9 min read
Eyal Katz

10 Proven Strategies for Cloud Cost Optimization

Cloud cost optimization is continuously analyzing and adjusting your cloud resource usage and spending to ensure you’re not wasting money on resources you don’t need. Learn more with Control Plane.

10 Proven Strategies for Cloud Cost Optimization

Remember when access to high-end computing power felt like a privilege reserved for a select few? The era of the cloud has democratized access to compute. With just a few clicks, startups and large corporations alike now wield immense processing power. 

This freedom comes with a price tag, and it’s easy to get surprised by a hefty cloud bill. While 61% of organizations say that cost optimization is a priority, cloud computing can be more expensive than many anticipated. The good news? Regardless of your cloud provider, there are proven strategies to optimize your spending and keep those bills under control.

What is Cloud Cost Optimization?

Cloud cost optimization is all about maximizing the value you get from your cloud computing investments. It’s the practice of continuously analyzing and adjusting your cloud resource usage and spending to ensure you’re not wasting money on resources you don’t actually need.

The goal is to run your applications and workloads cost-effectively without sacrificing performance or flexibility. Cloud cost optimization is crucial whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, as an unexpected cloud bill can be a major blow to a company of any size. By proactively optimizing your costs, you can avoid budget-straining surprises and keep your cloud spending under control.

For example, with a platform like Control Plane, you can continuously optimize your runtime cost so you only pay for what you need. You never over-provision, and you no longer have to spend money on various costly services. 

Cloud Cost Optimization vs Cloud Cost Management 

While the terms ‘cloud cost optimization’ and ‘cloud cost management’ are often used interchangeably, there’s a subtle yet important distinction between them. Cloud cost management focuses on the foundational activities of monitoring, recording, and allocating cloud expenses. Cloud cost optimization builds upon this foundation. It’s the strategic application of insights gained from cost management to reduce inefficiencies and minimize waste actively.

3 Reasons Why You Should Prioritize Cloud Cost Optimization

Cloud computing offers immense scalability and flexibility, but managing costs effectively is crucial for maximizing its benefits. Here’s why prioritizing cloud cost optimization should be a top concern for any organization leveraging the cloud:

1. Gain Visibility into Cost Drivers

Cloud environments can be complex, with numerous services and resources contributing to overall costs. Cloud cost optimization provides the visibility you need to understand which resources cost you the most, allowing you to make informed decisions about where to focus your optimization efforts.

2. Improve Financial Predictability

Unexpected cloud bills can disrupt budgeting and forecasting processes. By implementing cloud cost optimization strategies, you can better predict and plan for your cloud expenses, improving financial predictability, and enabling more accurate budgeting and resource allocation. You can even turn to an IDP like Control Plane to help you gain visibility over cost reduction, which can result in a drop of 60 to 80% in cloud computing expenses. 

3. Justify Service Investments

 As your needs evolve, it’s important to regularly evaluate if the cloud services you’re paying for still deliver value proportional to their cost. Cost optimization lets you analyze the true expense of each service, helping you decide if it’s worth keeping or if you should explore alternatives.

10 Proven Strategies for Cloud Cost Optimization

Now that we’ve established the importance of cloud cost optimization, let’s delve into actionable strategies you can implement to reduce your cloud costs. 

1. Embrace Shared Environments for Cost Savings

Setting up dedicated environments for development, testing, or pre-production can quickly become costly. You can significantly reduce your cloud costs by embracing shared environments where appropriate. 

Consider implementing a shared Kubernetes cluster for your non-production workloads instead of provisioning separate clusters for each team. This approach not only saves on compute resources but also simplifies infrastructure management.

You can carefully assess your workload requirements and identify non-critical environments that can safely share resources. Another tip is to implement access controls and resource isolation to maintain security and privacy within shared environments.

Don’t forget that if you have a Kubernetes cluster, you can use the Control Plane K8s cost savings calculator to find out how much you will save when running workloads on the Control Plane platform vs running them on your cloud provider. 

2. Leverage Reserved Instances for Long-Term Savings

Reserved Instances (RIs) are a cost-effective option for workloads with predictable and consistent resource requirements. By purchasing RIs from your cloud provider, you can benefit from significant pricing discounts compared to on-demand instances. However, it’s important to note that the cost savings from RIs are realized over an extended period rather than immediately.

Here are some tips for leveraging RIs:

  • Analyze your historical usage patterns and forecast future demand to identify workloads suitable for RIs.
  • Consider purchasing a mix of RIs with different term lengths to balance commitment and flexibility.
  • Regularly review and adjust your RI strategy as your workload requirements evolve.

