Is your company looking for ways to reduce your cloud spend? With business costs increasing, strategically managing your Cloud services can help reduce corporate outgoings. Cloud services deliver many benefits to companies in all verticals enabling them to process, manage, and store data efficiently at very high speeds. The technology is scalable, delivering services on-demand and the highly effective sharing of resources and costs among a large number of end-users.

In 2022, however, businesses are facing increasing costs, and trying to find ways to reduce their IT and cloud spend. With this in mind, we look at the key cost savings you can implement to ensure your cloud investments deliver the service your business needs, without blowing the budget.

Cloud computing has two main price structures: fixed and dynamic. Fixed pricing is where a business purchases their required services, storage, networking etc for a set period; typically 3-5 years. This means that you’re tied into an inflexible contract that may not be quite as perfect as fit in 6 – 12 months. You may end up paying for services you don’t use – and recent years have demonstrated how quickly the business landscape and company needs can change. Dynamic Cloud services, however, assure a more consistent and cost-effective approach, where business only pay for what they use.

Pay-as-you-go can lower outgoings, but you do need to fully understand your data, storage, and network bandwidth. You’ll also need to understand your high-usage and low-usage periods in advance – where possible – so you can better manage the cloud recourses that you need, and when.

Services are provided 24/7 in the fixed pricing model, whereas with the dynamic cloud-pricing model you can maximise cost savings by turning off unused services with correct planning and management of your data peaks and troughs.

Managing costs, no matter which solutions you choose, is crucial and should be an ongoing activity. Here, we’ve listed 10 key cost saving tricks to your cloud computing bill.

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1. Undertake an evaluation of your cloud performance

Your cloud service provider will be able to conduct a comprehensive performance analysis and produce a report, where you’ll be able to see how well your applications are working in the cloud. You’ll need to also ensure that you measure the performance your end user is experiencing, confirming and building reports that monitor the performance and user experience (UX) of your solution.

Your data in a data centre or cloud deployment may look good, but your end user’s experience may be that the functionality is dreadful, and that could cost you money and clients. With effective client Service Level Agreements (SLAs) you’ll know what to measure.

With a complete analysis of application services, usage, peeks in resource requirements, etc. it will clearly demonstrate if the application will be cost-effective in the cloud. Some apps simply may not be effective in a cloud environment.

2. Continually monitor your cloud solutions

Your Infrastructure and Operations team will be able to provide cost optimisation tools; they’ll also be able to provide a good insight into your environment. They’ll also be monitoring what servers are being built and to what specs. The tools and reports you put in place for analysis form the pillar for continuous monitoring, and with strategic alerts and automated actions you can better ensure top performance and regulate your charges.

3. Utilise automation services

By monitoring, you’ll be capturing a large amount of data; therefore you should take advantage of the auto-scaling and additional automation services that your cloud service provider can deliver.

To drive further savings, you could automate weekday activity and turn off unused systems at nights and over the weekends, meaning that you won’t be charged for those times when no one is using the systems.

4. Improve storage management

If there’s one thing that increases costs in the cloud, it’s an ineffective storage strategy. IT culture and legacy business habits can mean duplicate data is created, and this will increase your costs. By retraining your staff to form more efficient cloud working practices, implementing some rules for versin control and how your data is managed, your cloud storage will be far better utilised.

With costs in mind, ensure that your provider has transparent pricing that clarifies each factor and expected cost should your usage grow.

5. Detect excess use

By putting into place enhanced monitoring, you can leverage dynamic pricing, delivering further benefits to your business by identifying where you’ve under or overestimated resources. This is especially true when you’ve migrated your apps from dedicated physical servers to virtual servers in the cloud. The average physical server supporting one application is underutilised in the data centre, and once in the cloud, you’ll most likely witness speed improvements across your IT estate.

6. Discover and replace ineffective code

There may be instances of inefficient code in your set up, the resulting performance drops being especially noticeable, and the reduced costs from limiting network traffic becoming considerable.

7. Inventory ownership

An essential characteristic of cloud computing is on-demand provisioning. cloud service providers are more than happy to provision as many servers and services as you request. Allocating somebody to track these requests controls costs, better utilises the servers or services, and manages shadow IT.

8. Administer IT systems deployed by other departments – shadow IT

Managing any IT spend outside the main IT department is critical. If different parts of your company are able to purchase cloud and other IT services without involving your IT, you won’t effectively be managing your cloud computing costs.

Ensure that your process for ordering and approving the spend is simple and apparent. Integrate auditing in order to track colleagues or departments spending money on the cloud and set up a service catalogue listing the types of cloud services available.

9. Support contract evaluation

Following your move to the cloud, any legacy hardware that was associated with the on-premise solution may need to be withdrawn. When you action this, ensure that you also stop the support/service contracts for that hardware. You may need to assess your staffing needs for any data centres because the skill sets required to manage cloud applications are hugely different.

10. Ensure you have your own license

No doubt, your cloud service provider will be happy to charge you for the licenses to run your software in the cloud, but software vendors have updated their licensing to enable you to use your own licenses in the cloud. Be cautious though as there are a couple of big companies that dictate your use of their cloud provisions for their software if you’re moving off physical systems. Something to consider.

Don’t rest on your laurels

Once you’ve successfully migrated, it’s not time to celebrate, or kick back and take it easy. You’ll still need to manage the service and also plan for continued investment and development; technology never sits still. By implementing a methodical approach and a development life cycle, your business can, as needed, migrate any applications released for the cloud and develop processes for them.

Should you be building the service for private or public cloud, your new model will, going forward, keep services agile and more cost-effective for the business.

Investing now will ensure your business is ahead of the curve, making you more competitive, more productive and much more responsive to rapid changes in customer demands.

Ensuring that you’ve defined all technical procedures, business practices, and development strategies into a clear understanding of the cloud, and its benefits to all will be key to your success. By embracing the cloud now, and benefitting from the operational and culture improvements it brings, you ensure your business can grow in a competitive marketplace.

If you’d like to know more about cloud migration and how it can help your organisation become more effective, more efficient and more expedient, get in touch with our cloud strategists at Blue Saffron, and start your cloud journey.

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