Ways to optimize costs of cloud environments

Cloud cost optimization is the process of reducing your overall cloud spend by identifying mismanaged resources, eliminating waste, reserving capacity for higher discounts, and Right Sizing computing services to scale.

The cloud offers organizations unlimited scalability and lower IT costs by only charging for the resources you use.  But the truth about Cloud environments pricing is that cloud customers are charged for the resources they order, whether they use them or not.

Practices to follow for cost optimization on cloud

1. Look for resources that haven't been used or aren't connected to anything else

The easiest way to optimize cloud costs is to look for unused or unattached resources. Often an administrator or developer might “spin up” a temporary server to perform a function and forget to turn it off when the job is done. In another common use case, the administrator may forget to remove storage attached to instances they terminate. This frequently happens in IT departments across the company. The result is that an organization’s bills will include charges for resources they once purchased but are no longer using. A cloud cost optimization strategy should start by identifying unused and completely unattached resources and removing them.

2. Choose the right size for the VMs

Azure offers many options in terms of the storage capacity and computing power of the VMs. Since it is a flexible infrastructure platform, businesses can quickly assess infrastructure utilization and make necessary adjustments, depending on the day-to-day requirement. Therefore, a sure shot method to optimize Azure costs is to a) monitor the utilization and b) ensure the VM is right-sized or shut down in line with the current needs.

3. Consolidate idle resources

The next step in optimizing cloud computing costs is to address idle resources. An idle computing instance might have a CPU utilization level of 1-5%. When an enterprise is billed for 100% of that computing instance, it is a significant waste. A key cloud cost optimization strategy would be identifying such instances and consolidating computing jobs onto fewer instances. In the days of data centers, administrators often wanted to operate at low utilization to have headroom for a spike in traffic or a busy season. It’s difficult, expensive, and inefficient to add new resources to the data center. Instead, the cloud offers auto scaling, load balancing, and on-demand capabilities that allow you to scale up your computing power at any time.

4. Utilize heat maps

Heat maps are essential mechanisms for cloud cost optimization. A heat map is a visual tool showing peaks and valleys in computing demand. This information can be valuable in establishing start and stop times to reduce costs. For example, heat maps can indicate whether development servers can be safely shut down on weekends. While this could be done manually, a better option is to leverage automation to schedule instances to start and stop, optimizing costs.

5. Shift To containers

Besides virtual machines, Azure offers containers as a computing option. Containers optimize costs by combining different tasks in fewer servers. Other benefits include a lower digital footprint, faster operability, built-in monitoring, etc.  

We are mindful of the complexity of cloud adoption and cloud management. If you are still having trouble with cloud optimization, cost optimization, and cloud management, please reach out to us.