Moving your technology estate to public cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform can drive significant benefits including improved security, resilience, performance and innovation for a business.

One area that is often overlooked once the technology has been deployed is cloud service cost management. In my experience, lots of work is performed during the development of the initial business case to justify the move to the cloud. Once the new transition has completed, many (unfortunately) take a step back and believe cloud costs will manage themselves.

For many businesses, the biggest change is the move from a capital expenditure to operating expenditure financial model where consumption can significantly vary month on month. Having strong governance to manage cloud costs is therefore critical if you want to ensure that the business case for public cloud services remains viable.

Here are seven steps you can take to get a better handle on your public cloud costs...and they are not hard to implement!


1. On demand compute instances vs reserved and spot

Assess short, medium and long term requirements for the types of technology instances you require. On demand instances can cost ~ 60% more than those reserved on a 1 or 3 year timescale.



2. Right size resources

Right size your resources and look for ways to reduce compute power that isn’t required.



3. Turn off compute resources which are not being used

Did you know that you are charged for having an instance up and running even if it isn’t actively being used? That’s right, every night when your developers are not at work but their compute resources remain active is costing you money. Simple solution - proactively turn them off.



4. Evaluate long vs short term storage needs

Infrequent access to data could be placed into archive. Dependent on the cloud provider and storage class, you could save anywhere between 30-80%.



5. Evaluate data transfer needs

Data transferred out of the cloud can be costly and slow depending on location, for example if you operate using a global footprint.



6. Tag your estate

Tagging ensures that clear labels are applied to your assets deployed in the Cloud.  The tags can be used to highlight how and why an asset is used e.g. which products, services, teams, environments they relate to. This makes it easier to understand, allocate and manage how cloud services are being consumed by your business.



7. Define clear ownership and accountability

Budgeting, monitoring and optimisation of cloud spend needs clear oversight, ownership and accountability. Many businesses don’t define this and this means responsibility falls between the cracks, Finance, IT, Digital and Operations teams – who owns, remains unclear.



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