Cloud Optimization 101: Benefits, Tools & Best Practices

A global survey by Statista showed that cloud optimization was the top leading cloud initiative for businesses in 2021, with 61% of respondents focused on saving money. The top concerns that followed include migrating workloads to the cloud and implementing better financial reporting on cloud costs.

It’s clear that cloud optimization is a hot topic, but what’s it all about? And should your business hop on board?

We've put together a 101 guide on cloud optimization to help bring you up to speed - find benefits, best practices and more, below!

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What Is Cloud Optimization?

Cloud optimization is the process of selecting and sizing the cloud resources you use, with the goal of eliminating cloud resource waste.

Cloud optimization is a continuous process that requires joint efforts from all departments, constant monitoring and data-driven decisions to improve specific areas of interaction with the cloud.

Examples of cloud optimization include:

  • Setting a clear cloud governance structure to make cloud activity visible and control cloud environment and data
  • Implementing serverless computing and microservices to increase flexibility and scalability
  • Using optimization tools to boost cloud transparency
  • Using reserved instances or savings plans when committing to use a feature for a long period of time
  • Eliminating unused resources

Pro tip: If you’re hosting your resources and services in the cloud, you might be interested in other cloud-related topics. Check out our blogs on SaaS development trends.

Why Is A Cloud Optimization Strategy Important?

Working in the cloud is often accompanied by overspending and allocating resources to areas where they are not needed.

The reasons why can vary — from choosing resources a business owner believes may come handy, via inflexible pricing models for cloud services, to lack of cost governance processes or failure to possess the knowledge needed to predict future spend.

How can a cloud optimization strategy help?

Boosts Visibility

A strategy allows you to establish, observe and analyze connections between the money you are spending and the resources that are most valuable for your business.

Lowers Costs

A strategy allows you to keep the features you use while eliminating the ones that are not active or are rarely used, thus optimizing your cloud spend.

Improves Productivity

A strategy allows your engineering team to focus on their specific tasks, without wasting time to handle features that you may not be using or that may be a third party’s responsibility.

For example, identifying the areas your cloud provider is responsible for, such as implementing new capabilities, will give your team time to concentrate on the areas they are responsible for, such as additional cloud security.

Increases Cloud Efficiency

A strategy allows you to identify the minimum cloud features you need. It also helps you implement alternative methods that can bring the same results at a lower cost, boosting the performance of your cloud environment.

Fuels Innovation

A strategy allows you to explore the resources you are using, identify unutilized features or mismanaged tools and suggest solutions for improvement and efficient collaboration within your organization.

Cloud Optimization Best Practices

To help you start the optimizing process, we’ve gathered the top best practices from cloud optimization experts:

  • Implement a dedicated cost optimization tool.
  • Audit your cloud costs on a regular basis.
  • Create cross-functional teams to identify the areas where you need to allocate budget
  • Analyze costs in the context of your organization and the possible outcome. For example, whether investing more in a specific product or customer will result in higher return on investment, if removing an expensive feature will hinder your work or if switching platforms can help you optimize performance and costs.
  • Implement strict standards and procedures to requisition resources when they are needed and decommission resources once they are no longer necessary.
  • Set up a multi-layer system that allows you to arrange your resources per availability, with the most active resources kept at the front and the least used kept at the back.
  • Use visual tools to analyze system usage.
  • Identify inactive or unused resources.
  • Compare multi-cloud vs. single-cloud solutions.
  • Compare your cloud performance with your prior on-premises performance.
  • Train your teams to be cost-aware.

Cloud Optimization Tools

Our experts have selected five of the most common tools to help you optimize your cloud resources.

AWS Cost Explorer

AWS Cost Explorer is the in-built tool of the dominant cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS Cost Explorer:

  • Filters and groups your data
  • Generates usage and cost reports at set intervals of time
  • Forecasts your costs for the next 12 months
  • Updates your data once in 24 hours

Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon Cloud Watch helps with optimization by allowing you to set alerts for Amazon Web Services and right-size the instances you use.

