Cloud provisioning refers to the allocation of resources and services to customers by cloud service providers. It is a core cloud computing feature that relates to the way customers procure services and resources from cloud providers.
The catalog of services that customers can provision includes software as a service, platform as a service and, infrastructure as a service. You can host these services in public or private clouds.
Why Does Cloud Provisioning Matter?
Cloud provisioning gives organizations a ton of benefits that aren’t available with traditional provisioning approaches. One of the key benefits of cloud provisioning is scalability.
In a traditional IT setup, organizations invest a lot of resources in setting up on-premises infrastructures. This demands extensive preparation and forecasting of infrastructure needs since the on-premises infrastructures can last for several years. In a cloud provisioning setup, organizations get to scale resources up or down depending on their short-term requirements.
Cloud provisioning also helps to speed up things. For instance, IT professionals can quickly spin up workloads when required without the need for an admin to provision and manage compute resources.
Cloud provisioning can also help save costs. Cloud providers usually allow organizations to pay for only what they consume. They don’t have to incur the upfront cost of setting up an on-premises solution.
But it’s not all a bed of roses. Cloud provisioning comes with its own set of challenges. Key among them is managing cloud costs. Organizations can address these challenges by implementing the right cloud management strategies. Here are some cost-effective cloud provisioning tips.
Cloud Provisioning Tips for Managing Cloud Costs
1. Monitor Services and Automate Utilization
If you leave cloud services unattended, they can be expensive. Most cloud service providers charge by seconds, minutes, or by the hour. You can take advantage of this to manage costs. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll categorize cloud apps into two groups based on usage. In the first group, we’ll have apps that have fixed hours of usage. For example, the apps needed during working hours from Monday to Friday fall into this group. You can schedule these apps to run only during the predetermined schedule. Doing this ensures the apps don’t run even a minute longer than they’re supposed to.
In the second group, we’ll have apps run round the clock with varying resource utilization at different times. Such applications usually have a fixed pattern of usage when closely examined. You may find they utilize most resources during certain hours of the night or day.
Monitoring these patterns can help you automate resource allocation and utilization of such apps. This, in turn, helps to optimize costs and ensure maximum performance. In practice, even apps in the first group have usage patterns that you can use to optimize resource utilization.
2. Seamless Hybrid Integration
Organizations use the cloud for highly responsive applications. There’s no need to keep all your data in the cloud. After all, cloud storage can be expensive. In some cases, it’s much better to keep some of your data on-premises. For this reason, organizations should seek to deploy a hybrid storage model.
Organizations often keep mission-critical data and all data supporting highly responsive systems on the cloud. This means you can move all other data collected by cloud apps to on-premises servers. This way, your organization will need less cloud storage. This leads to lower cloud costs.
3. Policy Enforcement
After buying or building a cloud provisioning portal, the work doesn’t stop there. You still have to implement specific processes and policies for your organization. IT admins should come up with policies that guarantee users stick to a predetermined budget when consuming cloud resources. Users should receive warnings when they near their spending limits. This goes a long way toward controlling cloud costs.
4. Automated Scaling
It’s practically impossible for you to monitor the performance of cloud applications and provision new nodes. This is where automated scaling comes in.
For instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers Auto Scaling. This is a feature that allows organizations to automate the provisioning of new nodes. Moreover, AWS supports third-party configuration management tools, such as Puppet Enterprise. This tool allows organizations to set the launch configurations for the AWS Auto Scaling feature. Based on the instructions given, autoscaling will register, provision, and configure new nodes.
The Auto Scaling supported by Puppet Enterprise achieves two major goals. First, it helps to eliminate the need for organizations to constantly monitor the demand for resources on their cloud apps. It also allocates additional resources whenever demand is high. Second, it helps prevent the over-allocation of cloud resources.
5. Using Cloud Management Platforms (CMPs)
CMPs can help streamline and simplify administrative tasks involved in the provisioning of cloud resources. These tasks include workflow automation, performance tracking, and resource allocation. CMPs consequently reduce cloud costs and free up IT labor to perform more productive tasks.