Strategies for controlling Hybrid Cloud Costs

Customization and convenience. That’s what we all want (and oftentimes, expect) these days—in business and in life—we want it faster, cheaper, and just the way we like it. That is probably one reason why hybrid cloud is cloud’s newest, greatest, best THING. Hybrid cloud services are proving popular solutions for backup, disaster recovery, archiving, and application development. By combining cloud resources with on-premises infrastructure, businesses can play to their strengths and use what they have, supplementing cloud services to fill in the gaps.

This hybrid approach can be effective at cutting costs and increasing efficiency and agility. But it is not something to adopt half-heartedly, without preparation. Public cloud services are built on a “pay as you go” model. If you’re not careful, you’ll go too far and end up paying way too much. Here’s some advice on limiting your costs while taking advantage of the various cloud strengths.

Understanding how cloud costs are calculated

All of the major public cloud services (AWS, Azure, Google) have developed a business model based on the fact that people will pay (a lot) for ease and convenience. Standard plans start off cheap but can quickly spiral out of control thanks to zillions of add-on services. If you have any kind of complex, multiple server environment, you will face multiple metered charges for every Internet facing server. Data transfers, data storage, IP addresses, security, resilience, recovery—these are all extra. And often necessary for any IaaS or PaaS cloud solution.

So basically, you want to balance these costs versus keeping your data in private cloud or on premise. Or some of each.  Plan, assess, retool, and do continue this cycle at a minimum semi-annually, to ensure you are truly only paying for what you need.

Identify what you need

Before you move anything to the cloud, your IT team should gain a complete and thorough understanding of your environment. What do your workloads look like? What do your applications require? How much data flows between servers? What kind of dependencies are required (i.e. security, authentication, etc.)? Once you know what is needed, you will have a better chance of selecting the right hybrid approach to limit costs and increase efficiency.

Take a test drive

It is hard to know exactly how much cloud you need. For any application or workload you are looking to migrate to the cloud, ask for a trial first. If providers are confident in what they can deliver, they will generally work with you. Not all services can be done via trial so ask about shorter terms for the first set of services, and extend from there.

Leverage the best of both worlds

You may find that some data is better in a private cloud and some in a public cloud, hence the popularity of a hybrid cloud approach. If your data for certain workloads is in constant communication, public cloud gets to be expensive. The same goes for public facing websites.  For example, if your site offers any kind of on-demand media downloads, you’ll be charged for the public IP address and for data transfer every time a new person downloads anything. If you see high traffic, this could add up quickly. It is estimated that 40% of all applications will cost more to run in public cloud. On the other hand, public cloud services are great for backup, replication, application development and more. You can be hybrid – don’t limit yourself to one cloud!

Use cloud optimization tools

There are third-party tools that can help you plan, monitor and consolidate your cloud resources.  In particular, these tools help time-constrained organizations to do the cloud analysis on their own. One of our favorite tools is Nutanix Beam Hybrid Cloud Optimization. It offers unified management and analytics for both public and private clouds. In one dashboard, users can centrally manage and monitor usage and consumption, efficiency, and workloads.

Monitor all cloud resources

Implementing cloud resources and then leaving them to be is a big mistake we often see. Work with an IT vendor you trust or an internal team of experts to oversee all of your cloud commitments – examine use, costs spikes, and rapid data expansions on a regular basis. Allocate resources via department, workload or application and ensure these limits are followed. Finding a central repository that can manage all these services creates a powerful ally to keep your costs low and your business output high. Our suggestion is to work with a cloud provider that can help you make these determinations and help forecast for the future.

Public cloud services tout benefits such as reduced costs and increased speed, flexibility, and up time. Private cloud services can match or beat public cloud costs, and are often used for highly sensitive data, customized workloads, and compliance. Because they both have their own sets of strengths, there’s a lot to love about hybrid cloud, a combination of the two. Done right—deliberately and strategically—hybrid cloud can simultaneously streamline and pump up your IT environment. However, as with any new, shiny, sparkly thing, we must make sure we don’t get blinded by the light. Reach out to Comport to help you plan your hybrid cloud strategy today!

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