Jul 19, 2018

Is cloud computing really cheaper?

Is the cloud is a cost effective option for small and large businesses?

Instead of looking at the cost comparisons, we will discuss ways you can save money on your platform by doing these simple steps on a daily/weekly basis.

Trawling the internet I have come across some conflicting opinions, according to this article on Forbes the sentiment is that:

“In effect, it doesn’t matter that much what you pay when you use cloud services, the key cost reduction driver is what you pay when you don’t use them: zero.” 

How companies are managing Cloud costs

The Cloud in essence is a turnkey service and the onus is on administrators not only to optimise the configuration of their Cloud platform but also to optimise on reducing costs when there is low demand, this can be done in various ways:

1. Scaling

Use the scaling attributes of public clouds and build environments that automatically scale as demand increases and then scale back down as it wanes. Autoscaling groups set the desired configuration at rest and the incremental growth as the demand on the platform grows, this can be as simple as a Load balancer with backend Web servers or as complicated as a full application stack that is made up of Load balancers and autoscaling groups operating as on monolith over a region. Scaling also has the benefit of replacing non operational components as it defaults to the configuration, so if you lose a web server in your farm it is automatically replaced to handle the load at that given time , building more resiliency into your environment.

2. Use of Spot or Reserved Instances

Depending on your use case a reserved instance can save you money of the financial year - (you buy compute power up front)- or a spot instance - (you buy compute power on demand) - can dramatically cut upfront costs for environments that are briefly required and then torn down after testing. Plan and size your environments accordingly and you can save on compute costs over a fiscal.

3. Sizing

Using 3rd party Bill management tools in the Public Cloud can help you to size your environments effectively thus saving money using oversized and expensive compute and Databases.

In it's simplest form one monitors the use of an environment from a lull>high>lull>high>lull to get a perspective on usage patterns, demand in CPU/Memory/disk i/o etc this allows you to rightsize the environment and with cyclic tweaking to will come to reap the benefit of cost savings.

4. Good Housekeeping

When not in use either shutdown or delete, when not attached either snapshot and delete or archive, with the consumption model in the Public Cloud it's easy to leave a trail of destruction (and cost) behind as we work toward Production perfection - either use automation tooling or do a weekly housekeeping sweep of your environments to tidy up deployment sprawl!

Unattached volumes, elastic IP (internet IP's), proof of concept environments are all examples of sprawl that are left behind and adding to the incremental cost of a cloud environment.

It will save you a lot of money in the long run

The cost of operating on the cloud is falling as competition intensifies, so for consumers it's a win-win situation, the true cost is in managing your environment effectively and keeping it up to date and scaled effectively for the appropriate workloads.

Tagged: Cloud Computing, Cloud Costs

Jerome Wagner

Posted by Jerome Wagner

Jerome started Startsmart back in 2004. He is a cloud technology architect with over 20 years experience in data centre infrastructure, virtualisation and cloud hosting platforms.

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