How to Effectively and Permanently Cut Cloud Costs

Being able to cut cloud costs effectively and permanently can make the difference between success and failure when your business operates in the cloud – not only because if you cut cloud costs your business will benefit financially, but because the best practices involved in cutting cloud costs can also improve performance, security and regulatory compliance.

Naturally the driving force behind any cost-cutting exercise is to cut cloud expenses. This process usually occurs at the third stage of “cloud awareness” once a business has identified the benefits of migrating assets to the cloud (Stage 1) and then lifted and shifted an IT environment to the cloud without first rightsizing the assets due for migration (Stage 2).

The consequence of inadequate planning is “cloud waste”. Businesses pay for resources they are not using – leading to inaccurate project, capacity and budget planning. If your business has reached this stage, you are not alone. It has been estimated more than $62 billion is wasted globally each year due to the failure of businesses to rightsize workloads.

Cut Cloud Expenses by Eliminating Cloud Waste

Remarkably, the failure of businesses to rightsize workloads may not be the leading contributor to cloud waste. In many cases the main reason for businesses receiving bigger-than-expected cloud bills is leaving assets running when they are not required. This issue often stems from a pre-cloud era when developers did not have to worry about switching off servers in on-prem data centers.

There are various ways to cut cloud expenses caused by leaving assets running unnecessarily. For example, you could instruct developers to manually switch off their non-production assets when they are not required or assign them to writing scheduling scripts. Unfortunately the first method lacks reliability and the second is not only time-consuming, it lacks flexibility.

For these reasons, many businesses choose to cut cloud expenses by implementing scheduling software. Scheduling software is more reliable than the manual process of switching off non-production assets and more cost-effective than scheduling scripts. Depending on the type of scheduling software chosen, it can also be more flexible if it allows you to interrupt schedules with the click of a mouse.

How to Cut EC2 Costs with ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a lightweight SaaS application you can use to eliminate cloud waste on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform by scheduling start/stop times for non-production assets. In this respect it is an ideal solution for businesses employing a multi-cloud strategy. However, to prevent confusion over the different terminologies used by Cloud Service Providers – and because AWS is the largest of the three Cloud Service Providers – we are illustrating how to use ParkMyCloud to cut EC2 costs.

The process to cut EC2 costs is very straightforward. Users with super-admin access sign into the business´s AWS account via the ParkMyCloud app and create a permissions-limited IAM credential for the app. This allows ParkMyCloud to conduct a discovery of the business´s assets on AWS, which are then displayed on a single-view dashboard. Each EC2 instance suitable for scheduling is highlighted by a small clock icon which users click on to apply “parking” schedules.

The quickest way to cut AWS expenses with ParkMyCloud is to apply a preconfigured parking schedule to all the recommended instances. This is not an ideal solution for every business, so ParkMyCloud allows different schedules to be applied to different instances or groups of instances. As each schedule is applied, a figure appears on the dashboard indicating by how much that schedule will cut EC2 costs; and, once the schedule is activated, a second figure indicates the savings for the current month.

A further option is to select an “Always Parked” schedule. This option switches off the selected non-production asset(s) until access to it/them is required; at which point the Always Parked schedule can be interrupted with the click of a mouse. This is a flexible option for teams that work irregular hours or in irregular patterns and maximizes how much you can cut EC2 costs. Furthermore, safeguards exist to restart the Always Parked schedule after a period of inactivity, just in case your developers forget.

How Much Can You Cut AWS Costs for Non-Production Instances with ParkMyCloud
Schedule Start Time Stop Time Hours Saved Costs Cut
Mon-Sun 9.00 a.m. 9.00 p.m. 84 per week 50%
Mon-Sun 8.00 a.m. 6.00 p.m. 98 per week 58%
Mon-Sat 9.00 a.m. 9.00 p.m. 96 per week 57%
Mon-Sat 8.00 a.m. 6.00 p.m. 108 per week 64%
Mon-Fri 9.00 a.m. 9.00 p.m. 108 per week 64%
Mon-Fri 8.00 a.m. 6.00 p.m. 118 per week 70%

How to Further Cut AWS Expenses with ParkMyCloud

As well as being able to cut AWS expenses by “parking” EC2 (and RDS) instances, you can also take advantage of ParkMyCloud´s Utilization Reports in order to rightsize assets that may have been over-provisioned when they were originally deployed, or that now have too much capacity due to a subsequent reduction in demand. The Utilization Reports are accessed via a graph icon on ParkMyCloud´s dashboard and display metrics such as peak and average utilization.

Rather than you having to do all the work to identify which assets require rightsizing, ParkMyCloud makes recommendations based on the type of resource and the amount of usage is being made for each element. For example, if a compute-optimized c5.2xlarge instance is using its full memory, but only peaking at half its CPU capacity, ParkMyCloud will recommend changing the instance to a t2.xlarge type – rather than a c5.xlarge, which only has half as much memory.

Using ParkMyCloud´s recommendations and the total visibility of all your account(s) provided by the single-view dashboard, you will also be able to:

  • Establish which instances should be moved to a Reserved Instance pricing plan.
  • Rightsize storage volumes and identify unattached EBS volumes to terminate.
  • Identify data in S3 and EBS volumes that can be archived to Glacier Class storage.
  • Find and terminate idle RDS databases and other zombie assets no longer required.

These measures are all effective ways to further cut AWS expenses effectively. Furthermore, to eliminate the requirement that you repeat the exercise periodically in order to make the cuts permanent, ParkMyCloud can be integrated with cloud management platforms such as CloudHealth that can alert you to future instances suitable for scheduling, over-provisioned resources, unattached volumes, data suitable for archiving and zombie assets.

Cut AWS Costs and Benefit from Improved Performance, Security and Compliance

It may sound contradictory to suggest that if you cut AWS costs you will also benefit from improved performance, security and compliance, but it is true. For one, rightsizing is not only about downsizing instances, but also upsizing where necessary to add addition capacity when it is required in order to make instances perform better. Although upsizing will not cut AWS costs, the improved performance should result in an increase in revenue that will more than justify the increased cost.

Another important factor that can influence the success or failure of businesses operating in the cloud is security. When integrated with a cloud management platform such as CloudHealth, admins can create alerts to be advised of common security issues such as misconfigured assets with ports open to the Internet. Admins can also create policies for misconfigured assets to be terminated automatically or to prevent sign-ins from unrecognized IP addresses and assets being launched outside working hours.

With better asset management, policy-driven governance and heightened security, businesses are better positioned to cope with the demands of regulatory compliance. Your business does not necessarily have to be in an industry such as healthcare or finance in order to be subject to compliance regulations. Laws such as the Federal Rules for Civil Procedure and the EU´s General Data Protection Regulation require that data is both secured and quickly accessible when required.

Find Out More about How You Can Cut Cloud Costs with ParkMyCloud

Cloud computing has revolutionized businesses in many different industries with “pay-as-you-go” IT infrastructure at your fingertips. However, the convenience of quickly scalable, on demand compute resources comes at a cost – one that can get out of hand if you do not implement measures to cut cloud costs wherever possible. ParkMyCloud makes it easy to cut cloud costs effectively and permanently, plus businesses can enjoy the benefits of improved performance, security and regulatory compliance.

To find out more about how you can cut cloud costs with ParkMyCloud, do not hesitate to contact us. Our Customer Services Team will be happy to answer any questions you have about bringing cloud costs under control and will invite you to take a free trial of ParkMyCloud so you have the opportunity to evaluate our app in your own environment and see by how much it is possible for you to cut cloud costs.