You often see it on television: programs about people who are struggling financially. They run out of money at the end of the month, they can’t sell their house, they have a problematic debt burden, and so on. A common denominator is often the lack of insight into their own situation, and while coming up with ways to save money may not be very difficult, actually implementing and sticking to them is much harder.

I mean, it’s easy for an outsider to suggest that someone should get rid of their dog, but if that pet is their only source of comfort, it will take some effort.

The same goes for cloud costs: saving money is easier said than done. There are all sorts of great tools available from both cloud providers and third parties to help you understand your costs.

These tools provide various reports and dashboards, and even recommendations on which instances to remove or resize (rightsizing). With the right knowledge, you can also determine how to use discount options (reserved instances, savings plans, reserved capacity, etc.), how to manage licenses intelligently, and what you can do in your application architecture to save costs. And, of course, you can always turn off instances when you’re not using them.

All of this insight is great, but then comes the second part. Just as people have a hard time saying goodbye to their pets, users and administrators have a hard time shedding their old habits and ways of thinking. And that’s something cloud providers never talk about.

For example, consider turning off instances outside of working hours. In theory, this is an excellent way to save money, but instances are part of applications, which in turn are part of chains. It can happen that data exchange takes place in a chain outside of working hours.

Testing teams that are under a deadline may also need their environment outside of the predetermined working hours. And if environments are used in the management chain, they must also be available after working hours in case of an emergency. So savings are theoretically simple, but practice is more complicated. It can be done, but it takes a lot of effort.

Rightsizing is also less straightforward than it seems. Users and administrators are often hesitant to remove capacity: users see their performance decrease, and administrators see the risk of more outages because there is less excess capacity to handle issues. In the latter case, you need to analyze where these issues are coming from: a poor application can benefit from more capacity, but that is not a long-term solution.

If the roof is leaking, you can replace the bucket you use to catch the water with a mortar tub, but even that will eventually fill up. Ultimately, you’ll have to repair the roof.

So, objections can be raised for all types of savings. Eventually, you’ll need to adopt an approach that not only makes costs visible but also involves users and administrators, and leads to the right considerations on where to save on your cloud costs and where not to.

Don’t know where to start? Can’t figure it out quickly enough? IDC Metri has helped several organizations get started. Our specialists can help kickstart your cost-saving efforts in the cloud. Because understanding costs is one thing, but it’s only useful if they actually decrease.


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