Many companies turn to cloud services in an attempt to control computing costs, but it’s just as easy to rack up high expenses in the cloud. It can be hard to manage cloud costs because the lack of visibility, self-service functionality, and dynamic changes to services make knowing what’s going on in your cloud difficult. Here are 9 things you can do to make sure your cloud computing bill doesn’t grow unexpectedly large:
1. Choose the right size services
With cloud, your costs directly reflect the capacity of your resources, so it’s best to choose the smallest systems that meet your needs. You don’t have to worry about lengthy delays in adding additional capacity, so don’t use larger disks, more memory, or faster CPUs when they aren’t needed. If you’re using cloud for archiving, choose slower, cheaper storage for data you aren’t likely to need fast or frequently.
2. Find the right strategy for paying for cloud
Paying for what you use as you use it, the stereotypical “subscription” model of cloud, may not be the most cost-effective method of purchasing cloud resources. If you can commit to cloud usage, you may get a discount for reserved instances or simply prepaying. If you have great flexibility, you may get a discount when you bid for spot instances.
3. Find the right place for your cloud
Deciding where to put your cloud isn’t just about choosing the cloud vendor. Vendors may have multiple regions where clouds are available, and the costs are not always the same everywhere. If your workload doesn’t need to be in the same region as the users, for performance or data residency reasons, consider deploying applications out of town.
4. Choose higher-level cloud offerings
When you choose Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), you remain responsible for much of the low-level infrastructure maintenance and support. You can reduce your responsibility and your support costs by choosing higher-level cloud services, such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Using serverless application also eliminates costs associated with instances.
5. Use automation as much as possible
Automation can reduce costs by making your staff more productive as they perform their functions. Automation can also help you save money by enforcing cost-saving policies, such as shutting down instances at end of day.
6. Don’t pay for idle time
Although it’s become a cliché to say business today is 24x7x365, not every application is needed 24x7x365. Since you pay for the resources you use, you’ll save significant money by not keeping resources active when they aren’t needed. Shutdown processes and processors at end of day, and also shutdown test and development systems permanently when the project ends.
7. Don’t use cloud to store data if it won’t be used there
While cloud storage is accessible, be aware that cloud vendors make it much easier and cheaper to put data into the cloud than to take it out.
8. Don’t forget free trials come with end dates
Many cloud services have a free trial period. Just remember you’ll start paying once the trial ends. If you decide you don’t need the service, be sure to shut it down before you’re charged.
9. Use tools to gain visibility
You can’t control costs when you can’t see where your spending is going. Cloud providers offer detailed breakdowns of charges. You can also use third-party tools to consolidate all your billing data and highlight changes to your cloud that result in new charges.