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6 Strategies for Cloud Computing Efficiency

September 02, 2019 Sarah Challis Articles, Cloud VoIP

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There are so many advantages to switching to cloud computing. Moving to the cloud increases efficiency, reduces technology costs and allows scalability, no matter the size of your business. Cloud computing also allows you to optimize operational resources giving you an advantage over competitors.

Your IT infrastructure will benefit from migrating to the cloud since it is a more reliable solution that centralizes the management of IT resources, giving you more time to spend on more critical IT tasks. .

However, simply migrating applications and data to the cloud won’t necessarily result in cost savings. While the cloud provides value through its on-demand nature, a lack of cloud optimization may result in uncontrolled costs. Optimizing cloud computing efficiency depends on decisions like how and where to host your workloads. It requires new approaches and processes developed by CIOs and IT organizations to optimize cloud costs.

Here, we take a look at 6 ways to maximize your cloud computing efficiency:

 

1. Choosing the right cloud service

The most important decision to make after deciding to move to cloud storage is to choose the right cloud service provider. Finding a reliable and viable provider is crucial when managing the cloud, as the right provider must accommodate your business needs and the applications you are running.

The most common types of cloud services are virtual machines/servers. While the process of choosing the right cloud service for a certain type of workload can be challenging and requires in-depth research, businesses can often save money by conducting a cost-benefit analysis of available cloud providers.

For example, a serverless computing platform could be a better way to optimize the cloud cost for an application that requires a large number of computing resources on an irregular basis because it only requires payment for the compute time used by the application.

2. Identifying the best discounting options based on your usage level

Taking advantage of discounted instance types and consumption commitments are a few other ways to maximize your cloud computing efficiency. With the appropriate advance cloud capacity planning you may be able to take advantage of discounts of as much as 75%.

Understanding each cloud provider’s discount options for their instances is important since it’s one of the main drivers of the total savings. For example, preemptible instances can be up to 80% cheaper than regular instances with some providers.

Additionally, if there are some instances that need to be run by certain applications regularly, a specific number of vCPUs can be purchased with a discount off the normal price in return for committing to a usage term of 1 year or more, for example.

3. Rightsizing: Choosing the most cost-effective regions and instance sizes for each application

Ensuring that you have the ideal virtual server size is one of the basic steps to maximize cloud computing efficiency. A virtual server is a virtual machine sold as a Cloud service subscription by a hosting service, as opposed to a physical server you purchase and keep at your office. Virtual server instances are offered in a variety of categories and can be customised extensively for roles such as file servers, application servers or domain controller servers.

Since the price and the capacity provided varies by each service, when choosing an instance type, it’s important to choose the right amount of memory depending on the workload to optimize cost savings. Some applications may require a larger instance size while some can perform well on a much smaller instance using fewer resources thereby reducing costs. 

To choose the right instance size by making sure you know what is required for each application in terms of:

  • Memory
  • CPU
  • Storage
  • Network capacity 

The region you choose can also have an impact on cost and efficiency. You may think choosing the closest region will be the cheapest but that’s not always the case and it’s worth exploring all options to determine which region is ultimately the best fit for your requirements. 

Data privacy laws should be taken into account as you may be required to keep data within a specific region for compliance. Another factor to consider is extreme weather, as locations that are prone to experience natural phenomena like hurricanes or earthquakes are not ideal.

To be able to get the optimum balance of cost and performance, your virtual machine resource consumption should be analyzed. This “right-sizing” exercise will allow you to select the appropriate design depending on the workload required and your business needs.

4. Adjusting autoscaling and fine-tuning rules

Autoscaling options are often provided with managed instance groups where you can automatically add or delete instances, depending on changes in the load. Autoscaling helps reduce costs when managing increases and decreases in traffic. Once your autoscaling policy is defined, the autoscaler will start performing on the measured load automatically. 

To set up an autoscaler, you must first define the rules it will run on. For example, if there is an increase in the load, the autoscaler will upscale resources and if there is a decrease, it will downscale.

Cost management isn’t the only benefit gained by using autoscaling in the architecture of an application. It also enables organizations to define if an instance is not working well and stops the instance to reload a new one automatically. 

5. Managing unused cloud instances  

Have your cloud costs increased over time? There are several causes of increased costs and unused or underutilized resources is a common issue. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to control costs:

  • Identify and turn off idle and unused instances.
  • Consider downsizing the unused or underutilized instances: 
  • Terminate the instances used for training and development when projects are completed.
  • Upgrade out-of-date instance families.
  • Create alerts to track idle instances or underutilized resources.
  • Create an alert for machines that exceed a threshold or forecasted budget. Most services provide the ability to shut down the instance and alert when a chosen threshold is reached.
  • Shut down unused instances over weekends and at the end of working days to optimize costs. This is crucial, especially in development environments.

What is an 'instance'?

An instance is defined as a container of resources that is shared with its physical host (your network).

Usually, 1 instance = 1 virtual machine or server.

The more instances used, the higher the costs

How to implement cloud computing efficiency: Check your configuration. Some cloud services provide developers access to workloads through applications without having to worry about configuring the underlying infrastructure. The ability to allow developers to create resource templates to efficiently build and rebuild cloud environments makes it easy to create, use, optimize, stop and ultimately delete unused instances.

6. Understanding your applications and considering a multi-cloud architecture

If you’re looking to achieve the greatest level of cloud computing cost optimization, a multi-cloud architecture is one of the best solutions. Although it requires more work to set up and maintain, a multi-cloud strategy can distinctly lower your overall cloud computing costs and improve performance.

A multi-cloud architecture uses two or more cloud services that can be sourced from a variety of different vendors. Multi-cloud environments can be used to distribute resources and minimize risks, e.g. downtime, outages, and data loss. 

The advantage of using a multi-cloud architecture are:

  • Increased computing power 
  • More storage available to a business
  • The ability to select from different providers for different tasks. For example, one service provider may charge more for operating the serverless function while offering file storage at a lower price, allowing you to use another cloud provider at the same time to achieve best cost optimization.
  • Avoidance of vendor lock-in with wider choice and maximum flexibility
  • Improved risk management and regulatory compliance

It is important to note that there are limits for integrating cloud services from different providers and connecting different functions can be difficult. Sometimes it is not worth the effort. However, if you have various workloads with different needs on distinct platforms and you want to use one provider for data backup, a multi-cloud strategy is a cost-effective solution. 

Summary - How to achieve cloud computing efficiency

You may have initially moved to the cloud to realize the promise of a more cost-efficient design but the reality is that your costs have steadily increased over time. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to maximize your cloud computing efficiency. The key to optimizing cloud usage is to have a proactive approach to cost optimization. Adopting our tips and techniques will help you to understand your existing usage while discovering improved cost saving benefits in the long term.

Are you thinking about optimizing your cloud efficiency? Speak to INVAR Technologies today to see how we can save you time, money and an infrastructure headache!

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