Make sure your cloud is optimised for the year

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The growth of cloud computing has accelerated rapidly in the past few years, becoming a serious consideration for businesses great and small. However, with IT departments increasingly dabbling in the cloud rather than on-premises infrastructures, it’s now necessary for companies to ensure they are spending enough to remain fully optimised. 

But what does cloud optimisation really mean? We’ve made a list of four key ways you can ensure your cloud is as secure and efficient as it can be without stretching your budget. 

1. Discover where your cloud is wasted

It can cost a huge amount of money to have a secure and efficient cloud environment in place, so it’s important to ensure you’re not wasting any of your space. Firstly, try to work out when your cloud is used and implement auto-scaling so that it is designed for your workload rather than running when it’s not needed. Worried about random spikes in activity? Include some over-provisioning to keep your capacity at the right level. 

Of course, another easy way of reducing storage use and so reducing your costs is to clean up your old storage data. Deleting volumes that are no longer attached to anything can save you space and money. 

2. Understand your architecture

Your application’s architecture should be used to guide your efforts in cloud optimisation, determining how it scales. For example, if your application is stateful rather than stateless, you will use different optimisation techniques to achieve cost-efficiency.

Stateful applications (known as vertically scalable) may require over-provisioning capacity to compensate for the amount of additional capacity that could be needed short term. However, stateless applications (known as horizontally scalable) can be easily auto-scaled so they can compensate for errors in right-sizing. 

3. Beware of shadow IT

While your IT department may wish it were the only one with access to your cloud databases, it’s unlikely that’s the case. This means that employees across your business could be subscribing to services without anyone’s knowledge, resulting in unnecessary and unchecked spending.

It’s also possible that subscriptions and provisioned cloud services could be used for a short time but then abandoned, resulting in spending on space and applications that are not actually being used at all. Consider using management and governance tools to provide your IT department with visibility across your company, so cloud resources can be used wisely. 

4. Keep an eye on pricing

Just like with any other subscription, it can be easy to settle with a particular company or service and then avoid having to make changes. However, the complexity of cloud service offerings makes it difficult to understand the true costs of your cloud infrastructure, particularly when cloud companies continually update their prices based on usage dimensions.

This means that a service that may have seems reasonable at the start could now actually be overpriced for your needs. As a result, it’s up to IT departments to remain diligent and ensure that their plans and service tiers are still right for the business. 

Ultimately, the best way to ensure your cloud service is not eating up too much of your budget is to understand what you need, keep on top of your cloud management (including investigating shadow IT elsewhere in your business) and regularly ensure your chosen service is still the right one for you. 

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