Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Three Ways to Keep Internal Cloud Computing Infrastructure Costs in Check

Achieving a high level of efficiency at a low level of risk

Many organizations are building internal clouds to capitalize on the agility cloud models offer and avoid the risk of putting mission-critical infrastructure outside of the enterprise's firewalls. The goal is to reap the benefits offered by public clouds, but with much higher levels of control, security, and availability. Building a private internal cloud, however, can come with a hefty price tag.

The Private Cloud's Critical Cost Drivers
The promise of increased agility and standardization in the supply of IT capacity is extremely compelling. Unfortunately, these benefits come at a cost, not only in terms of the technical challenges, but also in terms of the behavioral changes that can arise when users are given "self-service" access to capacity. A combination of low perceived cost of cloud capacity, lowered barriers to access, and a lack of visibility into new application requirements (requiring users to err on the side of caution) can combine to create a situation where too much capacity is deployed. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, plates are piled a lot higher when you help yourself than when portions are decided by the chef. In addition, unlike virtual environments that allow for customized sizing and growth, capacity requirements in the internal cloud will always be rounded up to the next available standardized container. As a result, organizations will deploy more hardware to avoid exceeding over-commit policies.

Costs can also climb when designing the private cloud. Although standardization will save money in the long run, building a cloud catalog that matches the precise capabilities that previous environments maintained can be cumbersome, often requiring retesting and rebuilding to suit application owners. Cloud designers also must consider the nature of self-service capacity models, which necessitate a demand buffer be created to fulfill new planned and unplanned requests, and to accommodate organic growth, future capacity requirements, failures, operational policies and more. Much like airline overbooking, this "whitespace management" often requires deep analysis as organizations can easily be left with too much or too little capacity.

The Path to the Efficient Cloud
To keep costs in check while achieving agility promised by internal clouds, organizations should follow three key principles:

  • Define policies governing how cloud capacity will be allocated and used. Considerations such as target density, business criticality, data sensitivity, service-level agreement (SLA) requirements, regulatory compliance, and security standards all factor into cloud usage policies. Defining these policies and leveraging them to qualify and route workloads can enable automated decision support, allowing the right workloads to be put in the right place without creating a small project every time. Policies should also be defined governing when and how resources will be given and taken away from applications in cases where they are under- or over-provisioned. Not only does this save time, but it ensures that workloads are placed into appropriate infrastructure.
  • Consider a "soaking pool" of capacity for profiling and housing new workloads. Create a dedicated infrastructure of resources to serve as an incubation center for new workloads. As the behaviors of new workloads are largely unknown, a soaking pool enables workloads to be profiled and analyzed before releasing them into the environment. This creates opportunities for infrastructure and operations teams to confidently size and place workloads without undue excess capacity. Application owners receive the fast response they want and reduce risk in assigning capacity and configuring virtual machines.
  • Measure efficiency for the cloud, not legacy environments. Avoid the temptation to use CPU, memory utilization or other legacy efficiency measures in cloud environments. The only true way to measure efficiency is to determine how much infrastructure is needed and compare this to how much is in use. By monitoring infrastructure requirements such as resource utilization and allocation, over-commit policies, density targets, adherence to business policies, security constraints and HA and DR strategies, this provides a "fully loaded" utilization metric that enables organizations to know exactly how much infrastructure is required to safely service workloads, allowing excess capacity to be accurately measured and reclaimed for other purposes.

According to James Staten at Forrester: "Success with your internal cloud won't come simply because you build it." Only by methodically analyzing the workload demands against the resource supply, and meticulously managing the placements of cloud instances and the resources allocated to them, can internal cloud environments achieve a high level of efficiency at a low level of risk, and ultimately provide a level of agility that will truly transform the way IT resources are managed - without breaking the bank.

More Stories By Andrew Hillier

Andrew Hillier is CTO and co-founder of CiRBA, Inc., a data center intelligence analytics software provider that determines optimal workload placements and resource allocations required to safely maximize the efficiency of Cloud, virtual and physical infrastructure. Reach Andrew at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


CloudEXPO Stories
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or personal computing needs.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by researching target group and involving users in the designing process.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to advisory roles at startups. He has worked extensively on monetization, SAAS, IoT, ecosystems, partnerships and accelerating growth in new business initiatives.
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like "How is my application doing" but no idea how to get a proper answer.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed by some of the world's largest financial institutions. The company develops and applies innovative machine-learning technologies to big data to predict financial, economic, and world events. The team is a group of passionate technologists, mathematicians, data scientists and programmers in Silicon Valley with over 100 patents to their names. Big Data Federation was incorporated in 2015 and is ...