In traditional data centers, monitoring is primarily about addressing operational concerns: making sure servers and applications are up and there’s enough memory and storage capacity to meet the demand.

Once you migrate your workloads to the cloud, monitoring changes. Uptime and capacity are still important, but there’s a third factor that’s equally vital: cost. The equipment in your data center may accrue additional costs, but you own that equipment, and there’s little you can do about those expenditures. Since you don’t own the equipment in your cloud, and you pay for what you’re using, monitoring allows you to adjust your cloud usage to your exact needs and optimize your cloud spending.

Cloud Waste Is A Major Component of Cloud Spending

It’s incredibly easy to waste money in the cloud. The cloud is dynamic by design, and instances and other cloud resources can be brought online without passing through any approvals process, so you lose some amount of control over IT spending simply by adopting cloud.

In addition, in house resources are traditionally sized to provide spare capacity, due to the lengthy provisioning process. If you stick to that behavior in the cloud, you’ll be purchasing capacity you don’t need for no reason; in the cloud, you can add additional capacity (and pay for it) just when you need it.

Also, of course, when you add equipment in the data center, it’s yours for the life of the equipment. In the cloud, you need to start thinking about the life of projects, or the life of applications, and start shutting down instances when they’re no longer needed. This can mean releasing development and test environments when an application is released to production, or shutting down an application at the end of every day and restarting it in the morning to avoid paying for unneeded CPU cycles.

Cloud Pricing Adds to Cloud Overspending

Besides the problem of over-allocated resources resulting in wasted spending, the complex pricing of resources in the cloud also makes managing cloud spending a challenge. There are many options and it’s difficult to evaluate all possible combinations of technology and spending.

Sometimes it’s more cost effective to reserve instances in advance; sometimes it’s more effective to buy capacity on the spot market. Sometimes you may save money by using the oldest technology that meets your needs; other times, it may be cheaper to upgrade to newer tech even if you don’t need all its features.

Getting spending under control is also difficult because it can be hard to match spending to specific departments.

Monitoring Measures Utilization and Usage

By using monitoring tools in the cloud, you can keep a much closer eye on your cloud spending. Monitoring can identify changes in resources, letting you know when new instances are brought online. You can then investigate to determine whether those new instances are necessary.

Monitoring can also help you track utilization of the instances you’re using and allows you to assess whether there’s wasted capacity or the opportunity to consolidate workloads onto a single instance.

Monitoring can also identify where you can benefit from policies such as end of day shutdowns.

And, of course, monitoring will help you ensure that you are experiencing the reliable uptime you expect from cloud.

Each cloud provider offers monitoring tools, but third-party products such as CloudHealth can be more full-featured and allow you to assess cloud utilization and cloud spending across multiple cloud providers. Contact VAST IT Services to learn how you can utilize CloudHealth and VAST View to keep an eye on your cloud from a financial as well as technical perspective.