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Reduce cloud waste with careful DevOps cost management

To keep up with swift business demands and managing the costs of the cloud, organizations can turn to DevOps. Follow these four principles to reduce waste.

Organizations worldwide have reacted to the COVID-19 crisis by lowering their expenditure. While the economy continues to reel from the devastating consequences, businesses globally are still trying to find effective ways to reduce costs without compromising business value.

With the surge in cloud computing use and cloud services consumption due to the pandemic, cloud resource management has become increasingly popular as organizations spend more money on cloud services.

What is cost management in DevOps?

Cost optimization is an essential requirement as cloud use and spending increase. As cloud adoption matures, organizations must use proactive cost optimization strategies. However, most organizations struggle to accurately forecast or control cloud expenditures.

To survive in the aftermath of a crisis, organizations should reduce expenditure and make investments to position them for growth. Additionally, organizations must adapt to changing market demands, company dynamics and customer expectations.

Due to the increased availability of cloud services, DevOps methodologies help organizations reduce the costs of software development, deployment and maintenance. Working in a DevOps environment fosters agility and speed, which means quick responses to business needs are crucial. However, if DevOps teams lack a clear strategy, they risk wasting time and money.

Can DevOps solve the cloud waste problem?

Cloud waste refers to cloud resources expenditures that go unused or underused. The ensuing wasted expenditure raises operational expenses without providing value and prevents those funds from going to other areas of the business.

Cloud waste is a significant impediment for technical and corporate decision-makers. Wasted expenses often occur when businesses provide more infrastructure than necessary. DevOps comes in handy here because it transforms how teams build and deploy software.

Organizations must begin to adopt the DevOps approach to software development to give consumers value and keep up with technological evolution. Take advantage of several of the essential characteristics of DevOps, such as holistic thinking, eliminating silos, quick feedback and automation to decrease cloud waste.

The image displays the four principles to eliminate cloud waste: quick feedback, holistic thinking, automation and no silos.
The four DevOps principles to eliminate cloud waste.

Think holistically

It is essential to solve issues quickly and cost-effectively. However, when working in DevOps, don't just focus on what you do best or prefer to do. Instead, consider the whole environment outside individual experiences. Holistic thinking entails considering remedies to issues outside of coding.

Eliminate silos

The DevOps principle of no silos implies not only eliminating communication silos, but also no access silos. This principle is suitable for cloud cost management concerns, such as running unnecessary computing instances. If an organization tasks just one individual with turning instances on and off, that is a single point of failure. Instead, enable admins to turn instances on or off as needed.

Prioritize quick feedback

To reduce cloud waste, locate the source of the waste and check if instances are sized properly. To find the answers to these questions, you must have rapid feedback and the right monitoring tools in place -- ideally, via a single dashboard.


The automation principle discourages IT teams from inventing unnecessary tools. This relates to addressing non-code issues. An existing tool that accomplishes what you are attempting to write will save time and simplify processes.

Improve cost management for DevOps teams

Below are five key strategies to improve cost management and avoid spiraling costs:

1. Compare prices

Provide information on the projected cost of the resources used upfront. This information should also include a cost comparison of resources in other cloud environments. This enables more control and promotes prudent spending.

2. Scheduling

When resources in cloud environments are activated, they incur costs -- even if they are not in active use. Schedule operating resources when they are required and expire them when they are not. This will reduce the effect on expenses.

3. Optimization

Control the amount of computing power in terms of CPUs and RAM for specific user groups. Create and maintain these restrictions by resource type, user or cloud environment.

4. Budget alerts

Seeing the monthly expenditure divided between groups and services helps promote cost transparency. Know which groups consume specific resources to assist with cost-benefit analysis.

5. Embed continuous cloud cost optimization into DevOps pipelines

Most businesses today run a delivery pipeline: Developers merge their work into a repository, trigger a build process and the releases reach the market quickly, thereby maximizing business value. Automate cost management to reduce cloud costs. Examine DevOps processes to discover how to insert a DevOps cloud cost control into DevOps pipelines. AWS and Microsoft Azure provide native cost management tools, although with limited capabilities.

Despite attempts to implement automation tools to manage the cloud development lifecycle and infrastructure costs, cloud expenses have skyrocketed. DevOps teams should shift away from keeping, archiving and discarding data. Instead, focus on data collection and analysis for data-driven insights. This shift in mindset produces faster -- and more sustainable -- innovation.

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