As a new financial year approaches, many businesses will inevitably be reviewing their spending and looking to optimise costs in 2023/24.
And, as the Financial Times recently highlighted, firms are increasingly seeking new way to save on their cloud-related costs, which led to slower-than-expected cloud growth in the final quarter of 2022.
Look no further than Virtana's survey, which found 82% of organisations had incurred “unnecessary” cloud costs.
So, how can small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) optimise their cloud spending without reducing the quality of the service they’re getting?
Aaqib Gadit, CRO of DigitalOcean and founder of Cloudways, said: "While we’ve seen an acceleration in cloud adoption in the past five years, there’s a misconception that it is prohibitively expensive for SMBs.
"It’s time to change this misconception. A re-evaluation of efficiency usage and the packages you’re subscribed to will optimise your cloud spending budgets while ensuring quality hosting is achieved."
Cloudways' five top tips for cloud spending optimisation are as follows:
1) Only pay for cloud resources you use
One of the simplest ways to eliminate unnecessary cloud spending, according to Cloudways, is for firms to only pay for the resources they are actually using.
In a public cloud infrastructure, you can continually review and refine how you consume resources to ensure you’re using them as efficiently as possible. In short, you should only be using what you need and paying for what you use.
Any processes that are inessential, underutilised or inactive altogether should be downgraded or discharged.
An advantage of cloud hosting is that you're charged solely on a pay-as-you-use basis using a post-billing method, meaning monthly costs can be variable. You may pay more during periods of heavy website traffic when you need to scale resources to match demand, but you won’t be charged up front for more bandwidth than you actually need.
2) Choose scalable cloud solutions
Scalability in cloud computing refers to the ability to add or scale back on hardware resources to meet shifting demands.
When it comes to cost-effectiveness, scalability is imperative because it means you can tailor your cloud requirements to the growth rate of your business.
This means firms can avoid significant capital expenditure that would otherwise be spent on system upgrades and maintenance, ensuring they aren't hit with unexpected costs due to exceeding your bandwidth limits.
Using a scalable cloud hosting provider means you can scale your server’s hardware resources vertically at the click of a button, adding CPU, memory and storage on demand.
This mitigates the risk of server unavailability or loss of performance, putting you in control of your bills because you can scale up and back down again if you’re oversubscribed.
3. Consider a multi-cloud approach
A multi-cloud infrastructure involves the use of two or more public cloud services from different cloud vendors.
A multi-cloud strategy means that, rather than being ‘locked in’ to one cloud vendor or platform, you can take a mix-and-match approach, deploying certain workloads through different cloud platforms.
This approach allows for increased operational efficiency, added flexibility and improved business continuity planning. Spending is streamlined because the most cost-effective cloud solution is deployed for each component of your infrastructure.
4) Monitor cloud bill closely
Admittedly, accurately forecasting incomings and outgoing can be difficult when cloud resources are based on usage.
It is crucial, therefore, to monitor this closely so monthly bills don't come as a shock and seasonal trends can be spotted.
By analysing these figures on a monthly basis, companies can pinpoint areas where they may be perpetually overspending and recognise spending patterns to help them better forecast future expenditure.
You should also take into account the periods during the year when you’re likely to spend more on cloud services.
For example, eCommerce businesses might anticipate a surge in demand during November and December, while SaaS providers may expect to use more resources at the start of a new fiscal year as businesses review their budgets and evaluate software needs.
5) Use a managed cloud hosting provider
There are several benefits to using a managed cloud hosting provider.
The SSD-based hosting used by Cloudways, for example, ensures optimal site speed and performance, while dedicated firewalls and automated back-ups provide robust protection.
Moreover, when it comes to optimising spending, the following benefits can also be enjoyed:
- Managed payments: The vast majority of providers operate a pay-per-use model, which means there are no unexpected charges and you only pay for what you use.
Expert support: Round-the-clock live support from cloud engineers will reduce your reliance on in-house expertise, meaning you can save on salary costs or expensive consultancy fees.
Worry-free maintenance: All maintenance responsibility is surrendered to your provider, meaning there are no ongoing costs for maintaining or upgrading hardware and software.