How to reduce your hidden cloud costs

November 30, 2021 | By Tom Halligan

cloud costs

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How to reduce your cloud costs is always a question asked by both small and large organizations.

There are hidden costs in any technological implementation that can be tricky to find and even harder to eliminate. Leveraging cloud components is no different. There are always things that inadvertently drain budgets that with better planning and process can be eliminated. The following is a list of recommendations for members of teams who manage cloud resources that can help reduce their overall cloud resource costs. The cloud cost recommendations are not deeply technical, nor are they Cloud Service Provider (CSP) specific. However, they do provide organizations both large and small a blueprint that can help them find savings and reduce their ongoing cloud costs.

To reduce their hidden cloud costs, organizations should strive to:

1. Find savings 

  • Remove unused resources to free funds. Find deployed objects no longer in use (Storage, networking, etc.) and work with other teams to remove them.
  • Review your budget and costs. Find the top 5 costs and look at those objects or services for misallocation of resources. All of the big CSPs have billing\costing tools to help determine costs at an atomic level. Leverage them. 
  • Get buy-in. Work to convince IT & Development teams that cost is a critical consideration with cloud resources. Buy-in can pay off, especially long term. 

2. Set budget thresholds to keep visibility of your cloud costs

  • Set alerting on budget threshold breaches. Implement multiple alerts at % points of estimated use (50%, 100%, 200% ….). Have alerts go to multiple stakeholders. Visibility matters.

3. Examine architecture costing by asking

  • Where and when can serverless “as needed” resources replace always-on systems or services?
  • Can systems and environments be automated in IAC and only spun up as needed, then destroyed? 
  • Can you integrate spot (Each major CSP has some version) into a solution?
  • Can resources for non-production environments be tuned down during off-hours?

4. Build momentum and relationships

  • Build momentum by racking up some quick wins at the start, with easy to achieve savings and methods to prevent misallocated spending in future. This can help get leadership engaged, which you will need for the ongoing cost reduction work.
  • While recognizing your savings, don’t inadvertently cut to the point that you end up antagonizing teams that use cloud resources to do their jobs. Enable them to find waste while also understanding that cloud resources are there to enable other business goals.  
  • Get on good terms with the engineering teams so that they will be able to help build long term cost-effective solutions. There is only so much cost-cutting that can take place without their ultimate support. 

5. Increase knowledge around cloud costs 

  • Find the organization’s knowledge sharing tool, Wiki or Document library, and track the various cloud accounts and notes on usage and savings. These are not permanent records, but will greatly help with initial cost control efforts.
  • Tag all created objects (Highly advise the use of IAC). 
  • View and compare cloud costs. Comparison shopping can often result in a better deal.

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