What is Cloud Optimisation?
More than 90% of organisations use the cloud*, but only 3 out of 10 know exactly where their cloud costs are going.^
Many factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to hybrid working, and the advancement in technology jumpstarted cloud migration strategies for many organisations over the past few years. But the escalation of cloud adoption comes with complexities.
New cloud services vary in cost, so instead of savings, some organisations have witnessed a spike in IT spend. Without the skills and expertise utilising the right tools, the process can quickly become confusing and expensive.
Understanding the intricacies of the cloud and which resources drive costs is a challenge. That’s true for both recent adopters and cloud computing veterans.
It’s estimated that on average, companies overspend on cloud by around 32%**. As more businesses look to improve efficiency, reducing this figure has become a major priority.
By carefully and continuously monitoring your IT environment, cloud optimisation can help you choose the right resources for the right function. The process also identifies opportunities for cost-saving and waste reduction.
Finding balance through optimisation
Peering into the in-house hierarchy of a business, cloud optimisation usually falls under the domain of IT Operations teams, who are responsible for maintaining and enhancing the quality of IT services within a company.
However, as cloud spending increases these highly-skilled DevOps and CloudOps professionals are often caught between finance departments and engineers. Finance teams may want more visibility of cloud costs, while application owners want to utilise the best tools for the job.
For organisations to be successful, IT Ops needs to find the middle ground between these stakeholders. Cloud optimisation can help by identifying and maximising return on investment (ROI).
The next step is to allocate cloud resources efficiently. IT Ops does this by weighing workload performance, compliance, and cost against the best-fit infrastructure.
To match the rapid pace of technological innovation, this balancing act must be a continuous process. Apps that are constantly optimised require less maintenance and supporting infrastructure - delivering maximum value for cloud spend.
The value of cloud management
While cloud computing offers organisations significant opportunities to scale and innovate, it can also lead to issues like overprovisioning, underused assets, and inadequate data storage.
Cloud management unlocks your ability to optimise these resources. It involves monitoring key operational metrics including service availability, response time, throughput, and capacity.
Once you have the data, you can make informed decisions. If cost savings is your goal, you can set an objective to identify and switch off redundant server instances or evaluate the ROI from your current price plan.
Here are a few other examples of cloud optimisation objectives:
- Ensuring multi-cloud environments run as efficiently as possible
- Establishing a clear cloud governance structure
- Changing storage types to better match workloads
- Taking advantage of the energy-saving and costs saving capabilities of the latest compute processor technologies
Cloud optimisation best practices
The following steps outline what to focus on when planning a cloud optimisation project:
- Get visibility over your cloud environment: First, you need the data. If you use a cloud service provider like Microsoft Azure or AWS, you may already have access to robust reporting tools. Likewise, working with a cloud optimisation specialist can help you discover the most impactful stats.
- Measure the metrics that matter: While many companies target overspending, there’s no obligation to reduce costs. Increasing cloud spending in the right areas can positively impact revenue and application performance. Decide your organisation’s priorities and how cloud optimisation can support them.
- Rightsize your resources: Sometimes cloud resource users have not only selected the incorrect instance size, but also an inappropriate instance type altogether. Equally, a developer may have spun up resources for a project and forgotten about them, leaving them running idle. These missteps can lead to oversized, expensive instances and wasted compute.
- Introduce automation: One of the best ways of working efficiently in the cloud is to leverage Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like AWS CloudFormation to automate infrastructure provisioning. This will cut down on manual tasks, minimise human errors, and improve your cloud continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline.
- Review pricing plans: With so many pricing options in cloud computing, things can easily get confusing. To reduce cloud spend, organisations should consider Savings Plans and Reserved Instances, which offer discounts of up to 70% versus On-demand pricing. They’re also ideal for long-running and steady-state workloads.
- Continually monitor and improve: Cloud optimisation works best as a continuous exercise. Incorporate the process into your overall cloud strategy, monitor the most relevant metrics, and switch to more appropriate ones as your business objectives change.
What are the benefits of cloud optimisation?
Cost and service alignment
Cloud optimisation enhances efficiency by rightsizing resources to match application and workload requirements. With real-time visibility over your spending and usage information, organisations can align costs with business KPIs and link spending to ROI. Data-driven insights then allow users to evaluate and modify each service offering until it matches their specific needs.
Reduced cloud spend
Monitoring cloud costs gives you powerful oversight of your infrastructure. We estimate that most companies could see a cloud cost reduction of between 20-30% following optimisation.
Better cloud application performance
If you’ve provisioned too many resources, or have excess traffic on your network, you might find that things are a bit sluggish. Cloud optimisation can identify opportunities to remove or cut down on resources, allowing organisations to run workloads more efficiently.
With more control over infrastructure, organisations can predict and respond to issues much faster. An optimised environment and automated processes also allow developers to spend more time building new products and experiences for your end users.
Improved cloud utilisation
The number of cloud solutions can be quite overwhelming. AWS, for example, has over 200 fully-featured services. Continuous cloud optimisation makes it easier to track which features are essential to your business operations. You can also take advantage of practices like auto-scaling to dynamically adjust cloud resources according to a workload’s demands.
Cloud optimisation with Nasstar
Nasstar’s Cloud Optimisation services are tailored strategies to help your business take full advantage of its IT environment.
We can deliver a single point-in-time consultancy engagement aimed at identifying quick wins, or as part of an ongoing managed service to deliver architectural changes that reduce costs and improve sustainability.
Our experts will leverage a mix of cloud-native tools, best practice, and real-world experience to optimise cost, storage, network, computing power, and operations - allowing you to maximise performance and reduce expenditure.
Speak to a specialist to find out more.
**Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud report
^CloudZero, The State of Cloud Cost Intelligence 2022 Report