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Sergiy Seletskyi, IoT Practice Leader, Head of CoE, Intellias
Sergiy Seletskyi, IoT Practice Leader, Head of CoE, Intellias

Cloud 101: Getting Started and Saving Costs

No doubt, wide adoption of the cloud as a one-size-fits-all solution brings tons of benefits to the table. However, they come at a cost not everyone can handle.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

As a cloud solutions architect with over 10 years of experience under my belt, I have witnessed hundreds of migrations to the cloud. Most of them were triggered by the ever-increasing complexity of managing on-prem resources, the need for global data availability, and, of course, the desire to dramatically reduce spending on IT infrastructure. 

What many of these first-time cloud adopters failed to do was to perform the analysis of the various types of cloud deployment models and juxtapose them with the performance needs of their current and prospective systems. Let’s take a quick look at what the market has to offer and what steps you should consider prior to embarking on your cloud endeavor.

Private cloud

Private clouds give their owners a lot more leeway in terms of balancing their hardware and software use and, therefore, offer more opportunities for cutting day-to-day costs. Based on my experience, there are just a few key factors to reduce costs: 

  • Right capacity-planning tools help achieve higher cloud utilization.
  • Better software licensing options. Being able to deploy more VMs per CPU often enables cloud admins to take advantage of more favorable CPU-based pricing models as opposed to VM-based pricing for public clouds.
  • Local process automation helps save on repetitive infrastructure maintenance routines and frees up resources that can now work on other tasks.

Public cloud

Public clouds require the most attention in terms of cloud cost optimization. Remember, they are designed with the pay-as-you-go billing model in mind, so it’s important to identify which resources in your infrastructure need to be up and running all the time and which can be accessed occasionally. 

Depending on your findings, you may want to switch to a capped, prepaid resource allocation plan and spend extra on irregular cloud needs only. 

Here are six key takeaways from my experience with public clouds: 

  1. Revise your storage policies. Put archives and rarely used data in cold storage to see a serious decline in monthly storage fees.
  2. Consider managed cloud services, such as database maintenance. It may turn out to be a modest fee in comparison with your potential spend if your internal resources get involved. 
  3. Organize your subscriptions and tie them to specific resource groups or teams. This way, you will be able to quickly identify the root cause of cloud usage spikes and tackle issues faster. 
  4. Optimize your cloud usage on an ongoing basis. Establish regular audits, shut down resources that are no longer in use, change quotas based on monitoring results, limit provisioning to what is really needed now.
  5. When or if possible, take advantage of cloud-native services. Typical PaaS models offer considerable savings compared to regular unmanaged cloud services.
  6. Make sure you have a skilled DevOps team on the payroll or a reliable DevOps contractor on speed dial.

Hybrid and multi-cloud

Hybrid and multi-cloud configurations combine the characteristics of private and public clouds, which makes all the recommendations above fully applicable to them as well. If you are considering a hybrid approach, make sure to keep as much as possible inside your private cloud for maximum resource utilization and security, then complement it with a public cloud deployment that can scale up quickly to accommodate peak loads on your servers. This way, you will know what your monthly spending is with a great degree of accuracy and only need to watch out for those edge cases causing overflows and requiring extra computing needs. 

Savings in multi-cloud models, on the other hand, will largely depend on the cloud services that your organization is looking for. For example, if the work of one of your departments heavily relies on Service X from Google, while a different business unit strongly prefers Service Y from Amazon, it will make sense to create a multi-cloud environment incorporating those two services and making them accessible from the company’s private cloud. Don’t forget that you will need a good DevOps team to accomplish this. 

Every cloud has a silver lining

For someone who is just starting to explore the world of cloud computing, its diversity may seem to be a bit too much. However, with the right approach to cloud migration services, everything is possible -- even saving an ample amount of money by managing your clouds the right way. In short, here are the rules: 

  • Keep your sensitive data behind a firewall in a private cloud. Use it for regular static loads, too.
  • Use public clouds (SaaS and PaaS) for peak loads and software development.
  • Measure and optimize, optimize and measure. 
  • Spend adequate time analyzing the pricing models and subscriptions from different providers.

Sergiy Seletskyi is an IoT Practice Leader and Head of CoE at Intellias. Seletskyi helps companies harness the right IoT technology stack to scale business and make it future proof. He is strategic thinker with extensive knowledge of the IT Industry in a wide variety of innovative solutions for different business domains.

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