Minimizing Cloud Costs

Kevin Feasel

2016-06-22

Cloud

Kenneth Fisher looks at reducing the bottom line for cloud operations:

This got me thinking about ways to reduce/minimize costs. These are some general ideas since from what I can tell cloud billing is as complex as the tax codes and at that I have limited experience.

  • If you aren’t using your VM, shut it down. You can do this manually, or with apowershell script or even at the push of a button

  • Start small. Only create the machines you need and keep them to a minimum.

  • Starting small will lead to some bottle necks. Feel free to bounce up and down as you need. There are some restrictions (size etc) when you move downwards, so be careful. Again this can be done manually or with powershell. Let’s say you need to do a high volume load. Bump your service tier, then once you are done, bump it back down again.

  • And my personal favorite : Don’t install enterprise when you only need standard.

Doing business on Azure or AWS does require a bit of a shift in mindset.  Cloud costs are entirely variable—you control when services run; how much compute, storage, and bandwidth you want to use; and your SLA.  Choosing different spots on the continuum results in different pricing.  This has also helped the growth of technologies like Hadoop, in which you can separate compute from storage.  If I know that my cluster gets heavy usage during core business hours, light usage overnight, and no usage on the weekend, I can spin up and down nodes as necessary, and can even shut off clusters which don’t need to operate, and because I’m storing the data off of the cluster nodes (and on S3 or in Azure Data Lake Storage), data doesn’t become unavailable just because the primary compute process is unavailable—I could spin up another cluster or write a quick one-off data reader.

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