How do cloud winners optimize their cloud expenditure?

How effective are organizations in optimizing their cloud budget?
17 August 2020

Organizations are increasingly pressured to optimize their cloud expenditure. Source: Shutterstock

The flurry of work from home and condensed digital transformation projects has seen organizations migrating to the cloud for business continuity, scalability, and agility. 

The cloud market has long been established as a multibillion dollar industry with IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) and PaaS (platform-as-a-service) at the forefront of cloud-inspired solutions; it’s no surprise that Gartner estimates the cloud business process services to set to glean close to US$54 million in revenue. 

In such a competitive space, cost will inevitably play a role, especially when weighed alongside other decision-making factors that could be integral to selecting the right cloud computing investment for the business.

With a more varied enterprise cloud landscape than ever before, comprising not just public and private cloud but hybrid cloud and multicloud offerings nowadays, technology service providers (TSPs) can often be uniquely positioned to provide input on the best integration models when it comes to getting the most out of cloud expenditure.

Cloud collaboration solutions

For instance, Virgin Media Business’ Andrew Halliwell recommends looking into managed cloud services like cloud collaboration platforms and consulting services, to draw out the best value from cloud investment.

“First, it’s about choosing cloud collaboration solutions that offer simplification and integration within a single platform,” says Halliwell. “There are technologies available that create a joined up, personalized, and differential worker and consumer experience across all departments and user types. So, rather than just buying a solution in itself, leaders are getting game-changing integration capabilities impacting every aspect of their organization.”

“Secondly, they need to seize on the potential of partnerships,” he continued. “The challenges enterprises face post-Covid are intricate and complex, and so they need to broaden the pool of expertise they draw on when investing in cloud infrastructure.

“By choosing partnerships, organizations can benefit from consultancy on every aspect of running their business — from improving customer experience to bolstering security — driving value and maximizing investment,” he concluded.

Business priorities

For networking firm Silver Peak’s technical director Simon Pamplin, on the other hand, a clear cloud strategy motivated by business goals will help reduce inefficiencies and cost overruns. “To fully realize the potential of cloud, organizations must look to a business-driven networking model to achieve greater agility and substantial CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OPEX (operational expenditure) savings.”

Pamplin highlights that a business-focused network model gives better visibility of the applications running on the cloud, allowing organizations to better vet application performance and, ultimately, their return on cloud investment.

“A business-driven approach eliminates the extra hops and risk of security compromises,” he added. “This ensures optimal and cost-efficient cloud usage, as applications will be able to run smoothly while fully supported by the network. If organizations want to keep up with and benefit from the pace of digital transformation, they must ensure they have the network infrastructure to do so.”

Performance monitoring

Finally, Matthew Yonkovit, the chief experience officer at Percona, believes that a major element of optimizing cloud expenditure, is optimizing the performance of individual components of the company’s integrated system.

“Optimization is key, not just scaling up. Better tuning of your instances can help, while making smarter decisions on how you deploy your databases can ensure you get better performance at lower cost.”

Making good decisions should go hand-in-hand with a flexible deployment approach, leveraging on the agility that makes cloud-based systems so appealing in the first place. “Flexibility is one of the key selling points of the cloud model, allowing for increases and decreases in capacity in line with demand,” said Yonkovit.

“Businesses should utilize this flexibility when approaching the rise and fall of demand; scaling down at the right time is just as important as scaling up, and can save additional costs,” he emphasizes. “Regular system audits, eliminating resources not in use, and reviewing the quantity of data, storage class and location are key to effectively scaling down.”

Yonkovit says ultimately, organization stakeholders need to step up and play a decisive role in formulating an individualized cloud strategy for their company, if culling costs is a primary focus. “While your cloud provider might manage your infrastructure, they don’t have your insight into your business’s unique needs, and they don’t carry out tuning for your specific circumstances.”

“What you have will work — it may even work well — but it’s designed to suit the vast majority of companies, rather than your individual needs,” Yonkovit stressed. “This can end up costing you more money than it should. Ultimately, the only person responsible for the performance of your analytics project is you.”