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The Importance of Cloud Cost Management Even When You’re Happy with Status Quo

Organizations around the globe have invested vast resources in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments. As cloud-based infrastructure swells, a major problem has emerged. A single private cloud or public cloud is not enough to fully satisfy workload needs. The tendency is to spin up hybrid or multi-clouds; however “set it and forget it” starts to expand the cloud footprint into Cloud Creep. The failure to revisit cloud usage inevitably leads to increased attention on cloud cost management, often negating the original savings. Companies that wish to maintain control over costs in pursuit of better cloud solutions will benefit from leveraging the techniques below.

Table of Contents:

  1. Double Check Data Retention
  2. Create Multi-Tier Storage Strategies
  3. Use Automation
  4. Know the Comprehensive Costs
  5. Establish Departmental Processes
  6. Strike A Balance Between Internal and External Teams

DATA RETENTION–MANAGE CLOUD COSTS BY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE VALUE OF YOUR DATA

Data retention is the fundamental cost associated with cloud services, particularly those that leverage a public cloud model. Most organizations continue to experience unchecked data growth. All devices, interactions, and transactions create data, but what happens when that data sits unchecked on a server for ages? It grows old, and in some cases, loses its value.

Prior to rising cloud costs, organizations were okay with leaving data in storage. But when data started growing exponentially, so in turn did the cost of storage. This now continuous rapid growth makes it imperative for IT professionals to determine the value of data for the future or for compliance. Then IT teams can determine policies around the duration to store or discard data. In fact, unregulated data leads directly to the next possible reason for higher cloud costs—poor use of data storage tiers.

NOT ALL DATA IS CREATED EQUAL–CREATE A MULTI-TIER STORAGE STRATEGY FOR CLOUD COST OPTIMIZATION

A common problem with cloud storage is underestimating the amount of wasted cloud storage space. According to Joe McKendrick of Forbes, a survey of 997 technology professionals found average waste rates between 30% and 35%. For example, companies may pay for top-tier security and redundancy, but not all their data needs this level of protection. Remember – not all clouds are created equal!

A very secure, expensive cloud should retain the most valuable data. If the data has lower value, the company is paying extra for nothing. When data reaches this stage, it can be moved to a less expensive tiering option, if not deleted entirely. The process is rather simple. Why pay for oceanfront property when a simple country home will achieve the same goal?

AUTOMATE YOUR CLOUD TO HELP WITH CLOUD COST MANAGEMENT

In today’s IT automation is everywhere, and it makes sense that automation in the cloud can enable effective cloud cost management. Cloud functionalities allow for immediate provisioning of resources with little to no delay. For organizations that do not implement an internal approval process, costs will rapidly escalate into a bad surprise. Furthermore, the option to manually manage cloud costs is always present, and most companies opt for this perception of control over cloud costs. The reality tells a different story. Failure to leverage automated policies for cloud cost management overlooks opportunities to reduce waste and spend, explains CloudComputing-News.Net.

Automation is highly customizable. Cloud cost optimization can leverage dynamic workflows and standards to continuously optimize idle and underutilized instances to lower total cloud costs. Paired with advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, a self-optimizing cloud infrastructure reduces risk of data loss, ensures your company keeps the right data, avoids the risk of manual mistakes and more.

UNDERSTAND ALL CHARGES FROM CLOUD VENDORS, NOT JUST MONTHLY COSTS

Another area where costs may rapidly grow out of control involves how cloud vendors calculate cloud charges. Creating a cloud mix involves a much more complex process than simply selecting a blend of servers and storage. When looking at managing cloud costs, companies must consider the added secondary charges that can come into play. For example, IP addresses, charges per gigabyte for server calls and requests, retrieval fees, and other fees are added on top of basic storage costs. It’s best to consider the secondary fees upfront, but ongoing analysis of how they are applied will tell you if they are escalating and why they are occurring.

A huge cost trap can be your data ingress and egress fees. Assuming a company leverages a public or private cloud to store data, everything is fine. However, accessing that data is another story. Public cloud vendors may charge to remove, add, or access data. As a result, total costs for the “low-cost” option can result in significantly higher rates than even a more expensive option. Read the terms of the plans carefully, to help manage cloud cost and avoid an unexpected total cost of ownership (TCO).

CENTRALIZE CLOUD PURCHASES OR CREATE REVIEW PROCESSES FOR DEPARTMENTAL SPEND

Another source of higher cloud cost derives from redundancy and repetition among business departments’ use of cloud technologies and capabilities. When different departments have the autonomy to make cloud or as a Service purchases for applications, data storage, or other purposes, overspend and duplication will arise. Different departments may subscribe to the same data storage and capabilities, says McKendrick. Moreover, individual departments may over-estimate or under-estimate their needs. The company is still paying for extra data capabilities for departments with excess purchases, but those in need of capacity lose opportunities for improvement because others are overspending.

The path to improving this process lies in centralized control over cloud purchases or at a minimum, a cloud review process. Even for companies that wish to maintain the departmental autonomy for controlling use of the cloud, a thorough review process for all purchases and provisioning will identify opportunities for cloud cost optimization. A clear governance structure helps to alleviate overspend.

According to Tech Target, each asset created in the cloud consumes basic resources, incurring added charges. Moreover, the biggest costs in self-service approaches to departmental use of cloud resources involve so-called “zombies.” Zombie files and images are those that are quickly spun up and discarded with little rationale for their origin or destruction. Even if the zombie system was originally provisioned for a finite purpose, users may simply forget to turn off the instance or fail to realize its continuous addition of costs to total IT spend. But, companies with a clear, concise governance structure that authorizes and reviews departmental spend on cloud resources could isolate zombies, shut down the instance, and avoid the extra charges.

STRIKE A BALANCE WITH MANAGING CLOUD COSTS

The path to success for cloud cost management is comparable to a system of checks and balances in government. Organizations must ensure their teams have adequate resources to handle data needs, and also take steps to prevent overspending.

For companies that are unsure where to start or would benefit from outside help to get the job done, ComportSecure (Comport’s cloud and managed IT services division) can help with a comprehensive cloud assessment that reviews workload requirements, costs, utilization, and opportunities for savings. As a matter of fact, the Comport and ComportSecure teams can also help you decide on the front-end what is best located in cloud or on-premise, and what the costs are.

ComportSecure is dedicated to creating tailor-made solutions designed to optimize performance, decrease TCO and minimize downtime. Find out more by contacting us online or calling 1-800-830-0880 today for a free phone consultation.

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