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Pay-as-you-go cloud services are enticing because they do just what they say — your business only has to pay for the services it uses.

This is great when you are in an unpredictable environment and have vastly different needs for resources at any given moment. However, pay as you go cloud does not necessarily equate to an inexpensive service, particularly if you are using a lot of resources on a regular basis.

Many companies have been shocked by their pay-as-you-go cloud bill! You can avoid costly bills when using pay-as-you-go cloud services, with some careful planning and optimization. Here are a few tips to keep your bills under control without sacrificing the services and resources you need to keep your business running.

1 – Only Migrate What You Need

While a lot of businesses are using a Cloud First philosophy, putting whatever they can on the cloud, if you have unnecessarily migrated an application you could be spending money that could have been saved. Every application you put on the cloud uses resources, which you have to fund, so take a look at what actually needs to be on the cloud before making the switch. This is especially good advice if you are trying a new pay-as-you-go cloud service and are not familiar with the typical bills yet. For instance, if your company has data that needs to be secured, this could cost more to keep on a public cloud than it would to keep it on site. While there are major security advantages to having your date on the cloud, it is worth being aware of the costs before you begin. It is well worth a thorough analysis of your programs and data to ensure you aren’t surprised by the costs and that you are not spending needlessly.

2 – Take Advantage of Auto Scaling

Many pay-as-you-go cloud services offer auto scaling features, creating a dynamic environment in which your resources automatically allocate or deallocate depending on demand. You can fine tune this auto scaling by monitoring your cloud usage to see what can be balanced, what is being underused, and what is taking up too many resources even at off-peak times.
Some IT teams are using third party services outside of the public cloud provider itself, to take a deep dive into resource usage.
Whatever scaling technique you use, make sure that it is truly blanking the load on your pay-as-you-go cloud service, so that your resources are optimized and your bills are not inflated.

3 – Beware of Multiple Cloud Models

It’s common for companies to use a multiple cloud provider model. Not every cloud service can meet every business need. However, when you have a higher number of cloud services, you have a greater demand on resources, and more bills coming in each month. If you can avoid a multiple cloud model and stick to one robust provider, you may find that your pay-as-you-go cloud service is more manageable and less expensive. One well-managed cloud service can be better than two or more that are not finely tuned. However, if you need to use multiple cloud service providers, you can cut down on your bills by making sure that you are only paying for the storage and resources you need on each provider’s platform. Make sure that you are not duplicating anything anywhere, unless it is specifically part of a security or backup plan and worth the cost.

4 – Explain the Costs to Staff

Some staff might think that the scalability of pay-as-you-go cloud services means that it is an inexpensive technology. Your cloud computing policies should detail the cost of these services, and how staff can manage their own use of resources to promote cost efficiency. Your staff should understand that cloud services are an asset that should be used wisely, with forethought and a view toward conservation. Consolidate any accounts and information that can be combined. Make sure that machines are not running when they don’t need to be — like turning the lights off in an empty room. And continually revisit employee training and education surrounding cloud computing issues and best practices.

5 – Making the Most of your Pay as You Go Cloud

While it is clear that costs can add up when you are using pay-as-you-go cloud, it does not mean that it is a technology you should avoid. This type of computing works very well for many businesses. It offers overall cost savings, especially when compared to the investment in infrastructure and staff hours that would be required to maintain similar structures on site.

As with many other technologies, the key to making the most of your company’s pay-as-you-go cloud is to only use what you need, and regularly monitor and adjust your practices to reflect this philosophy. Whatever you have put on the cloud should be there for a good reason, and you should not duplicate any information, accounts, or resources there. Come up with a solid plan for monitoring and analyzing cloud usage. You might use a third-party application to scale your resource down during off hours, or you may implement employee policies to keep a handle on cloud computing usage. Alternatively, you could subscribe to alerts from your pay-as-you-go cloud services provider to keep track of any usage that is getting too expensive for your budget.

The use of pay-as-you-go cloud technology is increasingly widespread and providers are dedicated to helping you make the most of your services. When you sign on to a pay-as-you-go cloud model, talk to your provider about your business goals. Find out if there are any solutions that would work well for your company to manage and monitor your cloud usage. When done right, pay-as-you-go cloud services can add a lot to your company’s success without breaking the bank at the same time. For more on how we can help with public, pay-as-you-go cloud, check out our managed public cloud service page.

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