How to keep cloud costs under control

The recent Logicalis Ireland survey* revealed that cloud usage among Irish companies will rise significantly this year with 88% expecting to move more of their workloads into the cloud. This will inevitably lead to more spend in this area on cloud services, investments and related technologies.  

In other words, Irish businesses are turning more and more to the cloud for the management of workloads and data. However, something that remains somewhat of a sticking point when it comes to cloud adoption is cost. In fact, more than a third of IT decision-makers cited it as a top barrier to cloud adoption. 

The concern around costs is understandable, but typically decreases when organisations have faith that they are operating a well-formulated cloud strategy that manages the provisioning, automation, consumption, security and governance of the various resources. 

As an experienced cloud partner, Logicalis Ireland works closely with clients to help them to strategically organise and accelerate their cloud adoption initiatives with a focus on designing the most suitable solution to meet their business objectives.   

Typically, when designing and architecting the cloud solution, cost is a key design criterion taken into consideration along with performance, availability and security. Based on our experiences, we have compiled some tips on how to keep cloud costs under control and make it less of a barrier to cloud adoption. 

Understand your individual requirements 

Organisations tend to take a cloud-first approach, but it should be a cloud-right mentality. In other words, you need to approach the cloud question within the context of your individual organisation and unique requirements. Every company is different and evolves over time so there needs to be an understanding of what you need both now and in the future. 

Cloud Strategy must first and foremost mirror your business strategy.  You need to identify the business challenges you are aiming to address rather than doing cloud for the sake of cloud.  Be it greater agility, greater access to applications or data, improved uptime etc, what is the challenge you need to address.

For example, not all workloads will be suited to the cloud. Business leaders need to consider the type of workloads and data they have, including factors such as compliance, security, accessibility, automation and data recovery. The environment needs to suit the workload – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Your requirements are also likely to change, which is why it makes sense to perform regular audits.  

Focus on the architecture 

If you define what you’re looking to do from the start and develop a cloud architecture to fulfil these needs, it will cost money and investment up front. But if it’s designed right, it will save you money in the long-term. A half-hearted approach will only lead the project to fail and cost your organisation. 

The planning process involves reviewing business challenges and addressing how these can be addressed technically. Decisions will need to be made around items such as whether Platform aa Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure aa Service (IaaS) is the right approach. Furthermore, you need to consider practical factors such as whether you need your respective environments on all day, every day. Again, deploying any systems unnecessarily adds to costs. 

Furthermore, it’s worth assessing which cloud environment – hybrid, on-premise, multicloud – is the best option from a cost perspective and what your contract entails, not only in terms of monthly costs and licensing but also what is delivered in relation to customer support and visibility of workloads. Consulting across departments, including finance, is often the best way to address this question and determine the budget, considering the potential return on investment. 

Ensure your team has the required training and knowledge 

As is the case with any new tools or technologies, there will be a period of adjustment when moving to cloud services or changing cloud infrastructure. It takes time and training, but this will help to ensure you can capitalise on the benefits associated with cloud including increased flexibility, efficiency and productivity. 

Staff need to be given the time to learn how to manage the new infrastructure because running workloads in the cloud does require a different skillset. That’s not to say that those who can manage on-premise can’t redeploy and retrain for the cloud. Companies simply need to provide proper training and guidance until their IT team gets to the same level of comfort and confidence with the cloudThis helps to protect your investment in your new environment. 

Measure and review the impact of your cloud infrastructure 

One of the most important steps of your investment in cloud is measuring the impact that it is having for your organisation and assessing whether the chosen infrastructure is working effectively. This requires a proper scoring and benchmarking system, established from the outset, with agreed KPIs and objectives. Often the KPIs will be built to measure factors such as availability, reliability, security, time to market, latency and cost-per-customer. 

Some elements can be harder to measure than othersbut there are still targets and benchmarks you can put in place to evaluate the impact. Where cloud is used to address a specific business challenge within a unit, the rate of success may not be captured outside that business unit. Whatever the extent of your cloud adoption, the return needs to be assessed and communicated across the entire organisation. 

Talk to an expert cloud provider 

The management of a company’s IT estate is continuing to rapidly expand beyond its internal capability and classic IT departmental structures, with more of a focus on how technology can contribute to company performance and growth 

This has made the engagement of external providers to manage day-to-day IT the norm as companies looking to harness the true power of cloud are increasingly leaning on the expertise and know-how of the service provider community. There is a recognition that the move to cloud can be complex and a wrong decision, when not identified quickly, can become expensive. Therefore, experience of having done it before is imperative.  

While investing in cloud may seem to be potentially complex and expensive, there are many business benefits to implementing an infrastructure of this nature and it is likely to save you money in the long-term. Furthermore, by taking the right approach which caters for your individual requirements, you can keep costs to a minimum without losing out on the wide-ranging benefits of cloud. 

*The research involving 103 IT decision-makers in Ireland was carried out by TechPro magazine and was commissioned by Logicalis Ireland and IBM. 

If you want to speak to an expert cloud provider about how to adopt a cost-effective cloud strategy and how it might benefit your organisation, please contact the team at Logicalis today.


Loman McCaffrey, Head of Practices, Logicalis  LinkedIn-Logo-R.png