Best tools for cutting cloud costs

As you move workloads to the cloud, you’ve probably already discovered that keeping track of your monthly cloud computing bills isn't easy.

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Cutting cloud costs

As you move workloads to the cloud, you’ve probably already discovered that keeping track of your monthly cloud computing bills isn't easy.

For this article, we looked at five shopping comparison services: Cloudorado, CloudHarmony’s CloudSquare, CloudSpectator, Datapipe and RightScale’s PlanForCloud.com. Each brings something unique to the table. The services either go wide or deep but generally don’t do both, so you’ll probably want to make use of at least two or more.

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Cloudorado Cloud Hosting Comparison

Cloudorado looks at 26 cloud providers, a nice mix of the majors and up-and-coming players. Providers pay to be listed so you aren’t charged any fees. So even though it is a pay-for-play site, it is worth examining for its insights and side-by-side comparisons. You can calculate costs by distributing a workload across different RAM and CPU configurations. In some cases you can cut your bills significantly if you distribute things in this fashion by renting smaller VM instances. Cloudorado also breaks down each cloud computing provider’s offer into more than 130 distinct features. It has a nicely designed user interface that is very straightforward to use.

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CloudHarmony’s CloudSquare

CloudHarmony offers a variety of paid consulting services. CloudSquare is a series of free interactive reports that look at 95 providers. Drag and drop icons from the provider list and see the specifics of up to six offerings: compute, storage, CDN, DNS, PaaS and database services. There is a second series of comparisons for uptime status generated by Panopta for each of the providers. CloudHarmony also produces a regular series of in-depth reports on various items, such as managed DNS or compute services. These are done for a particular moment in time but are very comprehensive and are worth examining.

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CloudSpectator

CloudSpectator sells its analysis to enterprises and providers. They will benchmark internal systems to help an IT department figure out the total cost to move into the cloud. They also have two free offerings. One is a series of reports about cloud costs, performance, and other data, similar to CloudSquare.

They also have a second offering that provides interactive reports on seven providers: Digital Ocean, AWS, Rackspace, Google Cloud, Century Link, Profhost, and Microsoft Azure. All this information is presented graphically, which makes for pretty charts but not much in the analysis department.

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Datapipe Cloud Analytics for AWS

Datapipe has a number of offerings in the managed hosting space and they include a cloud costing service as part of their overall management tool. Basically, you allow them to manage your AWS accounts and they will provide analytics. This is designed for larger environments with fees starting at $3,500 a month. Once you connect the Datapipe tool to your AWS account, it starts reviewing your configuration for the various AWS offerings. It shows you changes in your running instances over time, which is unique. There is also a unique security review of your account. Datapipe will also help you figure out the reserved instances that you should purchase, based on your past account history. You can consolidate multiple AWS accounts into one dashboard, provided that Datapipe manages all of them.

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RightScale’s PlanForCloud.com

RightScale has its own cloud management and analytics business that they sell under the RightScale Cloud Analytics bundle of tools. They have a free 60-day trial, but otherwise this is geared towards larger enterprises, with fees starting at $6,000 per month. Their PlanForCloud service is a free offshoot and leverages some of the same information. They support just six cloud providers: AWS, Rackspace, Azure, Google Cloud, SoftLayer and HP’s cloud. The deployment scenario starts with a model where you purchase a particular virtual server, attach resources such as RAM and CPUs, and then specify a growth pattern. You can create a free account, which enables you to save your scenarios so you can access them later. One nice feature about PlanForCloud is that it allows you to assemble deployment scenarios by mixing and matching across their preferred six providers. That is an interesting twist that none of the other costing services can offer.