Six Ways You’re Wasting Money in Your Hybrid Cloud Environment, and How to Save

A penny saved is a penny earned. Simple enough? Well, the same applies to your hybrid cloud environment as well. 

The more you save, the more money is freed up to try something new, or for that critical project that you have been pushing back for some time now. 

In this post, we will take a look at six simple things you can do to save on your hybrid cloud costs. Many of them are primarily applicable to the public cloud since you have already paid for the datacenter resources. However, 1GB saved in the data center is 1GB earned. Let’s jump right in. 

Zombie resources are still alive

Zombie resources get created when customers spin up resources such as virtual machines, or storage in public clouds and then forget about its existence. This can happen as resources get provisioned by mistake, for trial purposes or as resources get deployed in the wrong environments (production instead of dev, test). It can also happen thanks to shadow IT, as users use their corporate cards and completely forget about the provisioned resources.

While zombies can drain your IT budget, controlling them needs rigor. For example, once a month you should look into your resources and spot ones that are no longer needed. You can also set automated weekly/biweekly policies to find and destroy these zombies. Of all the other items, zombies are easier to spot and take care of if you follow a routine. 

Resources are kept ON 24/7

This is similar to you keeping the lights on in your garage for the entire night without noticing them. And just like electricity, the public cloud uses a pay-what-you-consume model. Thus, if you spin up all the resources and don’t turn them off when not in use (such as weekends or weeknights) you’re still paying a high price over a period of time without even realizing it. If you’re running a big team or have lots of applications, this can multiply quickly if you do not keep a tab on it. 

This is a very common mistake. While in the data center most resources are kept always on, in the public cloud that results in wastage of money that was easy to save. Pushing owners to turn off their resources when not in use is an easy solution. You can use reports and dashboards to understand the usage and spot the underutilized resources. This will not only help you save but will also affect your KPIs around resource efficiency. 

Hint: KPIs help you track resource usage/performance very easily. We will talk about this in the next blog post focused on cost. 

Unattached resources left orphaned

In a public cloud as you deploy certain resources such as virtual machines, the required storage is also deployed with it. Yet, as you spin down your virtual machine, the attached storage that came with it is left running. This means you have resources you may not be using, or that you don’t know exist. This can eat up into your bottom line as you keep using public clouds. Just imagine the impact if you’re a global company and don’t have the right measures to control this cost.

This needs extra attention. Developing reports and processes to check all the unattached objects is a healthy start. You can also drive financial transparency through a show back report. You can show the user how much money is getting spent on resources that are left unattached. Plus, you can give IT admins the ability to wind these resources down if they are left unattached for a certain period of time. 

Over-provisioning resources

Old habits die hard. If you’re coming from a data center environment, your developers and users might be provisioning more resources than they actually need. This might be a habit formed to avoid the delays in getting the required resources when they need them. Or this might be because they don’t need to pay for those resources. As you take these habits to the public cloud, they lead to a burning hole into your IT budget. 

In any case, you need to know how well utilized your resources are. For example, if resources such as storage are underutilized you should move to a less expensive tier of storage. You can do this by checking the resource usage by the peak, average and lowest usage. This will give you enough information to make conscious decisions to save more money. 

Limited accountability

Some organizations have the right intention behind empowering their developers. They want to move faster and disrupt industries. However, if you don’t have the right level of accountability in the environment, you’ll never find out who is having a party at your expense. This is commonly found in start-ups in stealth mode or rapidly-growing companies. 

You can only control what you can measure. It’s important to have the right tools in place to gain granular visibility of your environment. As a next step, develop KPIs that will help you set alert points. These KPIs will further help you drive more accountability that can help you control the cost.

Disaster recovery snapshots kept forever

It’s good practice to account for things that can go wrong. For example, taking snapshots to mitigate any disaster is critical especially if you’re using the public cloud for the first time. However, when these snapshots are kept for a long time (12 to 24 months), they cost a lot and can become outdated quickly. The worst part is you’re still paying for it. 

Keeping snapshots can be very helpful when things fall out of place and you need to keep going as opposed to starting from scratch. I have spoken with countless CTOs who sleep well because they have a disaster recovery strategy in place. However, a simple yet effective practice is to decide how long you want to backup your snapshots. Irrespective of where these snapshots are backed up, you are using resources. So, you should come up with a rule that anything older than a certain number of months would be deleted forever.

The time period to backup information will be influenced by which industry you belong to and if you have any regulations you need to follow. This monthly practice will keep freeing up resources you can use for something more strategic or for those in-house projects that need resources.  

In this post, we discussed six practices that can help you with cost savings in both public and private clouds. Remember: you are accountable for your environment. You can take some simple steps, save money, and free up more resources for your sandbox projects. In the next blog, we will cover some KPIs you can use to keep a tab on your costs.

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