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Optimising Your Cloud Spend

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Optimising Your Cloud Bill
A key motivator for moving to the cloud is the potential for cost savings. And while most organisations who make the switch end up saving substantial amounts of money, oftentimes that requires a bit of discipline to make your cloud spend match projections. Without a careful eye, it can be easy to rack up charges you weren’t expecting, and cloud providers don’t have much incentive to work with you to lower your spend.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few ways to optimise your cloud spend. Even if your monthly bill isn’t exceeding your budget, you should be able to find a few spots to make some improvements.

Find The Hidden Costs
Often cloud services offer an up-front price tag that’s very transparent, and hide some extra costs. You can end up budgeting a baseline rate for the service based on the pricing page, and then getting a surprise bill at the end of the month.

Newcomers to the cloud often experience this when using cloud storage (like AWS’s S3), where they budget based on how many gigabytes they’re planning on storing in the cloud, but then rack up charges for data egress and networking fees to access their data. These fees can often be many times the original storage cost! Similarly, using cloud servers like Azure’s Virtual Machines usually has an up-front server cost per hour. But servers also need storage and networking, which may incur extra charges.

Typically, cloud providers allow you some chances to optimise these on your own. For example, with cloud storage, there’s usually no network charge for sending data in the same cloud (AWS’s S3 to EC2, for instance). But even then there are still some stumbling blocks. For example, transferring to a different availability zone (EU-1 to EU-2, for instance), may still rack up fees.

One final hidden cost? When you think you’ve stopped paying for a resource only to find you hadn’t completely closed the contract. When you terminate a server, you need to ensure you’ve deleted all the storage devices associated with it, or you’ll still incur hourly charges for those even if the server is no longer around. The best way to solve this is simply periodic audits, and proper use of tagging and labelling.