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Image: Cloud Infrastructure Management – Implement Best Practices to Stay Ahead of Challenges

Optimizing cloud costs is a never-ending adventure, but implementing cloud best practices from the beginning is the best way to stay ahead of the inevitable challenges.

Managing cloud infrastructure poses new challenges companies aren’t accustomed to with traditional data centers. In the cloud, costs are incurred when new infrastructure is launched regardless of whether or not it’s used. It’s easy to provision infrastructure and forget about it or to spin up instances that are too large for the task at hand.

Below are some key cost optimization strategies to ensure your finance and engineering teams can live in harmony. We’ve outlined each strategy and how you can utilize Flexera’s technology to assist you along your optimization journey.

1. Scheduling Non-Production Instances

Because you pay for what you’re using in the cloud, it’s important to ensure resources are turned on only when needed. If a virtual machine is being used for development, does it need to be on when your engineers aren’t actively working on it?

An easy way to begin cutting costs is to schedule your development, testing, staging and QA instances to shut down when not in use. Even if only for the weekend, you can reduce costs by almost 30 percent per instance. This allows for large cost savings by doing the bare minimum and the potential for much larger savings if you turn the instances off during weekday non-working hours.

Using Flexera’s policy engine, you can automate scheduling by simply specifying with a tag when the instance should be running and when it should be turned off. Our platform will take care of the rest for your multi-cloud environment.

2. Rightsizing Infrastructure

Deploying the right instance or database for the task at hand is easier said than done. Far too often, they don’t align and your organization is left paying for underutilized infrastructure. By monitoring the metrics of the machines you’re using, you’ll  uncover what can be downsized to save money.

By downsizing an instance or database only one size, you can quickly cut costs by 50 percent. If you can downsize by two sizes, you’ll realize 75 percent savings. This is too significant of a savings opportunity to ignore, and one that’s better left to automation.

Flexera has out-of-the-box capabilities that allow your organization to downsize AWS, Azure or Google infrastructure. Whether it’s a virtual machine or a database, we have you covered. Our policies will downsize them for you based on metrics you set. The policies also have the capability to exclude resources based on tags and can require approval, ensuring nothing critical is terminated.

3. Utilizing Cloud Vendor Discounts

The public cloud vendors want you to commit to using their resources for one or three years to receive a discount. And if your organization expects to expand its cloud footprint, you should take advantage of this savings opportunity.

AWS offers commitment discounts on a variety of services, including EC2 instances, RDS databases and ElastiCache nodes. Recently, AWS released their most lenient commitment, called Savings Plan, which you can learn more about on our Community website. Azure offers reservations on several services as well.

Google’s reservations for their compute engine service are called Committed Use Discounts. They also offer sustained-use discounts, allowing you to save money for keeping your provisioned instances running.

There are many ways to save money on cloud use, and Flexera helps simplify the process—from being able to view the utilization of your reservations in our Optima solution, to receiving alerts regarding reservations and even saving recommendations from our policy engine.

Bonus: Defining a Tagging Policy

Tags allow you to attach metadata specific to your organization on your cloud infrastructure. They assist in simplifying cost allocation, reporting, compliance, cost optimization, security and chargeback.

Defining a policy early on for what tags should be included for your organization whenever a resource is provisioned will save your workers countless hours in the future. A few crucial tags we recommend are environment (dev, prod), billing (cost center, owner) and optimization (the hours an instance should be running). The full list can be found in this blog post: Tagging Best Practices for Cloud Governance and Cost Management.

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Take control of cloud use with out-of-the-box and customized policies to automate cost governance, operations, security and compliance.

While tagging alone won’t save your company money, it plays a critical role in enabling other cost optimization tactics. The earlier in your cloud journey a tagging policy is defined, the easier it will be to optimize and track your provisioned infrastructure in the future.

Rinse and Repeat

Unfortunately, keeping your cloud costs down is not a one-time task. As your company continues to expand into the cloud, you can expect cloud waste to increase with it. While it’s possible to minimize waste manually, anyone in your organization who has tried can testify about the hassles and high amount of labor needed to execute effectively.

Remembering these pillars and ensuring your company adheres to them is a start and allowing Flexera to be a part of your journey is a great addition. Our solutions show your multi-cloud costs in a single pane of glass to ease the chargeback process and automate a plethora of savings initiatives, including scheduling and rightsizing. They also assist in asset discovery and cloud migration planning as your organization commits further to a cloud-first strategy.