Digital Planet: Five of the Best Practices to Control Public Cloud Spending

Public cloud services are exploding across the enterprise landscape — bringing diverse options for building efficient.

Cloud-based workloads. But a proliferation of services adds cost and confusion to public cloud application development. Here are 10 practical tactics to help small businesses embrace public cloud services while keeping cloud spending under control.

  1. Select cloud resources properly.

Compute instances are available in a wide array of configurations designed to emphasize the unique processing, memory, storage and performance needs of each application. Amazon Web Services (AWS) lists 39 different Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance types in the U.S. East region alone. Save money by picking “right-sizing” cloud instances or resources to avoid overbuying resources. The cloud makes it easy to scale resources later. And those additional resources waste money — every month — unless they’re used.

  1. Design workloads for scalability.

Scalability is a critical aspect of any public cloud. Scalability uses event-driven compute instances like AWS Lambda or containers like Google Container Engine to scale core services for important workloads, such as micro services. These approaches are designed to use more computing when it is needed. Once the spike passes, those additional resources are released for re-use.

  1. Run workloads where the computing is cheaper.

Peak times and compute demands affect cloud pricing. Moving workloads to and from other service areas where demands and prices are lower can help small business shave costs. As long as common storage can service each location, the workload will see a latency difference between service areas. Security and regulatory compliance requirements may prohibit workloads from running in certain regions.

  1. Cache storage strategically. 

Public cloud providers may offer memory-based caching, such as AWS ElastiCache. Caching moves important or frequently accessed data in-memory, rather than having to retrieve data from storage instances. This can improve the performance of some applications and reduce the expense of higher-tier cloud storage — especially when performance-sensitive workloads are run in remote regions or when efficient replication is needed for resilience. By comparison, Google Cloud Storage allows users to specify where storage “buckets” are geographically stored.

  1. Use available provider services.  

Public cloud providers, such as AWS and Google, offer a wealth of services to handle multiple tasks. Using these services can be beneficial with unused, long-term instances that can be used to host the provider’s services and get benefits from the idle compute resources that you’re already paying for.

By Stephen J. Bigelow

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