Cloud Cost Optimization: Tools and Best Practices

Organizing and streamlining cloud-based workflows and business operations can get chaotic at times. Both Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud computing platforms are equipped with a variety of cloud optimization tools and services, as part of Azure and AWS suites. We have selected some of the most frequently used tooling to help you analyze, manage, and monitor cloud performance. In addition, these handy tools allow you to establish a reliable methodology for cloud cost optimization. You can also implement standardized processes, efficiently right-size your deployments and more. Mastering the tools you see below will speed up your cloud adoption journey, as you optimize for better ROI and harvest the significant benefits of public cloud.

7 Key Best Practices for Cloud Cost Optimization

Before we get into specific cloud tools, here is a quick overview of some of the best practices for cloud cost optimization:

  1. The first step to effective cloud optimization, in general, can be done through automation – utilizing powerful cloud deployment tools such as Terraform and effective containerization via Kubernetes and Docker.
  2. Pinpointing and addressing idle resources (right-sizing the computing services before migration).
  3. Managing cost variables for long-term cloud commitment: like RIs (Reserved Instances), upfront payment, storage types, and so on.
  4. Leverage and rely on Spot Instances to keep an eye on AWS or Azure spend.
  5. Utilizing heatmaps helps with your overall cloud cost optimization.
  6. Rely on the auto-scaling nature of the cloud to reduce costs and design workloads by switching off resources that are not needed.
  7. Save time and reduce operating expenses by utilizing powerful serverless computing services such as AWS Lambda.

Before we take a deep dive into cloud cost optimization tools, you may want to have a look at how financial services and hedge funds can tackle Cloud Cost Management and Return on Investment (ROI).

AWS Cost Explorer

With the Cost Explorer, you can access and look at costs, as well as ROI for Amazon services. Utilizing this tool gives you data and relevant info for the previous 13 months. You will be able to plan any future investments and budgets effectively. Another useful option is to customize views. As a result, it is easier to pinpoint areas where improvement is needed. Cost Explorer also provides an API that lets you access the data via your analytics tools. The tool also features daily and monthly granularity, which is another vital component for effective planning. Learn more about AWS Cost Explorer.

AWS Budgets

AWS Budgets is fairly similar to Cost Explorer, although it remains yet another helpful tool that gives you a chance to implement and analyze budgets for Amazon services. When the budget is reached or surpassed, you will get an email or message via the Simple Notification Service. Connecting your budget to specific data points is very straightforward, and you also get fast access to vital data such as data usage or the number of instances. Learn more about AWS Budgets.

Amazon CloudWatch

When it comes to cloud cost optimization, there are numerous tools that are very handy. Amazon CloudWatch is one of them. With it, you can set alarms for a huge assortment of metrics and data from Amazon services. It is frequently used to keep an eye on EC2 instances. You can choose to get an alarm or notification regarding the utilization of the EC2 instance. If it goes below a certain percentage, you will know about it instantly. This means you can see if the instance is underused, and take action to right-size the instance or combine workloads. Learn more about Amazon CloudWatch.

AWS Trusted Advisor

AWS Trusted Advisor offers help for users and best practices regarding various Amazon services. It features automated suggestions on four crucial optimization factors that are free of charge: Service Limits Check, Security Groups, IAM Use Check, and MFA on Root Account Check. Essentially, all these optimization factors help you keep an eye on reserved instance optimization and lease expiration, low utilization of EC2 instances, idle load balancers, underutilized Amazon Redshift clusters, and more. The Service Limits Check, for example, lets you know if you are utilizing over 80% of your allocation resources like EC2 instances and EBS volumes. Learn more about AWS Trusted Advisor.

Azure Advisor

Similar to the AWS suite, Azure also includes its own advisor tool. This way you can optimize Azure cloud resources. The general goal is to improve aspects such as performance, availability, security, and cost. Think of Azure Advisor as a personalized cloud consultant that allows you to scan resource usage and configuration. There are over 100 custom-tailored recommendations specific to your Azure cloud optimizations. The tool helps you optimize Azure deployments fast and easy, in addition to offering detailed guidance on relevant actions. Learn more about Azure Advisor.

Azure Architecture Center

Cloud architecture is a unique and complex process. With Azure Architecture Center you will unlock an assortment of free guides to organizational and architectural best practices for optimizing workloads. It also makes it easier to design a fresh workload for the cloud or migrate an existing workload from on-prem to public. Microsoft has also thrown in various helpful features such as cloud adoption frameworks, application architecture guides, and reference architectures. Learn more about Azure Architecture Center.

Azure Pricing Calculator

Microsoft’s Azure Pricing Calculator is an elegant and simple, web-based tool for getting quick prices. You receive estimated costs for diverse Azure products and features, including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Functions, Azure App Service, Azure Batch, Service Fabric, Container Instances, Virtual Machines (VMs), and more. As you figure out overall costs across all used Azure services and make all the necessary calculations, you will be able to establish a concise and detailed plan around your cloud expenses. Learn more about Azure Pricing Calculator.

Microsoft Test Tool for VMs

The MS Azure cloud platform bestows users with a dynamic ecosystem. If you aim for optimizing costs you should also properly optimizing your VMs. Growing your cloud-powered business from there on is easier thanks to the Microsoft Certification Test Tool for Azure Certified Virtual Machines (VMs). MS offers an application that tests your VM, which verifies how efficiently it runs in Azure. It carries out an assessment of compliance to technical requirements. After the tests are completed, the results can be submitted to MS. They will then make the proper classification, making you Azure Certified. Learn more about Microsoft Certification Test Tool for VMs.

Other Useful Cloud Monitoring and Cloud Cost Optimization Tools

Remember, each tool listed above was designed to simplify your journey. Using these cloud optimization tools, and cloud enablement tools is going to make for a more efficient cloud adoption process as well. In this instance, you can also consider Tagging. Having a solid resource tagging strategy helps with tools such as AWS Cost Explorer and provides multiple dimensions to better understand the cloud spend. You focus on the price of the production environment, VDIs, and so on.

Bear in mind, that apart from the ones we have listed, there is a range of third-party cloud optimization and cloud cost optimization tools out there, including the following:

  • Zabbix
  • Weavescope
  • Zenoss Zenpack

We are mindful of the complexity of cloud adoption and cloud management. If you are still having trouble with cloud optimization, cost optimization, and cloud management, feel free to reach out to us.

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