3. Invest in DDoS Protection for Critical Services

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can disrupt your services and significantly heighten costs due to increased ingress/egress traffic. Investing in robust DDoS protection for your critical services can help mitigate cloud risks and prevent unexpected cost spikes. Learn from a user’s experience who suffered a $100,000 Netlify bill after falling victim to a DDoS attack.

Implementation tips include:

  • Identify your critical services and prioritize DDoS protection based on their importance.
  • Leverage cloud provider-native DDoS mitigation services or consider third-party solutions for advanced protection.

4. Leverage Arm Instances for Cost Optimization

Many cloud providers now offer Arm-based instances, which can deliver significant cost savings compared to their x86 counterparts, often without compromising performance. Companies like Swiggy have successfully migrated their Kubernetes workloads to AWS Graviton Arm instances, substantially reducing costs. 

You can:

  • Evaluate the compatibility of your workloads with Arm instances and conduct thorough performance testing.
  • Gradually migrate suitable workloads to Arm instances, starting with non-critical or test environments.
  • Monitor performance and cost metrics closely during and after migration to ensure expected savings are realized.

5. Embrace Cloud Cost Monitoring Tools

Before optimizing your cloud costs, you must first understand where your money is going. Leveraging cloud cost monitoring tools can provide invaluable insights into your spending patterns and resource utilization. 

For AWS, tools like AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Billing can help you visualize and analyze your costs. The Cloud Billing Reports and Cost Control suite can offer similar visibility on Google Cloud. 

6. Evaluate Managed Service Tradeoffs

Managed services offered by cloud providers can simplify operations and reduce administrative overhead, but this convenience often comes at a premium cost. Encourage your team to periodically reevaluate the managed services they’re using and determine if the operational benefits outweigh the increased cloud spending. In some cases, self-managing certain services or leveraging open-source alternatives might be more cost-effective.

For greater flexibility and portability, you can also leverage Control Plane Universal Cloud Identity™ to mix and match any combination of backing services, enabling you to optimize costs, streamline workflows, and effectively implement multi-cloud strategies. 

7. Foster a Cost-Conscious Culture

High cloud costs can sometimes arise due to a lack of awareness about the financial implications of resource provisioning. Developers need autonomy to innovate, but they should also understand the impact of their decisions on cloud spending. 

As you would foster a culture of cloud security awareness, you can provide training on cloud cost optimization best practices, sharing cost metrics transparently, and incentivizing cost-efficient behavior.

8. Minimize Data Transfer Costs

Transferring data to and from public clouds can be expensive, as cloud vendors often charge data egress fees, especially for moving data between regions or off their platforms. 

To reduce and manage cloud costs, avoid unnecessary data transfers by keeping data within the same cloud region whenever possible, compressing data before transfer, and leveraging data transfer services like AWS DataSync or Google Cloud Storage Transfer Service.

9. Embrace Cloud-Native Design for Cost Optimization

A cloud-native application design and architecture approach can make cost-optimization efforts more effective. You can achieve better resource utilization by leveraging modern technologies like containers and orchestration platforms like Kubernetes.

For companies already following a service-oriented architecture, running workloads in a Kubernetes cluster can be more cost-effective than deploying instances of varying sizes. Kubernetes allows you to pack multiple services onto a single node, ensuring optimal resource utilization and minimizing waste.

Additionally, cloud-native design principles, such as microservices, enable granular scaling, which means you can scale individual components based on demand rather than scaling an entire monolithic application. This approach can help you avoid over-provisioning resources and reduce costs.

10. Embrace Control Plane

Cost optimization is not a one-time effort but rather an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. As your business requirements and workload demands evolve, so must your cost optimization strategies. Regularly reassessing your resource utilization and adapting your cloud infrastructure ensures that you’re always operating at optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

You can also leverage cloud management tools like Control Plane, which utilizes Capacity AI technology to ensure that you only pay for your actual computing usage, nothing more. With Control Plane, you can mix and match any service you need from AWS, GCP, and Azure, giving you the flexibility to use as many or as few cloud resources as you need. You never over-provision, making your engineering team lean and mean, and helping you experience a drop of between 60%-80% in your cloud computing expenses. 

Optimization in the Cloud Native Era 

Cost optimization in cloud-native environments requires a delicate balance. While reducing expenditure is a priority, under-provisioning resources can lead to performance degradation. This challenge is amplified with microservices-based applications, where inherent scalability benefits intertwine with cost optimization considerations.

Here’s where specialized platforms like Control Plane come in. Our cloud-agnostic Kubernetes cost calculator empowers teams with a unified view across providers and clusters. This granular visibility allows for informed decisions on resource allocation, right-sizing, and cost optimization.
Get started with Control Plane to ensure you only pay for what you use.