Optimize Cloud Use While Reducing Costs

Optimize Cloud Use While Reducing Costs

Cloud computing can save a ton of cash along with a lot of time, especially if you’re migrating from on-premises data solutions. But in order to maximize savings, businesses need to optimize their cloud use according to their business requirements. In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 best practices that allow you to optimize cloud usage and reduce bills.

1. Understand the pricing structure

This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised to learn how many people miss some of the discounts given by cloud services providers. Google, for instance, offers many pricing features that can reduce your cloud bill dramatically. Some of those features include:

  • Sustained-use discounts: This is an automatic discount applied to your bill when you use Compute Engine resources (vCPU, memory, GPU, etc) for a significant amount of time per month. So for instance, by using vCPUs and memory for general-purpose custom and predefined machine types for 25% of the month, you become eligible for a discount and it keeps increasing as you continue to use that resource (during the same month).

  • Committed-use discounts: By committing to using the cloud for a set period of time, you can save up to 70% on your cloud bills without making any upfront payments. If you can predict your business’ cloud requirements (something that we can assist in), this is an extremely useful feature.

  • Per-second billing: While cloud services like AWS charge by the hour, the GCP offers you the option to pay by the second - which can result in significant savings for many workloads.

2. Manage your VMs properly

There are a few things you can do to ensure you’re only paying for what you’re using.

  • Rightsizing
    Cloud service providers like Google Cloud generates and offers custom rightsizing recommendations by monitoring system metrics. You can get either performance-based recommendations or cost-based recommendations. By opting for the latter, you can resize your instance's machine type for more efficient operations and also lower cloud spending.

  • Idle VMs
    Stopping and deleting resources not in use (like zombie instances) is an important step to optimizing cloud spend. The GCP has Recommenders specifically for optimizing VMs including an Idle VM Recommender that helps you identify idle resources that can be stopped to save money.

  • Preemptible VMs
    If you need temporary compute power, then you shouldn’t pay for a full VM instance. Instead, you can use a preemptible VM instance that lasts up 24 hours and runs on the same hardware as the regular VMs but costs up to 80% less. They are easy to implement and are great for a number of workloads including resource-intensive batch processing.

3. Automate and autoscale

These practices might seem overwhelming but a large part of them can easily be automated. Google Cloud comes with many tools built in to automate best practices in cost reduction. Tools like labels and Cloud Scheduler allow you to automate when processes begin and end, among other things. You can also use rules to further customize task automation.

Another way to optimize cloud use and budget is to use the autoscaling feature in most cloud service providers. Autoscaling is another form of automation and ensures that you’re not paying for resources that aren’t in use. For instance, the cloud will automatically downscale CPU utilization, HTTP load balancing capacity, and more when traffic decreases and upscale when it increases.

4. Configure storage correctly

So far, most of the best practices have focused on cloud compute resources, but cloud storage can and should be optimized too. Here are some ways you can optimize your spend on Cloud Storage.

  • Like Cloud Compute, Storage too comes in different classes. The GCP has four types of Storage Classes: standard, nearline, coldline, and archival. All of these classes have different costs and are suitable for different workloads. You should choose the one that works for you.

  • If you find yourself manually changing storage classes frequently due to different workloads you can use lifecycle policies to automate this. Lifecycle policies automatically change or delete storage classes based on a set of predefined conditions.

  • Finally, it’s recommended that you delete duplicate data that can accrue over time to save storage and therefore, money.

5. Reassess your needs regularly

Finally, business environments change regularly and so do business requirements which means it’s a good idea to regularly analyze your cloud usage and spend to see if you need to reconfigure your system. You can also use this opportunity to explore the world of custom machine types and further optimize cloud use as the GCP lets you assemble custom VMs to your exact configuration (the only cloud service provider currently to do so).

Reach out to D3V today to receive expert guidance in how to accurately assess your businesses’ cloud requirements or to optimize your existing cloud network. Our team’s certified cloud experts specialize in tailored solutions to fit individual business needs.

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