By Stefana Muller, 2nd Watch
The main reason companies delay and/or avoid confronting issues related to cloud cost optimization is because it’s incredibly complex. Challenges range from cloud sprawl to misaligned priorities. Understanding these challenges before you begin is essential to success. Here are the main issues:
Our research indicates companies can achieve up to 70 percent savings on cloud through a combination of software and services. It often starts by implementing a solid cost optimization methodology. Here’s an approach that has worked for our clients:
Step 1 — Scope It Out!
As with any project, first identify the goals and scope and then uncover the current state environment. Here are a few questions to ask to scope out your work:
Step 2 — Get Your Organization Excited
One of the big barriers to true optimization is gaining access to data. In order to gather the data (Step 3), you first need to get the team on board to grant you or the optimization project team access to the information. During this step, get your cross-functional team excited about the project, share the goals and current state info you gathered in the previous step and present your strategy to all your stakeholders. Stakeholders may include application owners, cloud account owners, IT Ops, IT security and/or developers who will have to make changes to applications.
Remember, data is key here, so find the people who own the data. Those who are monitoring applications or own the accounts are the typical stakeholders to involve. Then share with them the goals and bring them along this journey.
Step 3 — Gather Your Data
Generally speaking, data is grouped into a few buckets:
A month’s worth of data is good; three months is much better to understand the capacity variances for applications and how to project into the future.
Step 4 — Visualize And Assess Your Usage
This step takes a bit of skill. There are tools like CloudHealth that can help you understand your cloud cost and usage. Then there are tools that can help you understand your application performance over time. Using and correlating data from each of these sources is essential to understanding where to find savings opportunities.
I often recommend bringing in an optimization expert for this step. Someone with a data science, cloud and accounting background can help you visualize data and find the best options for optimization.
Step 5 — Plan Your Remediation Efforts And Get To Work!
Now that you know where you can save, take that information and build a remediation plan. For example, you might decide to shut down resources at night for an application and move it to another family of instances/VMs based on current pricing. Or you might implement a Reserved Instances purchase strategy. Remediation can take anywhere from one month to a year based on company size and the support of application teams.
Though complex, cloud cost optimization is an achievable goal. By addressing project risks like lack of awareness, decentralized account management, limited access to data and metrics, and lack of clear goals, your team can quickly achieve savings. With as much as 70 percent savings possible after implementing one of these projects, there’s a compelling reason to get started.
About The Author
Stefana Muller is Senior Product Manager at 2nd Watch.