Is cloud cost management making you second-guess your decision to move to the cloud? Workloads often run more cost-effectively when deployed in the cloud than in an on-premises environment. But this isn’t always the case. If left unchecked, cloud costs can run amok. Even in cases where cloud computing saves organizations money, there are still ways to optimize cloud spending to lower costs. So, what are the best ways to keep cloud costs under control?

SHUT OFF UNUSED RESOURCES

One often overlooked cost management tactic in the cloud is the awareness of what cloud instances are running. It’s important to switch off cloud resources that are no longer in use.

The best way to monitor unused resources is to use third-party cloud monitoring tools. These tools alert you whenever there are anomalies. For example, you’ll receive an alert if you have an unused virtual server or a database with no attachment to any application.

SCALE AUTOMATICALLY

Take advantage of automated scaling features to help give your workloads access to more cloud resources as you need them. You can also scale back resources when you no longer need them.

Most cloud providers have auto-scaling tools that allow you to configure your cloud deployment to suit your needs. Automated scaling is a core part of effective cloud cost management.

PLAN DATA TRANSFERS

Data movement almost always comes with a fee. The types of movements that cost money often vary from cloud to cloud. For this reason, you need to make sure you understand your cloud provider’s fee schedule.

With this information, you can design a cloud infrastructure that reduces the number of data transfers that cost money. For instance, your cloud service provider will charge you for data egress. In this instance, you want to have all the applications needing cloud data access to run in the cloud. This way, you can avoid unnecessary egress fees.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STORAGE TIERS

Cloud providers often have different prices for different storage tiers. If you store data that you infrequently access in the cloud (e.g., secondary data backups), you might want to move it to a lower-cost storage tier. Before you do, make sure you know how long it takes to export data from that tier whenever you need it. This will better prepare you in case of a disaster recovery scenario.

DISCOUNTED CLOUD INSTANCES

Taking advantage of discounts is a good cloud cost management strategy. Most cloud providers offer storage tiers with different prices. They also allow users to access virtual servers at discounted rates under given conditions. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers spot instances.

Spot instances provide access to spare infrastructure in the cloud. They do this at the cost of up to 90 percent less than what other services normally charge. The catch is that there’s no guarantee the instances will be available. Therefore, you cannot use spot instances for workloads that need to run constantly.

However, they are perfect for periodic tasks of high intensity, such as running your data analytics workload. Some cloud providers also allow users to reserve server instances ahead of time for less than they would normally pay on demand.

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