Six Tactics to Quickly Gain Cloud Cost Control

With investments in cloud growing, there’s no better time to implement cost controls to optimize cloud resources and reduce waste.

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According to IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Survey, cloud spending now represents roughly one-third of all IT spend, with continued shifts toward cloud expected. With a majority planning to use cloud services for over half of their infrastructure and applications, it is perhaps not surprising that the leading challenge flagged by 40 percent of the survey’s respondents was “controlling cloud costs.”

While there is no single silver bullet for managing cloud costs, the following strategies, when used in tandem, can help you quickly gain greater cost control. For example, a large media enterprise saved $250,000 a quarter by blending these cost control techniques, the largest portion of which can be attributed to a new resource tagging and enforcement regime. 

Try these tactics for controlling cloud costs:

1. Tag your resources. By tagging cloud resources with key information like asset owner, cost center, business unit, project and more, enterprises can better associate assets with AWS costs, which in turn link to traditional financial reporting. A tag “style guide” will make this job easier and more consistent for better results.

2. Find unused resources. While it’s common to need a short-lived simple EC2 instance or cluster to quickly test something, once cloud users are done with it, it is also very common to forget to shut down or terminate these instances. To save expenses, set up a resource monitoring tool such as Cloud Custodian to automatically shut down resources after a given time (say two weeks) unless they are tagged to indicate the resource should stay up and running.

3. Identify idle and underutilized resources. Often hiding in plain sight, idle resources can be located with tags and shut down, saving unnecessary spend. Tools like AWS Cost Explorer can help you automatically identify idle instances across accounts and regions.
Long-lived non-production environments are commonly underutilized as development teams use them during work hours. For example, if an application is serverless, you will pay for only what you use. Yet, if the application runs EC2 instances and is left to run overnight and over the weekends, the meter will continue to run as well, costing up to 4x more than necessary. To avoid these unneeded costs, enterprises can use AWS Instance Scheduler

4. Schedule instances. One of the benefits of cloud is that you only pay for what you use. As not every workload needs 24x7 availability, consider implementing a scheduler, like AWS lifecycle managers and Kubernetes’ scheduler, to automate the start and stop times of jobs.

5. Review where services run. There can be a great deal of cost variance between regions, so it’s important to choose wisely where your services run. For example, EC2 pricing in the US East trends lower for on-demand, extra-large instances than it does in the US West Region.

6. Build in cost control rules. Tools like AWS Budgets allow you to create alarms that alert you when budget thresholds are reached. Additionally, enterprises can create exclusion lists of those license or instance types that should not be used in order to avoid fees associated with them. For example, identify marketplace instances that could include software license fees.

With investments in cloud computing continuing to escalate, there is no better time to implement cost controls and optimize cloud resources to deliver business results with as little waste as possible. Moreover, as cloud environments continue to grow and evolve with new services introduced regularly, enterprises should continuously monitor and review their cloud resources to ensure ongoing compliance to their cost-related goals.

Control Cloud Costs and Grow Productivity

Flux7’s cloud enablement services help businesses establish and scale digital platforms that create business advantage in disruptive markets. By combining consulting services, agile delivery, and advanced cloud technology and integration solutions, Flux7 helps enterprises define and execute a practical and progressive roadmap to create business advantage through digital innovation and operational excellence.

Learn how Flux7 can help you assess your cloud infrastructure spending, introducing cost controls that optimize cloud resources for long-term agility at https://www.flux7.com/.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.