs. Obviously...

3.8. Consider Using a Hybrid Cloud Management Solution

That if your cloud storage needs are a bit more complex.

The capabilities that an HCM solution provides fall into 2 main categories:

  • cloud cost management and control 
  • template creation, orchestration, automation, compliance, and brokerage

3.9. Implement a Tag Management System

Another best practice to optimize your cloud costs is to make your team aware of the critical importance of tagging their workloads whenever they use the cloud.

And these accurate tags could indicate a whole lot of things:

  • the service/app that workload is destined for 
  • whether it's a production or still a dev workload
  • the specific department to be charged
  • the compliance requirements that it should meet
  • its expiry date

Note: consider using automation tools that would close workloads on their due date and send out alerts to cloud users in your team in case they “overlook” to tag their workloads...

4. Final Tip for Keeping Your Cloud Costs Within Budget

My final advice for you, if you're struggling to optimize your cloud costs, is to encourage strong collaboration between your IT and your finance department.

Your finance team will make your best allies whenever you need to:

  • forecast cloud costs 
  • determine whether the cloud cost model that your IT team has set up is, indeed, realistic

The END!


Photo by An Tran on Unsplash