Controlling the cloud spend

3 mins. read
Vinay Gadiya
Presales Solution Architect

In the last blog (link it), I discussed the momentum-gaining trend of Public Cloud Repatriation which explains the reasons, its impact and what is the path forward. But repatriation is a process that will also face similar challenges to what organizations have faced after moving to the public cloud like operational incompetencies, architecture change, and a big addition of Hardware and its operations capabilities if moving to an on-premises platform. There are other types of organizations that have either fully embraced the Cloud as their primary IT solution without ever having to deal with on-premise self-operated systems (born in the Cloud) or have chosen to remain in the Cloud due to the various business and environmental changes they have undergone, such as mergers & acquisitions or the platforms they started using like Cloud provided Deep Analytics solution, that has made returning to traditional IT solutions impractical or undesirable.

The common challenge for all these organizations is they are facing increased cloud spending every month and now facing pressure to reduce the spending on IT due to growth and business expansion plans. According to a recent report by Flexera, almost 30% of cloud spend is wasted due to lack of visibility, optimization, and governance. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to implement some best practices to control public cloud spend and maximize the return on investment. So what are the practices to follow and the impact to be monetized and tracked using each method? Here is a brief about these:

  1. Know the Cloud Spend: The first step to controlling the cloud spend is to know the cloud spend. This helps in identifying the actual cloud spend in detail and going into the depth of the cloud spend. Here we are not talking about running a tool from any vendor and going through the output. We are talking about understanding each cost item in detail while going into the depth of the service and its utility for the organization. 
  2. Define a cloud budget and track it regularly: The next step is to set a realistic and clear budget for the cloud services and monitor it closely. This will help you identify the actual usage and costs of the cloud resources and compare them with the expected ones. You can use various tools and dashboards to track cloud spending and get alerts when you exceed the budget or when there are any anomalies or spikes in usage. Note: This is not the IT budget, it is the cloud budget we are talking about. Cloud budget may be a subset of the entire IT budget and organizations should be very diligent in identifying the right number. 
  3. Optimize the cloud resources and eliminate waste: This means that you should use the right size and type of cloud resources for your workload and performance requirements, and scale them up or down as needed. You should also delete/turn-off any unused or idle cloud resources, such as instances, storage, or databases, that are not needed anymore. Use policies to schedule or trigger the scaling or termination of the cloud resources based on the demand or usage patterns via automation tools. But while doing this, make sure that the control and security are not compromised. 
  4. Implement cloud governance: Implement a cloud governance program in the organization that defines the roles & responsibilities, and rules for utilizing the cloud services. This will help prevent any illicit or unnecessary usage while meeting the compliance, security, and quality of the cloud services. You can use various frameworks and methodologies to enforce cloud governance, like access control, alerts, reporting, tagging, permissions & approvals, and timely auditing. Sometimes organizations need to choose a tough path which may be diluting cloud benefits like auto-scaling to make sure that things fall in place. 
  5. Review and optimize your cloud architecture and design: Organizations should use the best practices and principles of cloud-native design, such as serverless computing, microservices, containers & orchestration, automation, etc., to improve the scalability, reliability, and performance of their cloud applications and services. Organizations should also leverage the managed services solutions provided by the cloud vendors like caching services, databases, analytics, load balancing, etc., which will reduce the operational overhead and complexity in management. But before choosing any of these technologies, do proper due diligence on the requirements. For eg. I have seen people choosing Database as a service from the cloud provider but due to access control restrictions and application/business requirements, they had to fall back to a VM-based approach. 
  6. Leverage cloud discounts and savings plans: Another action that can be utilized is to leverage the cloud discounts and savings plans that are offered by the cloud providers. These include committed use discounts, reserved instances, savings plans, spot instances, and enterprise agreements. These options allow you to pay less for cloud resources by committing to a certain amount or duration of usage or by using spare or excess capacity. However, you should carefully evaluate your workload and usage patterns before choosing these options, as they may have some trade-offs or limitations. 

It is crucial to establish a comprehensive strategy and effective project management to achieve the desired outcomes, as these practices will inevitably intersect and necessitate a cohesive approach. Furthermore, obtaining buy-in from all relevant stakeholders and seeking their input before implementing any changes is critical in avoiding past obstacles and ensuring success. By following these basics, organizations can control public cloud spend and optimize the cloud strategy and operations while achieving business goals and objectives. 

And again, highlights the same point I spoke about in the last Blog: “Do not implement any technology” without the “challenge benefit” analysis. Choose the right-fit solution & approach for the organization and do not hesitate to call an expert. All this requires the right expertise, experience, and tools to make the right decision and transition management. 

Reach out to Huco experts to evaluate forthcoming or existing cloud spend to ensure continuous optimization of costs.

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