Cloud Cost Optimization: Why Architecture Is Your Magic Wand

High cloud costs often stem from outdated architecture, not just usage. For long-term savings, companies must modernize their cloud architecture.

Bob Quillin, Chief Ecosystem Officer

November 20, 2023

3 Min Read
magic wand with white sparkles behind it
kalhh via Pixabay

In today's digital age, the cloud has become the backbone of countless organizations. As companies continue to migrate to the cloud, managing costs has emerged as one of the most pressing concerns for IT leaders. A pervasive thought is that the cloud should automatically be less expensive than on-premises solutions. However, that is not always the case. If you are grappling with spiraling cloud costs, you might be treating the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of the issue: your cloud architecture.

The Nitty-Gritty of Cloud Costs and Architecture

Cloud costs are intricately connected to the architecture of your cloud applications. This idea has been emphasized by Duckbill Consulting and Corey Quinn in their analysis of AWS billing. What this fundamentally means is that you can't merely slap a bandage on a gunshot wound and call it a day. Scrutinizing line items on your cloud bill might save you pennies, but an overhaul of your application architecture can save you dollars -- lots of them.

Why Focus on Architecture?

Most organizations begin their cloud migration journey with what is known as "lift-and-shift" deployments. These types of applications often use the most expensive infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings and fail to leverage the advanced, cloud-native features that cloud environments provide. This failure to adapt becomes even more pronounced with older databases and monolithic applications that carry their inefficiencies from the on-premises world to the cloud.

Related:Getting Aggressive with Cloud Cybersecurity

The elasticity, scalability, and myriad cost-saving and cost-efficiency options offered by modern cloud providers are best utilized when your applications are built to take advantage of them. A cloud-native architecture isn't just a trendy catchphrase; it's a necessity for cost optimization.

The Common Pitfall: Treating Symptoms, Not Causes

Arguably, the biggest mistake many IT leaders make is to bring outdated or poorly architected applications into the cloud and expect miracles. Don't get me wrong; the cloud is miraculous in many ways, but it's not a magician. You cannot expect to cut costs significantly without doing the work of modernizing your architecture.

In a nutshell, too many organizations focus on chipping away at the edges -- turning off unused instances, selecting slightly cheaper services, or negotiating contracts. While these can lead to minor cost reductions, they don't eliminate the root problem: architectural technical debt that costs you more than you realize.

Related:How the Cloud Can Help Enterprises Become More Sustainable

Time to Take Action

High cloud costs are not merely a budgeting issue; they are symptomatic of an underlying ailment -- compounding architectural debt accrued over the years. Ignoring this reality will not only continue to bloat your cloud bills but will also serve as a roadblock to the agility and efficiency your business needs to compete in the digital marketplace.

Start the journey of modernizing and refactoring your software architecture today. It's a rigorous process, involving a shift in both technology and mindset, but it's crucial. You'll not only optimize your cloud costs but also eliminate the architectural baggage that's weighing you down. The sooner you begin this transformative process, the quicker you can unleash the full power of the cloud to benefit your organization.

About the Author(s)

Bob Quillin

Chief Ecosystem Officer, vFunction

Bob Quillin is the Chief Ecosystem Officer for vFunction, responsible for developer advocacy, marketing, and cloud ecosystem engagement. Bob was previously Vice President of Developer Relations for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Bob joined Oracle as part of the StackEngine acquisition by Oracle in December 2015, where he was co-founder and CEO. StackEngine was an early cloud native pioneer with a platform for developers and devops teams to build, orchestrate, and scale enterprise-grade container apps. Bob is a serial entrepreneur and was previously CEO of Austin-based cloud monitoring SaaS startup CopperEgg (acquired by IDERA in 2013) and held executive and startup leadership roles at Hyper9, nLayers, EMC, and VMware.

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