How To Optimize Cloud Costs


The top cloud initiative in 2019 for businesses is optimizing cloud costs, according to a RightScale / Flexera survey.

Sixty-four percent of organizations said they wanted to optimize their existing cloud usage this year, an increase from 58% in 2018.

What’s more, companies who have more cloud experience cite optimizing costs as a more pressing initiative.

Below are a few ways that cloud users can optimize their spend on cloud technologies.

Find Where Cloud Resources Are Wasted

On average, RightScale / Flexera found that organizations rely on five clouds, a slight increase from 2018.

However, this may be too much.

Respondents estimated that 27% of their cloud spend is wasted.

The researchers disagreed and estimated an additional 8% waste, suggesting that cloud users are wasting a total of 35% of their cloud spend.

In total, this amounts to $10 billion in expenditures every year among the top three cloud providers: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Companies can find what they’re wasting on these platforms by using monitoring systems developed by the providers, such as Amazon CloudWatch and Azure Monitor. Google’s Stackdriver Monitoring service works for both Google Cloud Platform and AWS.

Benefits of these services generally include:

  • Using one platform to access data about your cloud instances.
  • Visibility into your cloud setup.
  • Identifying trends, preventing issues, and sending you alerts about your cloud instances.
  • Uptime monitoring.

Invest in a monitoring service that helps you save more than you spend on your clouds.

Automate Cloud Policies and Controls

One of the more wasteful areas of cloud spending is manually inspecting and updating cloud instances.

That’s why automating cloud policies and controls is necessary to save on costs, among other benefits.

Survey respondents said their companies have implemented various automatic actions for their cloud deployments. These automated actions include:

  1. Shutting down workloads after hours - 35%
  2. Rightsizing instances - 31%
  3. Requiring tags - 32%
  4. Specifying expiration dates - 29%
  5. Eliminating inactive storage - 24%

Automating your clouds helps you optimize costs.

Identify Cloud Discounts

The survey found that a surprising amount of customers don’t take advantage of the discounts offered by the three main providers.

For example, less than half (47%) of AWS customers used AWS Reserved Instances. Less than a quarter (23%) of users used Azure Reserved Instances. Finally, only 10% of GCP customers used Google Committed Use Discounts.

Check to see whether your cloud provider offers discounts. If so, consult with them to modify your plan.

As businesses look to increase their cloud usage, it makes sense that they’d want to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth. By developing a team internally or working with an outside partner to identify waste, automating policies, and leveraging discounts, companies can get the most out of their clouds.

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