Cloud cost management helps businesses control their spending on cloud services while also maximizing their resources. Most cloud providers offer basic cloud cost management tools to help achieve this, and there are also more specialized third-party solutions that provide additional visibility and insight into cloud costs. By making cloud cost management a priority, an enterprise can control its costs and practice good governance while also ensuring that it has the cloud resources it needs to stay competitive.
In addition, cloud cost management best practices also support other business objectives and cloud best practices, such as security, visibility, organization, and accountability. Thus, cloud cost management is important for reasons beyond simple cost control. Good cloud cost management gives businesses the ability to plan, reduce waste, and forecast both their costs and their resource needs.
Defining Cloud Cost Management
Cloud cost management (also known as cloud cost optimization) is the organizational planning that allows an enterprise to understand and manage the costs and needs associated with its cloud technology. This means finding cost-effective ways to maximize cloud usage and efficiency.
As cloud infrastructure becomes more complex, cloud costs become more difficult to track. The “pay for what you use” model used by most public cloud providers adds to the difficulty: If usage is monitored and managed appropriately, this model can result in significant savings, but it’s also easy for costs to spiral out of control. This is especially true if decision making is decentralized across an organization, with individuals able to spin up instances (and accrue costs) with little or no accountability. Thus, it’s important for enterprises to employ a cloud cost management strategy to make the most of their infrastructure and keep costs down.
Advantages of cloud cost management:
- Decreased costs: This is the most obvious benefit of cloud cost management. Businesses that take a proactive approach to planning for cloud costs can ensure they don’t overspend on unused resources, and they’re able to take advantage of discounts based on volume or advance payment.
- Predictability: A business that properly forecasts its cloud computing needs won’t be surprised by a sudden increase in costs.
- Efficient usage: Taking a close look at spending also helps enterprises reduce waste and make the most of the resources they do pay for with techniques like automatic scaling and load balancing.
- Better performance: An important cloud cost management tactic is right-sizing or ensuring that the public cloud instances you choose are the right fit for your organization’s needs. Overprovisioning means overpaying; under provisioning can cause performance to suffer—but with careful planning, businesses can ensure smooth performance without increasing costs.
- Visibility: It’s impossible to practice good cloud cost management without detailed visibility into your organization’s usage and cloud architecture. Fortunately, this visibility also serves many other business needs besides cloud cost management, including governance and security.