Getting the low-down with corporate cloud authority, Eric Didier.
A Conversation with an Agile Expert...
Total spend on IT infrastructure products deployed in cloud environments is slated to hit $44.2 billion in 2017, according to the latest analysis from IDC (see more on that and other impressive figures here). Cloud infrastructure-as-a-service is going mainstream and it’s impact is being felt by everyone in your company, from your loyal IT staff to your graphic designer. But right in the firing line is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who bears the brunt of the Cloud shift, principally because they are the one paying the bill, and it’s a bill that’s not always easy to decipher.
Your CFO needs not only to be aware of Cloud technology— how it’s different from traditional in-house IT—but also understand its long-term benefits and advantages, and be able to drive how that budget is spent.
Gain control of your Cloud Infrastructure Budget.
Only a few days into the New Year and no surprise: in-house technology infrastructure is quickly becoming (except in a few exceptional cases) the hallmark of a company stuck in the past. Today’s market demands the agility and flexibility of Cloud computing. This means the migration to Cloud or hybrid infrastructure power is simply a no-brainer. Check out last year’s growth of the Iaas sector highlighted in this article, where Mike Wheatley dubs “2016 the year that cloud started to dominate many IT market segments.”
Yet, there remains a dark stormy center to this ever-growing silver-lined Cloud: cost. And more specifically cost control and predictability. Too many companies aren’t sticking to budget, if they have one at all, due to lack of Cloud Infrastructure visibility, accountability and security.
Check in with your VP of engineering or CTO and make sure your company isn’t leaking money through Cloud computing services with this Cloud infrastructure cost control checklist for 2017.
The 6 Costly Crimes Against Cloud Infrastructure Efficiency...
While it’s heartening to see developers enthusiastic about the importance of their latest project, their tendency to overestimate the need for enterprise applications and resources is costly. And unfortunately it won’t be your Cloud Service provider that puts a stop to this situation. Yes, Servers can be scaled back but …. this isn’t usually a sustainable solution (check out the next point on this list). Lucky there are solutions like this platform we’ve been working on (a little self-promotion… check) to allow management to prioritize projects or client related costs and limit resources accordingly.2.Under-Provisioning
This is what can happen if you try to solve the above over-provisioning issue without the right tools… i.e. by simply scaling back. Problems encountered due to under-provisioning may appear less costly than massive overspending from over-provisioning, but the inefficiency and time wasted by under-provisioning are also extremely debilitating. A false economy. Finding a way to allocate the appropriate amount of resources, ie. money to the right project is key to using Cloud infrastructure services in a way that is beneficial to your company.3.Access, Admins & Chaos
Too much access, too many admins, a lack of hierarchy, as well as permissions given out too lightly create a very expensive mess. Maybe server instances are spun up for a particular project or client dedicated set of instances, then the project gets killed and they are never actually used. Cloud service providers aren’t especially good at alerting you to this kind of situation, as the server isn’t costing them anything to spin up idle VMs that they just keep on charging you for. You got it…. you end up paying for something you’re not using.4.Hacker Attacks
If a hacker gets hold of your access keys they’ll have the potential to launch hundreds of instances and send your cloud costs skyrocketing. We covered how to avoid cloud credential theft pretty extensively in this article. But stolen keys are certainly not the only risk to Cloud Infrastructure out there. A denial-of-service attack will flood your server with illegitimate requests with the objective of crashing it, or at least slowing it down. While a brute force attack ramps up the load on your cloud resources, as it systematically tries different sequences of characters to decode encrypted passwords. The easiest way is to retrieve your keys from your github... and you all know plenty of stories about publicly exposed master keys!
Because hacker attacks are one of many potential causes of consumption spikes it is important to not only monitor but also restrict access to Cloud infrastructure resources, which stops these kinds of attacks in their tracks… a pretty reasonable solution if you consider the massive potential harm to your business, in the form of website downtime, loss of data or data theft.
5.Bad Coding and Architecture
Just because a system works, doesn’t necessarily mean it does so optimally. While the already-established nuts and and bolts (so to speak) of your architecture may be tempting to ignore, you may be paying for extra Cloud services because of inefficient coding and system architectures… for a very long time.
Rehosted applications are susceptible to operational inefficiencies because they’re not configured to take full advantage of products and features available in AWS, so they’re at greater risk of incurring high data transfer charges. But those that have been re-architected can take advantage of modern Cloud features. Re-architected applications that make use of services such as CloudFront ensure data follows the least expensive route.
6.Shadow IT projects
Another control issue: rogue IT projects. Are departments in your company are taking the initiative to run software-centralized projects without the oversight of your IT department? Even if this may appear to be the fastest way to drive a project, this is not an efficient way to work! And it also makes Cloud infrastructure budget forecasting impossible, as no one can be sure exactly what is included in the bill. Non-centralised IT projects also mean company security and compliance is compromised, creating risks. And if do you identify a shadow IT project as the root cause of a cloud cost spike, you should view it as a potentially more serious problem because as these projects are not directly monitored by your specialized department they are more vulnerable to outside interference. Either shut it down or find the right methodology and tools that provide flexibility while allowing your IT department to hold the reins.