Amazon Cloud Watch:

  • Collects metrics and logs from all services, applications and resources running on premises and on AWS
  • Visualizes data with dashboards
  • Automates responses to operational changes
  • Provides a unified view and an extended data retention of up to 15 months

BMC Multi-Cloud Management

BMC Multi-Cloud Management can help with cloud optimization if you are planning to implement a multi-cloud strategy and use features from different cloud providers.

BMC Multi-Cloud Management:

  • Automates cost reporting
  • Forecasts cloud costs
  • Provides visibility of all your IT assets and dependencies in a private or public cloud
  • Monitors performance of applications across hybrid environments

CloudZero

CloudZero is a cloud optimization tool that allows you to allocate your cloud spend in hours and see what cloud resources have been used, where and why.

CloudZero:

  • Provides detailed data, including cost per cloud provider, cost per microservice, cost per customer and cost per feature
  • Allocates untagged and shared resources
  • Tracks costs of features, projects and teams

Azure Cost Management + Billing

Microsoft Cost Management + Billing is a suite of tools that allows you to analyze and manage the costs of your cloud resources.

Microsoft Cost Management + Billing:

  • Provides data on the use of cloud resources across all of your clouds on a daily, monthly or annual basis
  • Allow you to configure cost alerts
  • Allows you to shut down services when an allocated budget is reached

To optimize your cloud resources, implement cloud optimization tools and follow the best practices

Top 5 IT Companies For Cloud Optimization Services

To benefit from versatile expertise and top talent, work with an IT company with a proven track record in cloud optimization. Here are the companies that made our top five list!

1. GrayCyan

Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, GrayCyan was awarded Clutch Leader 2019 in New Jersey and 2020 Clutch Leader in Canada.

GrayCyan offers:

  • eCommerce development
  • WordPress development
  • WooCommerce development
  • Web design
  • Software testing

GrayCyan’s clients include the National Emergency Nurses Association, Oak Barrel, Eagles Flight Training and McGill University.

2. The Gnar Company

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, The Gnar Company has been awarded the ITS74 statewide contract.

The Gnar Company offers:

  • eCommerce development
  • Mobile app development
  • Shopify
  • Enterprise software development
  • Healthcare software development

The Gnar Company’s clients include LevelUp, Conformis, Valor Performance and Salsify.

3. TRIARE

We named TRIARE a DesignRush Accredited Agency in 2021.

Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, TRIARE offers:

  • eCommerce development
  • Mobile app development
  • Android app development
  • iPhone app development
  • Software development

TRIARE’s clients include Amo City, MindZip, Tripoli and QuakeAlert.

4. Cogniteq

Headquartered in Vilnius, LT03151, Lithuania, Cogniteq was named a Clutch 2020 Top Mobile App Developer.

Cogniteq’s services include:

  • Wearable app development
  • Mobile app development
  • Wearable technology
  • IoT
  • Software development

Cogniteq has partnered with companies, such as Bosch, Miele, Audi and DHL.

5. Skelia

Headquartered in Windhof, Luxembourg, Skelia is a Microsoft Gold Partner.

Skelia offers:

  • Software development
  • Mobile app development
  • IT services
  • Enterprise software development
  • Salesforce
  • .Net development

Skelia’s clients include Thomas Cook Group, sitecore, GS1 and AsplanViak.

In addition to providing cloud optimization services, professional IT companies can help your business with cybersecurity consulting services and recommend expert cybersecurity tips to keep your data secure.

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Key Takeaways On Cloud Optimization

Cloud optimization allows you to select the cloud resources you are using the most and eliminate the waste, thus optimizing your cloud budget.

Cloud optimization:

  • Lowers costs
  • Boosts visibility
  • Improves productivity
  • Increases cloud efficiency
  • Fuels innovation

To optimize your cloud resources, you can use various optimization tools, such as:

  • AWS Cost Explorer
  • Amazon CloudWatch
  • BMC Multi-Cloud Management
  • CloudZero
  • Azure Cost Management + Billing

Working with cloud optimization tools, following the best practices and getting expert recommendations from IT companies can help you build a successful cloud optimization strategy and improve your cloud environment and spend on cloud services.

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