As indicated in my prior blog, Optimizing Cloud Costs for DevOps With AI-Assisted Orchestration, an AI-assisted Kubernetes orchestrator is needed to optimize cloud costs for DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE. This blog describes the landscape for cloud-native optimization approaches and a features requirement blueprint for an AI-assisted Kubernetes orchestrator. The blog also describes a roadmap for implementing an AI-assisted Kubernetes orchestrator and the benefits of a solution using an AI-assisted Kubernetes orchestrator.
Cloud-Native Optimization Approaches Landscape
As indicated in the article Tricks for Cloud Cost Optimization, “Cloud cost optimization (CCO) is a technique of running cloud-native applications effectively, at minimal possible cost, without affecting the health of the services.” The most typical approaches are variants of the following:
• Rightsizing pre-paid, fixed and reserved instances: Cloud service pricing models are intended to fit your application and business needs with the hundreds of choices available from cloud service providers. This approach can be cost-efficient when application and business needs are constant over time. However, this approach is not sufficiently cost-efficient for many applications and business needs that are constantly changing, such as use cases for DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE.
• Spot instances can offer low cost-per-instance, but reliability is not guaranteed because the cloud provider can interrupt these services anytime. Unless the use of spot instances is limited to workloads that do not require a high level of reliability, this approach is limited. This approach does have the potential to have a broader application if a smart management layer is implemented to orchestrate the use of the spot instances.
• Pay-as-you-go offerings by cloud service providers, used together with infrastructure-as-code (IaC) and auto-scaling, can help save on cloud costs. This approach facilitates the automatic spin-up of resources when needed and automatic shutdown when not needed. However, to realize the benefits of this approach requires constant supervision of cloud usage and manual adjustments to realize the benefits. Businesses may not even be aware of the resource scaling until the monthly bill arrives.
• Cloud auto-stopping of entire applications and clusters can help to manage cloud resources automatically to ensure that they run only when needed, never when idle. This approach is not granular enough to sufficiently reduce costs for rapidly fluctuating resource needs for DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE use cases.
• Manual cloud costs management, in which team members are taught to understand their own cloud spend and cloud cost management practices, can help reduce costs. However, this approach is subject to human involvement, is slow and generally does not provide granular controls needed to sufficiently deliver cloud cost savings 24/7.
None of the traditional cloud cost optimization approaches described above have the requisite smarts, speed or granularity to sufficiently optimize the highly dynamic requirements for DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE use cases. An AI-assisted orchestration approach, when supported with the right features, can make up for the deficiencies of the typical optimization approaches.
Features for AI-assisted Kubernetes Orchestrator
As indicated by CAST AI an AI-Assisted Kubernetes orchestrator needs the following features:
• Easy to start – It should take less than five minutes to fully onboard a cluster.
• Easy to use – The orchestrator should abstract layers of complexity, so little knowledge is needed to use it other than a basic knowledge of running Kubernetes clusters in a public cloud. For example, a working knowledge of the kubectl command line utility for creating and managing Kubernetes clusters.
• SaaS configuration – Avoids the need to host and manage the orchestrator itself.
• Autoscaler policies – Define threshold values and upper bounds so instances are automatically added or removed as per the policy.
• Cloud Support for AWS EKS, GCS GKS, Azure AKS and kOps clusters
• Reports to monitor and track cost savings for each cluster.
• Features to optimize each cluster.
• High availability to ensure the orchestrator itself is not a failure point.
• Collect and analyze each cluster configuration to provide the most optimal setup along with a savings estimation for the current cloud environment.
• Security – Detect and monitor K8s vulnerabilities and configuration issues.
Roadmap for Implementing AI-Assisted Kubernetes Orchestrator
According to the article Roadmap To Cloud Cost Optimization, organizations need to understand that they need to deploy cloud computing the right way. This not only paves way for the actual digital transformation but is even instrumental to cloud cost management.”
The article Top 3 Issues in Kubernetes Cost Management indicates, “Teams cannot manage and monitor Kubernetes’ costs without having the right tools in hand. No doubt, you can collect all the data yourself and create the right solutions. It wouldn’t be easy to modify these solutions if changes are required.” The speed of change with DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE is not compatible with the typical tools.
A good example AI tool, CAST AI, indicates how easy it can be to onboard a Kubernetes cluster. First, connect your Kubernetes cluster to CAST AI and see how much you can save by optimizing cluster configuration. After exploring the available savings and cost reports, you can onboard the cluster into CAST AI and set the Autoscaler policies, which will manage the cluster for you. It takes less than five minutes to fully onboard a cluster.
Benefits of Solutions Using AI-Assisted Kubernetes Orchestrator
An AI-assisted cloud orchestrator can provide the following benefits.
- Spot instance automation
- Spot instance fallback
- Real-time autoscaling
- Instant rebalancing
- Visibility into cloud usage and costs
- Avoids over-provisioning
- Cloud resources are not left idle
- A consistent approach between teams and departments
- Reduce monthly average cloud spend by up to 60%
The prior blog Optimizing Cloud Costs for DevOps With AI-Assisted Orchestration explained why an AI-assisted Kubernetes orchestrator is needed to optimize cloud costs for DevOps, DevSecOps and SRE. In this blog, specific requirements for such an AI-assisted Kubernetes orchestrator was explained using CAST AI as an example. The steps to onboard a cluster to the AI tool was explained.