Cloud Consumption Cost Savings Recommendations

Modified on Fri, 07 Oct 2022 at 02:26 PM

Article benefits include: 

  • Reduce wastage & cost
  • Right size your services
  • Align resilience to service levels
  • Discover greater details on service consumption

Many generated cloud costs are exposed to fluctuations in cloud consumption revenue prices and price changes which may feel out of your control, however here are some key actions we can all take to reduce this impact.

Below we've also include a view showing the basics of Azure cost budget management as this will come in very useful:

The Azure budget management tutorial for creating budgets is here.

Many of our best practices revolve around our in depth experience of Log Analytics, for an overview please see the video below:

Our proactive operational support services include a large array of automations, processes, reporting and benefit, if you'd like support in this area please get in touch here.

Our operational support portal is here where you can log requests as well as seeing the latest status of your proactive support benefits.

Below we've listed some of the key cost saving steps related to some of the larger cost generators in Azure:

Virtual machines

  • Try replacing the VMs with a true cloud SaaS/PaaS solution instead i.e. an Azure App Services combined with a shared Azure SQL or Azure SQL MI instance both of which have reserved instance options.
  • For production VMs, make sure these are covered by reserved instances, though run these VMs first without RIs for several weeks to be sure of the correct resources needed, use tolls such as Azure Log Analytics and report on key performance indicators to confirm your VM size choice.
  • For production VMs that are less critical; consider using Azure Spot Instances, these come at a discounted cost at the expense of availability during periods of resource contention.
  • For non-production VMs, consider a DevTest subscription.

Virtual machine Storage & Storage Generally

  • Be smart with your disk performance levels, run your workload in the cloud first and use log analytics to observe actual IOPs need, it's easy to scale up disk type, and a bit more difficult to scale it back down.
  • Your paying for the allocated space and not the consumed space, so carefully monitor actual usage before allocating the correct disk size.
  • Provide the minimum level of resilience needed for the service depending on the disk.
  • Microsoft are now offering various reserved instance options for storage, review them here.

Log analytics storage

Backup storage

  • Carefully consider your backup vault storage resilience needs, if some backed up services have a greater resilience need according to your service catalogue then place those in a geo replicated backup vault, otherwise keep the backup vault in a different location to your business i.e. UK South or UK West.
  • Become familiar with Azure Backup Vault archive storage policies.
  • Carefully consider your backup and retention needs, maybe some IT infrastructure or systems could be backed up less frequently or retained for a less amount of time, a backup could be taken after a change occurs?
  • Does a system need routine backup?  Dev and test workloads may need backing up on when a change occurs?
  • Consider how a backup and recovery solution is augmented with a DR offsite replication solution like Azure Site Recovery, understand when a benefit overlaps the other, some elements may be negated, with this in mind consider the scope of Azure MABS (and any other backup solution).
  • Consider the benefits or alternative location recovery/cross region restore for Azure Backup Vault, the benefits and costs that feature it creates hence the need to have different backup vaults with their own capabilities.

Disaster recovery storage

  • Similar considerations to backup storage apply i.e. resilience of the vault, cross region resilience doubles the storage cost and replicates between regions three times daily, have different ASR resilience levels for VMs according to service need.
  • For some less critical services consider relying on off site backups rather than real-time/near real-time resilience.

General file storage

  • Try to avoid file servers or Azure file storage for un-structed data, instead move this data to SharePoint Online where it can be governed using data retention and deletion policies, and protected using features such as DLP and inbuilt anti-malware.  Other benefits include far better Teams integration and accessibility when roaming, data ownership for Teams managers. 
  • SharePoint Online makes the case to replace traditional backup and recovery with versioning and recycle bins, carefully review this capability and understand if this can work for you, most companies retain far too much data and could be exposed to GDPR risk.

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