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The Cloud is now an integral part of any business IT strategy. The processes for routine requirements such as spawning new instances, modifying storage options, or increasing IO requirements have been greatly simplified by AWS and other cloud providers. Users can quickly sign up for various cloud services with the touch of a button. However, the ease of use and scalability bring new challenges such as cloud costs for IT and product managers – cloud bills can shoot up unexpectedly and cause sticker shock!
GS Lab | GAVS conducted a webinar on Escalating Cloud Costs and How to Manage Them to understand how cloud costs can quickly add up without much of a warning, and ways to control these costs. Mr. Kunal Shah, Senior Marketing Manager at GS Lab | GAVS, moderated the session.
The panelists were Mr. Manish Sapariya – Vice President of Technical Operations at kPoint with over 20 years of experience building large- scale distributed network infrastructure products; and Mr. Vinod Borole – Software Architect at GS Lab | GAVS with over 14 years of experience in building cloud-native solutions.
Increasing Costs of Cloud Usage
Businesses that start using the cloud for basic infrastructure needs find this option cost-effective compared to hardware-based hosting options. Cloud providers like AWS offer high visibility at fixed costs with almost no leakages. However, as cloud service requirements increase, variable costs come into play. Cloud providers have variable costs for storage and streaming based on customer needs while offering pre-provisioned computing for certain peak capacities. While customers face slow leakage of instances, elastic IPs, and volume, there is no elasticity.
Cloud costs peak when businesses go for the full range of services with cloud-native architecture and auto scalability. While there is better elasticity, businesses end up with a higher chance of leakages and increased total cost as each service is billed per use. Apart from the increasing cost, resource leakage is an area of concern. Unused lambda, load balancers, elastic IPs, underutilization of instances, and reserved instances are commonly observed. These leaked resources could be due to scale, lack of process awareness, lack of automation, or the architecture.
Once the cost-incurring areas have been identified, businesses must focus on three things to reduce costs immediately – turn off resources such as QA when not in use, use spot instances wherever possible, and switch to snapshots instead of keeping volumes around.
One of the proven methods to manage cloud usage costs is by making product changes to leverage elasticity. This can be done by switching to smaller services from big monolithic processes, using service containerization for higher utilization, and creating custom instance life cycle flows to reduce wastage of the provisioned compute.
Similarly, it is important to have a thorough understanding of how resources are used. It is highly recommended to read cloud bills carefully while also keeping a keen eye on the user dashboard. Similarly, homegrown scripts can help users track usage and make changes to subscriptions to manage costs and resources better.
Users can focus on automation for the provisioning and de-provisioning of resources. Automation goes a long way in avoiding disciplining issues, identifying bill thresholds, and reviewing resource usage as necessary.
CloudGain (previously ValueCloud) from GS Lab | GAVS
CloudGain has proven capabilities in helping businesses minimize their cloud cost. This is done by first gaining ‘read-only’ access to the AWS/Azure data across services, instances, and accounts. The data is analyzed based on usage and billing. Since the goal is to optimize and save costs, CloudGain focuses on identifying areas that need attention such as unutilized resources, comparison between on-demand and reserved spending, and identifying hidden contributors.
Once the data is processed, CloudGain generates actionable recommendations for resizing, new policies, and alert notifications for overutilization or instance generation customized for each customer.
There are several customer success stories of CloudGain enabling drastic reduction of monthly cloud (AWS/Azure) expenditure. For instance, the solution reduced 44% of the cost for a project management and planning tool by identifying idle resources. Similarly, a mobile healthcare platform reduced 67% of its cloud expenditure by identifying Reserved Instances (RI).
Using the cloud comes with its share of pros and cons. However, it is important to have a few key points in mind to ensure that the benefits of the cloud do not come at a higher than optimum price.
- Go for a cloud-native architecture
- Adapt and keep evaluating
- Conduct experiments to see what works best
- Embrace newer offerings only if they are a necessity
- Align cloud infrastructure with your business model by adopting a hybrid offering
- Always focus on analytics and performance, even in the MVP phase
This blog offers only a high-level gist of this webinar that you can watch here. GS Lab | GAVS periodically organizes insightful webinars with our tech leaders, the leadership team, and industry thought leaders to explore current and emerging trends. All our webinars are available at https://www.gslab.com/webinars.
You can find more information on how GS Lab | GAVS’ CloudGain solution can be leveraged to analyze your cloud bills to drastically improve cloud spend, here.