"The Cloud is Too Expensive": 5 Common Mistakes That Are Driving Up Your Cloud Costs

Many users are still managing their cloud infrastructure as if it’s a traditional data center. They employ the "set it and forget it" mentality: they purchase capacity, but they do not actively scale it up and down to meet their ongoing performance needs. While they may have monitoring tools in place to ensure that their systems are functioning, they are not using these tools to take full advantage of the flexibility inherent in the cloud. Then, after a few months of running their infrastructure on the cloud, we hear the inevitable refrain: The Cloud is Too Expensive.

There are a few common mistakes leading up to higher cloud costs that can easily be avoided through active management and the right tools. Here are some of the challenges that I frequently see IT organizations struggling with:

  • Not Using the Pay-As-You-Go Model: Paying only for the capacity that you need is perhaps the most important best practice that you should follow. Too often, organizations create waste and drive up costs by continuing to pay for instances that they are not using. This is a common scenario for Development and Testing infrastructure.
  • Misunderstanding Storage Costs: It’s easy to misunderstand what you are actually being charged for when it comes to storage. For example, you will frequently be charged for storage separately from your instances. If you delete an instance but not the storage volume associated with it, you will still be charged. Make sure you delete that unused storage volume to keep your costs down.
  • Overprovisioning: I have seen companies overprovision throughout the entire year in anticipation of a 5x or 10x spike that happens once (for example, retailers anticipating Black Friday or Cyber Monday traffic). With the cloud, this type of overprovisioning is completely unnecessary since you have the flexibility to scale. Overprovisioning is where most organizations experience the biggest cost hit.
  • Misallocation and Under-Provisioning: Another common mistake that happens when you do not actively manage is misallocation. For example, you may have the right capacity for CPU, but be under-provisioned for memory. In this scenario, your performance is negatively affected, which spirals out into unhappy customers, lost traffic, and lost dollars.
  • Incorrect Pricing Plans: Many organizations do not use the cloud pricing plans that meet their usage requirements, simply because they do not know what their usage requirements actually are. Without active management and the right tools, there is no way predict your needs and understand what instance size you will require to purchase the correct pricing plan for your business.

With a little more active management, the cloud will live up to all that it’s promised to be. Start working on these 5 common mistakes first using the right platforms, and you’ll see a significant reduction in your costs and an improvement in your performance.

Whitepaper: Realizing the Promise of the Cloud Through Active Management

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