The benefits and best practices of Cloud Optimization

0
182

The trend of businesses migrating at least some of their key workloads or applications into the public cloud continues as organizations see several benefits with cloud migration.  The global cloud computing market size is expected to grow from USD 545.8 billion in 2022 to USD 1,240.9 billion in 2027, according to MarketsandMarkets research firm.

While benefitting greatly from cloud services, organizations however face an ongoing challenge of managing the cost and other related aspects of cloud computing.  Gartner predicts through 2024, 60% of infrastructure and operations (I & O) leaders will encounter public cloud cost overruns that negatively impact their on-premises budgets.  Yes, this clearly indicates, cloud migration and usage require ongoing monitoring and evaluation unlike the regular annual investment in traditional hardware and software.

Cloud Optimization – need of the hour

Most IT infrastructure and Cloud Services teams are constantly faced with the challenge of getting a grip on where the cloud spending goes and what is driving the cost.  It is absolutely critical to choose the appropriate computing resources and assign them to each application or workload, as the case may be.

As businesses are looking at scaling to meet the growing demand, it is equally important to optimize cloud costs, one of the aspects of the cloud optimization plan.  The others include improving team collaboration and employee productivity, application performance, solution reliability, utilization of resources, and ensuring the right security measures are in place.  These improvements will undoubtedly increase productivity leading to better business outcomes.  Cloud efficiency can be established by ensuring the best-fit infrastructure in real time for cost, performance, and compliance with respect to applications and workloads.  By reducing the waste in a cloud environment, there is a significant reduction in costs as well. Proactively preventing problems in an optimized environment drives better productivity of IT and DevOps teams as they do focus on their core tasks and not on troubleshooting problems that otherwise occur.  With cloud optimization tools and analytics, there is an improvement in visibility into the cloud environment enabling teams to make data-driven decisions which in turn provides a better perspective of the investments in cloud computing services.

Building a cloud optimization strategy includes the stages of planning, deployment, design, and monitoring where flexibility is also offered to enable transition between the stages for the teams.

Best practices to be followed in cloud optimization

The business and IT leaders must begin the process with the end goal in mind.  This will provide the required clarity on what objectives the cloud optimization initiative has to achieve.  Measures should be established to ascertain success at every phase throughout the different stages.  The goal should be revisited regularly to ensure the plan is diligently followed.  Application requirements should be reviewed which can assist in resizing the compute resources accordingly as and when needed. 

By leveraging automation tools, manual errors can be minimized when installing and managing cloud services.  Automating the infrastructure can help in controlling costs too as it can administer the work environment, and track down what is necessary. 

It is important to select the most appropriate storage services to calculate their costs and for comparing them with other options.

To control unnecessary provisioning, create and implement a regulated structure around governance and responsibility for the teams that are involved.  Ensure all team members have the relevant tools that are in good working condition and they are following the structure.

Collaborate with all internal teams to ensure the essential data is collected.  This data has to be cleaned and validated for reliability in data-driven decision-making.  This step is very critical as cloud optimization is a data-driven exercise. 

By investing in reserved instances (RIs), the organization can establish cost savings, as long-term financial commitment can be made and significant discounts gained when compared to on-demand pricing.

Cloud security is another aspect of the process where highly sensitive business information is protected as preventing data breaches is key to gaining customer trust and business revenues. A set of policies, procedures, technologies, and controls for securing the cloud should be in place to safeguard cloud-based applications and systems.

Create organization-wide standards which indicate the available resources and their usage, besides information on when and why the latter should be used.  This can provide clarity on costs, quality, and performance in the cloud. 

It is also critical to follow the procedure of forecasting cloud costs, predicting future expenditure of the cloud, based on historical data on spending, and also clearly assessing future project costs.  This also ensures the teams are adhering to their budgets and they are alerted when there is excess spending.

The performance of cloud deployments should be evaluated and measured on a regular basis, which can lead to further improvements in the whole exercise.  With the review of the usage, redundant applications and services can be removed from the plan.

It is equally important to deploy the team with the technical expertise to execute the cloud optimization process.  They should work alongside the business leaders to achieve the optimization goals set in the first place.  Many a time partnering with the right external team of experts can be more effective as the latter have the know-how and experience to address challenges in implementing similar projects.  This partnership will lead to faster business outcomes and the organization’s success.  It is also important to empower a qualified team member to drive the entire cloud optimization process who also has both technical as well as people-management skills.

About the author:

 Rahul S Kurkure is the Founder and Director of Cloud.in.