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Companies generally procrastinate or put off their cloud optimisation activities as it appears to be a highly complex and resource-demanding task. Challenges arising out of cloud sprawl, billing complexities, and misalignment of business priorities can negatively impact the company’s productivity. However, not carrying out cloud optimisation may also incur a massive financial drain for the company.

Hence, cloud optimisation can be considered as a ‘necessary evil.’ Fortunately, following is a 5-step strategy that will not only simplify the cloud optimisation process but will also help in meeting your set goals:

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  1. Scope Out the Cloud Optimisation Technique

Cloud optimisation is not a one-size-fits-all technique. Hence, your company will first have to assess the scope of the process before deciding on the technique.

In order to better understand the scope, the team must ask the following questions:

  • What is the ultimate project goal? cost optimisation, workload efficiency, performance, uptime, or a combination of all?
  • What is the budget for the process?
  • How many instances and accounts do you already have? Does addition in these instances fall in the agreement with your cloud provider?
  • What are your growth estimates?
  • How will you measure the performance of the applications? What would be the performance indicators?
  • Do you have the requisite support and backup to carry out the optimisation?

The answer to these questions will help you understand the apt optimisation technique for your cloud infrastructure.

  1. Assess the End-User Usage Patterns

Before you carry out cloud optimisation, it is essential that you understand the variances that are necessitating the process. It is of extreme importance to monitor the end-user usage patterns as this data will help with right-sizing.

The essential data that you will need includes:

  • Billing data
  • Metrics data
  • Application dataIdeally, data collected over a period of 3 months would be best suited for this application. Using this information, your company can map out the usage patterns and scale accordingly. Normally, end-user daily usage patterns are in short demand spikes, which can be optimised to work with over-provisioning with enough overhead for demand-pull.
    1. Understand Application Architecture

    Before you optimise the cloud, you need to understand your application’s architecture. At this stage, you need to bring together the scope of your cloud optimisation project and align it with the data collected for end-user usage patterns. Then, while keeping your application architecture in mind, you can gain an insight into the various optimisation techniques available in your case.

    Based on the architecture, there are two possible right-sizing techniques: vertical scaling and horizontal scaling. Vertically scalable applications demand traditional, non-cloud approaches with the capacity depending on the projected future demands. On the other hand, horizontal scalability requires auto-scaling and is more flexible. Your company should focus on shifting to the latter, and restructure the application architecture if required.

    1. Re-Evaluate Your Billing

    AWS offers on-demand billing for cloud infrastructure, thereby offering freedom and flexibility for selecting cloud resources. However, while it may be suitable for some architectures and applications, it may be pricey for others. AWS also offers Consolidated Billing, which attracts steep discounts in lieu of long-term commitment. However, do consider the limitations it may impose and insist on transparency while opting for reserving instances. 

    Eventually, it all boils down to the traffic and performance of the application, which can help to determine the correct billing model.

    1. Start Implementing the Optimisation

    Now that you have a clear strategy in place, it is time to build a remediation plan and act accordingly.

    Your cloud optimisation plan can also include:

    • Changes in application or application architecture
    • Auto-parking of resources when not in use
    • Right-sizing on the basis of CPU, memory, and input/output\
    • Elimination of wasteful or unutilised resources
    • Cheaper storage optionsFinal ThoughtsAfter carrying out cloud optimisation, you may be in a position to save as much as 70% of your budget dedicated to cloud technologies. At the same time, your organisation will also register long-lasting gains with efficient usage of resources and billing transparency. Most importantly, cloud scalability will ensure that the infrastructure can keep up with the company’s growth!

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