If you’re running a restaurant, you would do your best to avoid food spoilage. You’d also want to prepare orders properly so they don’t get sent back to the kitchen by unsatisfied diners. Waste erodes profit, so you want to minimize waste as much as possible.
This mentality should be the same when businesses use cloud services. Surely, you save money by leveraging a cloud provider’s servers and staff instead of having these in house. However, if you’re not careful, you may lose your initial savings and even overspend on the cloud. The good news is that these outcomes are avoidable. Here are tips to ensure that you optimize your cloud spend.
Automate abnormal cloud performance alerts
Manually tracking cloud resource allocations on spreadsheets is tedious and time-consuming. By the time you notice patterns of abnormal cloud activities that could cause costs to shoot up, you’d already be too late. To increase your response times, use cloud cost management tools to keep an eye on your cloud environment — the best ones offer continuous cost reporting and automatically alert you of trends that do not optimize cloud spend.
Put audit processes in place
Vigilance is key in ensuring that your cloud investments are productive. Basic cloud cost tracking tools, such as Amazon Web Services’s Cost Explorer, can show your cloud usage over time and help you manage cloud costs. Note that these tools might only provide a high-level view of spending.
A granular view of cloud costs will allow you to attribute cloud costs to specific business activities, such as the utilization of cloud servers to support business apps. For this, you’ll want to work closely with a cloud service provider that can grant you business intelligence insights. Such insights can tell you which cloud-powered business activities burn money and which ones give you a license to print money.
Do cloud migration in stages
Many businesses migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud to optimize their workflows. However, migrating everything all at once increases the likelihood that most, if not all, of the existing inefficiencies are ported into your new cloud-based system as well.
By migrating in stages, the process of ironing out kinks becomes more manageable. Not only that, but you also allow your staff time to adapt to the new cloud environment. Managers also need time to dismantle wasteful practices and take an iterative approach to improving processes.
Directly setting and adjusting your consumption of cloud services can be tedious and error-prone. For instance, you may allocate too many resources and end up overspending on the cloud. This is why many managers use the auto-scaling feature of their cloud providers to dynamically adjust resource allocation based on the demands placed on cloud environments.
While auto-scaling works great when your business needs to scale up its use of the cloud, it’s awful when it’s time to scale back down again. Usually, you have to terminate excess cloud instances manually — and failing to do so could lead to massive bill shock!
To enjoy the auto-scaling feature and dampen bill shocks, apply minimum and maximum capacity limits. The upper limits, in particular, prevent runaway costs while still granting you sufficient capacity to handle resource-intensive incidents like surges in website traffic.