Blog   |   Cost Management   |   September 27, 2016

Concrete Steps to Reduce Public Cloud IaaS Expenses

Gartner recently released a report titled “Seven Steps to Reducing Public Cloud IaaS Expense” which we found to be both very insightful and helpful. They’ve summed it up very well with this statement:

“Managing public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service expense can be complicated. From pricing plans to underutilized resources, there are many potential pitfalls for overspend along with missed opportunities to cut costs. IT leaders should take these low-cost, low-risk steps to find immediate savings.”

The report provides you with 7 concrete steps that you can take action on today. We wanted to share this with all of you and build on top of the report showing you how CloudCheckr fits in.

1. Design and Adhere to a Tagging Plan

This is one of the key focuses we have when bringing on new customers who are also new to the cloud. We want to make sure that not only do they have a tagging strategy, but that it is being followed as well.
CloudCheckr provides you many ways to use your tagging strategy at its maximum potential level. We give you high visibility of your tags by giving you many different options to drill down into them and to get as granular as you’d like.
We have options to look at the tag level and see what resources you have. We also provide you the ability to look at the resource level and see what tags are associated with them.
CloudCheckr allows you to create CloudCheckr tags which live only within the app and can be used in a variety of ways. You’re able to view combinations of tags that you create in CloudCheckr, for example if you want to use the tag “Environment” but you have about a thousand or so resources that were tagged as “environment” with a lowercase e, or spelled “Enviromnet” by accident, we can give you a view that includes all of these. One good solution for this common messy tagging environment is to create a CloudCheckr tag — one that resides within CloudCheckr only) – and via our Tag Mapping feature, assign all the other tags to the new CloudCheckr tag, say, “CC-Environment”. An advantage of CloudCheckr tags is that they can be enacted retroactively on your data, as opposed to AWS tags which only are available forward in time.
To make sure even further that mistakes are accounted for, not only does CloudCheckr let you create tags encompassing typos, but you can also enforce rules that will keep you on track with your strategy. These rules will make sure you are alerted when your tagging plan is not being followed. CloudCheckr’s tagging rules provide flexibility around matching values and allows you to also refine your rules by region, resource type or account to provide you maximum value. You can find even more details on setting up and refining your tagging rules here.
CloudCheckr also gives you the ability to go deeper through the act of tag splitting and adding conditions – which you can read more about here.

2. Rightsize Resources

CloudCheckr has the perfect report for this with our Right Sizing Report.
This report helps you in two major ways. First in cost savings, by making sure that you are right sized you will not waste money on under-utilized resources. The main goal when we created this report was to give users a quick way to find potential cost savings. When you open the report you can immediately skim through the scores and have a quick understanding of which instances are being underutilized.
Second in terms of performance, by having everything setup in optimal conditions you will see the best possible performance that you can with your deployments. Our secondary goal was to make sure our users were able to run at peak performance and see minimal downtime, which again can be seen with just a quick glance through the utilization scores.
For more information on the Right Sizing Report, see the article in the Success Center.

3. Choose an Appropriate Pricing Model

Choosing the appropriate pricing model has just as much to do with being Rightsized as we mentioned above. Making sure that the instance types you are using are the best size for what you are doing will make sure that you are not overspending for no reason.
CloudCheckr also provides you with a detailed report that makes Reserved Instance (RI) recommendations. The RI Recommendations report takes your last 30 days’ data and makes RI purchase recommendations based on that so that you may save money in the long run by paying upfront prices. Since our biggest goal is always to give you more visibility, we let you go back farther than 30 days if you choose as well.


4. Scrutinize and Limit Data Egress

This statement makes equal amounts of sense in both the security and cost realms; let’s first look at security. The scrutinizing calls out that you want to make sure you can understand what is entering/exiting your VPC through your flow logs. The limiting speaks to proper permissioning. You need a way to easily check your environment. For example, in a VPC, did you leave open dangerous ports? Or, outside of a VPC, did you leave open read/write permissions on an S3 bucket?
All of these things come back to the context of cost. AWS charges for data transfer across AZ and outside of an AZ. The data transfer costs can be large, so you should make sure you are not architected in a manner that makes more transfer occur than necessary. For example, unnecessarily transferring data between AWS regions because you keep S3 in a different region from the resources that are pulling from it.
CloudCheckr can help in multiple ways here with VPC flow log analysis, Perimeter Security checks and sweeps, and our security best practice checks. By using all of these effectively, you will have a higher level of security which in turn will result in less data transfer and less data transfer costs.

5 & 6. Reclaim Orphaned Resources/Throttle Poorly Utilized Resources

We’ve grouped these two together because we don’t think you should only look into one and not the other. The first step to both of these is the same – identification. You need to know which resources you have that are completely unused, and then on top of that you need to know which ones you have but aren’t using as much as you should.
CloudCheckr provides you with detailed reports right on our Cost Savings report which immediately shows you any unused or underutilized resources you have in your environment.
Keying in specifically on the underutilized resources, we provide you even more depth to research these and figure out if there is a reason they are not being utilized to their full capacity or not. As we mentioned above, making sure you are right sized is key not only from an efficiency standpoint but from a cost perspective as well.

7. Use the Free Tools

When it comes to AWS they provide you with so many tools that you can use and miles and miles of data that you can run through. But what CloudCheckr can do is leverage all of these tools for you, parse through the data to give you visibility, turning the data into insight, and with that insight we can run automation tasks for you.
This brings us to our last two points, what’s missing from this report? We think these 7 steps are fantastic and are definitely things you should focus on, but here are 2 more that we think will take you to the next level.

8. Reserved Instances – A huge money saver when managed properly

As we talked about earlier, RIs can save you large amounts of money when you leverage them properly. CloudCheckr provides not only the RI Purchase Recommendations we talked about earlier, but also the RI Rebalancer report.

9. Automation – The Cloud is simply too big and growing too fast for any one human

CloudCheckr has brought in an array of automation features but one of the biggest cost saving features you can start using today would be the Start/Stop EC2 Instances function. By using this function you can start and stop your EC2 instances at a regular interval, for example, some people choose to not leave their instances running over night or on weekends, so CloudCheckr would be able to turn them off until you need them on again.
These are just a few of the ways CloudCheckr can help you reduce public cloud IaaS expenses using the steps Gartner has provided. To find out how we can save you even more, request a live demo from one of our product experts, check out some of our on demand videos, or get started with a free, 2 week hands on trial.