Is your DevOps initiative pushing up your Cloud bills?
First, there were developers. And then software development got more challenging, more complex, less straightforward. That resulted in the emergence of a new “combo” discipline – DevOps. DevOps was seen as a medium for fuelling software teams into supercharged IT powerhouses.
DevOps was introduced to improve collaboration. It is a working culture that smashes the conventional siloes between software development, quality assurance, and operations teams, empowering all application life-cycle stakeholders to work collectively – from conception to design, development, production, and support.
But all is not what it seems in the world of DevOps. DevOps puts pressure on teams to deliver faster releases while scaling with demand. On this path, the cloud is one of the significant resources needed to make a DevOps environment run smoothly. And this is where the challenge lies.
Where Does The Cloud Come Into Picture?
DevOps fast-tracks the growth in cloud infrastructure needs far beyond what conventional application development methods may have required. As the organization shifts from monthly to daily releases, the infra needs keep scaling, often in an unplanned manner.
If DevOps is the most significant transformation in the IT process in decades, renting infrastructure on demand was the most disruptive transformation in IT operations. With the change from traditional data centers to the public cloud, infrastructure is now leveraged like a utility. Like any other utility, there is a waste here too. (Think: leaving the fans on or your lights on when you are not home.)
The extra cloud costs encompass several interrelated problems: ongoing services when they do not need to be, wrongly sized infrastructure, orphaned resources, and shadow IT. People leveraging AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are either already feeling the pressure — or soon will. Since DevOps teams are primarily cloud users in many organizations, DevOps cloud cost control processes must become a priority in every organization.
Why Is It So Challenging For Organizations To Get Their Cloud Costs Under Control?
In an excellent analysis on CIO.com, the following three challenges were highlighted :
Playing too safe with Cloud Provisioning:
During most of the primary generations of public cloud initiatives, the goal of the DevOps team was the development speed and quality of the solution. In the standard three-way trade-off of products, organizations can accomplish two of three goals – speed, quality, and low-cost – but not all three. Often, low cost has been the odd-man-out. With a “better-safe-than-sorry” attitude, several DevOps teams habitually purchased more cloud capacity and functionality than their solutions needed. More capacity means more cost.
Complex public cloud offerings:
As public cloud platforms like AWS and Microsoft Azure are maturing, their portfolios of service options have radically grown. For example, AWS catalogs roughly 150 products grouped under 20 categories (compute, database, developer tools, AI, analytics, storage, and so forth). This sort of portfolio makes for roughly a million distinct potential service configurations. Incorporate frequent price changes for services and picking the best and most cost-effective public cloud options make assessing cell-phone plans look like child’s play. More complexity often means poor choices that drive higher costs.
Lack of transparency and effective analysis:
Organizations don’t have good visibility into how much infrastructure their cloud apps require to provide the necessary functionality and service levels. Without tools that provide such analysis, organizations can’t pick the best options, right-size existing public cloud deployments, or eliminate “deadwood” cloud apps that never got eliminated as DevOps teams moved on to create new cloud solutions. It’s time for organizations to get serious about optimizing and controlling their use of cloud resources and – in so doing – cutting unnecessary public cloud costs. To do this, they must utilize analytics tools and services that can offer actionable data about their cloud deployments and aid them to traverse through the jungle of public cloud service and pricing options.
The Cultural Behavior of Controlled Costs
While Continuous Cost Control is an idea that organizations must apply to development and operations practices right through all project phases, organizations can do a few things to begin a cultural behavior of controlled costs. Build a mindset and apply the principles of DevOps to control cloud costs.
- Holistic Thinking: In DevOps, organizations need to think about the environment as a whole. Organizations have budgets. Technology teams have budgets. Whether you care or not, that also implies that DevOps has a budget, it needs to stay within. At some point, the infrastructure cost must come under scrutiny.
- No silos: No silos imply not only no communication silos but also no silos of access. This applies to cloud cost control when it comes to challenges such as absconding compute instances running when they’re not required. If only one person in the organization possesses the ability to turn instances on and off, then that’s an undesirable single point of failure.
The solution is removing the control silo by enabling users to access their instances to turn them on as and when they require them, utilizing governance via user roles and policies to make sure that cost control strategies remain uninhibited.
- Quick and Valuable Feedback: In eradicating cloud waste, the feedback required is – where is waste occurring? Are your instances appropriately sized? Are they functioning when they don’t need to be? Are there orphaned resources eating the budget?
Valuable feedback can also come in total cost savings, percentages of time instances were shut down over the previous month, and overall coverage of your cost optimization efforts. Reporting on what is working helps organizations choose how to address the challenges. Organizations need monitoring tools to discover the answers to these questions.
Following this cultural behavior shift, DevOps teams can transition from preserving, archiving, and destroying data to collecting and utilizing it for data-driven insights. This transformation in mindset toward cloud removes constraints and enables to innovate faster and more susainably.
Inspect your DevOps processes today and see how you can integrate a DevOps cloud cost control mindset. Consider automating cost control to lessen your cloud expenses and make your CFO’s life happier.