Have you watched Netflix lately? Even if you haven’t, you may have heard of the phenomenon that is Marie Kondo, a tidying consultant who helps families organize their lives to reduce wasted space, material items and time. While watching her carefully organize peoples’ closets, I began to draw parallels between this process and cloud management.
A recent study found that idle resources and overprovisioning will lead to an excess of $14.1 billion in wasted cloud spend in 2019. Enterprises often view the cloud as a major source of cost savings, but without the proper controls in place, savings are by no means a given.
Cloud can be a cost savings center, but organizations need governance and transparency to truly wrangle cloud consumption and rein in unchecked spending. One of Marie Kondo’s core principles is to ask if something “sparks joy” before deciding whether to keep it. From my perspective, overspending on cloud only sparks frustration.
Like the Marie Kondo method, there are ways to reclaim control of your cloud and optimize its capabilities:
Take Stock of Your Cloud Operations
Cloud waste is usually a result of overenthusiastic resource deployments—both in terms of the number of resources and their configurations. Frequently, businesses, accustomed to the sunk costs of on-premises IT environments that can’t be recovered, have added a little “wiggle room” in their provisioning. Often designed to prepare for future demand, this extra cushion can mean businesses are paying for unused capacity if the projected demand fails to materialize.
The same psychology (the sunk costs of on-premises IT infrastructures) has led to resources left running when they are not in use. By some estimates, 44 percent of workloads are non-production workloads, such as those used in quality assurance, development, testing and staging, with a further 15 percent of cloud computing costs stemming from duplicated resources that are no longer required.
To address this, businesses need to take stock of every element of their IT infrastructure and monitor it regularly to ensure it is not going to waste.
Rightsize to Optimize
The next phase of inventorying IT is rightsizing. With rightsizing, businesses must not only identify what has been incorrectly provisioned, but then look to reconfigure those wasted resources to reach optimum levels.
All too often “zombies”—cloud resources that were once useful but have been discontinued, duplicated or no longer required—are subtly bumping up the monthly costs of cloud, without providing any business benefit.
The Portal is Your Friend
Regardless of a company’s cloud provider of choice, there is often a portal to offer greater oversight. Unfortunately, teams can form the bad habit of not using them to their fullest. When used correctly, a portal can enable teams to manually write scheduling scripts or automate the scheduling process to switch off non-production workloads. This is a fast-track trick to savings.
Maintaining Your Reduced Appetite for Cloud
While more attention is often placed on cloud deployments at the onset, ongoing resource management is just as critical. Using policy-driven automation can help maintain cloud cost reduction efforts by creating rules within your cloud environment. Automated policies can address a number of scenarios, including:
- Send an alert when projected month-to-date cloud spend is greater than the monthly budget allotment.
- Notify cloud managers when daily cloud costs spike more than 10 percent of daily average spend.
- Delete unattached storage volumes automatically after a set number of days.
- Report when demand decreases over a certain period of time for a particular resource.
While the cloud was purpose-built for businesses, cost overruns can put a big damper on IT plans (and budget). But with the right tools and the right team, cloud cost reduction and management can allow your organization to reap the benefits, as they were intended.
Now, if that doesn’t spark joy in an IT team, I don’t know what will!