Businesses are migrating in increasing numbers from on-premises data storage to the public Cloud to avoid a large capital expenditure outlay. They also benefiting from dynamic, cost-effective ‘pay-as-you-go’ computing and native security features.

Cloud is a flexible and highly available resource, which has led to its phenomenal growth — yet many organisations underestimate their own consumption. This inability to forecast Cloud usage can result in increased cost to businesses confronted with the challenge of maintaining visibility and control over their Cloud-based infrastructure and platforms.

However, organisations can realise the cost benefits gained from Cloud integration when armed with a well-defined migration strategy. Such a strategy monitors utilisation and capacity, implements instance rightsizing, deletes unused resources, conducts architecture reviews during application development, and deploys AWS Cloud budget tools to maintain financial discipline.

A robust framework for efficient Cloud usage and tracking is essential to any business seeking cost optimisation on the public Cloud. By keeping track of Reserved Instances (RIs) usage and coverage — a component often overlooked — organisations can save significant money. Cost savings between 35 and 70 per cent are possible.

These issues are covered off in an ebook from AC3 called How to achieve the best cost optimisation on the public cloud

When monitoring RIs, companies that have defined their consumption requirements can reallocate those that are underutilised or sell them on the AWS marketplace if they are unable to be repurposed. This is where companies can greatly benefit from deploying native Cloud tools like AWS trusted advisor, which checks over 50 key metrics for security and service limits. Businesses with enterprise support gain access to a more extensive range of cost optimisation tools, allowing them to monitor RI usage as well as idle EC2 or RDS resources.

The ability for organisations to identify unused or idle resources is important when undertaking Cloud cost optimisation, because companies can terminate resources they no longer need or halt resources they do not require to be active. Similar principles of matching capacity to demand apply when businesses conduct instance rightsizing. The purpose of rightsizing is to drive efficient consumption — matching instance sizes to their workloads. The cost minimisation opportunity here is found by analysing utilisation metrics to uncover where workloads can be moved to best suit business requirements.

Cost-saving and efficient consumption opportunities can be uncovered using the AWS cost explorer in conjunction with a resource-tagging strategy. The cost explorer tool allows businesses to generate detailed data-points and insights on projected cost, plus increases and decreases in spending over time.

By having granular cost data, organisations will also be better positioned to understand and select their right storage class. This is important as choosing the correct storage level enables companies to drive down costs without foregoing performance.

The range of storage classes is designed for different use cases based on how frequently you access the data. The classes charge at corresponding rates, allowing companies to optimise costs by moving data automatically to the most cost-effective access level. A useful tool to help gauge the appropriate storage tier and estimate costs before deployment is the AWS simple monthly calculator.

Another Cloud cost optimisation technique is applying a cost lens to workloads, to ensure architecture best practices are implemented. This drives Cloud consumption efficiency beyond purely operational concerns and gives a cost-saving framework to application developers. To aid with managing costs here, AWS billing alarms helps companies track charges at a service level. This provides a high level of visibility when new services or volatile workloads are tested during development phases and gives both the engineering and management teams budget reporting and alerts.

Finally, businesses can also consider engaging certified Cloud experts, trusted AWS partners, to devise and implement effective cost recommendation strategies if they are unable to review their current Cloud infrastructure and workloads.

This article was written by Melina Gouveia and published by Which-50’s Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) on behalf of AC3. DIU Members such as AC3 pay to share their expertise and insights with Which-50’s audience of senior executives.

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