How Much Does a Cloud Cost? How Can You Calculate an Accurate Estimate?

A key benefit of using cloud computing is transforming capital expenses into operational expenses. This, however, means it’s important to have good estimates of the cloud expenses before you commit to the change.

Recently a customer needed help identifying what it would cost to run an application on the cloud. Here’s what we did to help them, which may be of interest to you as well.

First, we ran our product Snapshot to collect the application parameters of configuration, resource utilization and to map all dependencies. This chart shows all of these items

Then we used our cloud readiness analyzer to determine the best-fit vendor templates for that application based on resource consumption. In this chart, the green dot denotes the template that is the best fit for the application and its resource requirements.

This process also helps determine templates for hybrid clouds. Now, we can determine the costs for the application by summing the template costs.

This method also works well for multiple applications or workloads. In addition, the dependency mapping shows you how to spread workloads across multiple clouds.

With the accurate, estimate produced from this process, you are positioned to track actual costs versus your estimate. You will quickly catch any errors or pricing changes, and you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises

If you or one of your customers has a similar need and would like to learn more, I’m happy to help with a quick consultation or even a free demo of Snapshot.

How to Avoid the 4 Biggest Pitfalls of Cloud Migration Planning

The corporate equivalent of slasher movies, horror stories abound in which the rush to get a cloud solution up and running results in rampant mistakes, and organizations that are shocked when they receive their first cloud bill.

Trial and error are often accepted parts of technology development and innovation, however when it comes to cloud migration, the considerable potential for lost data, time, and money, requires a much more efficiently planned approach.

Many potential cloud customers aren’t aware of what they need to do to prepare for cloud migration. They often depend on their cloud suppliers to tell them what they need, without having a thorough understanding of those needs.

While having a dependable, trustworthy cloud provider offers multiple benefits, we all know that ignorance is rarely bliss in technology matters, and more than that, ignorance wastes time, money, and resources. Savvy cloud customers must know and understand these potential pitfalls of cloud migration planning to ensure a smooth and cost-effective transition.

  • Organizations often underestimate or don’t know the full scope of the configuration to be analyzed. 

When migrating servers to the cloud, it’s critical to have a complete picture of the organization’s current infrastructure and server inventory.  Without this information, it is easy to miss things that could lead to security risks and incomplete migrations.

A recent client of ours thought they had approximately 250 servers. They asked us to scan their several million IP addresses using our ISI Snapshot tool. We found they had hundreds more servers than estimated. Without this knowledge, the cloud provider could not have completed the migration without delays and costly rework.

  • They don’t know the current workload utilization: how much storage, CPU, RAM, and data transfer they consume.

In any data center migration, organizations need to know where they currently stand in terms of the types of the operating systems and network connectivity, how many disks are associated with each server, what applications are running on them, and what data they need to move or trash. This workload utilization information is critical to determining the resource levels or capacity needed for a successful migration.

Given the data-intensive requirements of monitoring the amount of capacity used by servers in real time, especially when a company employs thousands of servers, organizations often don’t have this essential capacity and data information readily available.

How does this information impact migrations? If an organization requests too much capacity, they will pay for capabilities they do not need. If they request too little, their applications could max out and shut down.

Each cloud provider uses their own unique methods for tracking usage and performance – and charges – so employing the proper tools and knowledge to right-size the virtual server environment pays off in saved resources and risk reduction.

  •   They are unaware of all the server and databases dependencies that exist – which applications are using which resources.

Organizations need to ask themselves, “If we remove an application, how many servers will stop functioning? Which computers are communicating with which other computers?” Identifying these dependencies ensures that all components of an application are noted to avoid partial migrations, poor placement of application components across cloud locations, and inefficient staging of the migration.

Sometimes organizations manually draw their application and server dependencies, using tools like Visio to map their current architecture. Unfortunately, the resulting map quickly becomes outdated, may not accurately reflect the configuration management procedures, and easily leads to an incomplete picture.

The right software tools can capture all dependencies and map them graphically to give companies a clear picture of what they have and what they need.

  • They don’t know how to determine what cloud resources the business really needs for optimal efficiency and how to map that to the cloud vendor’s offerings.

It’s important to assess holistically how the organization’s environment might fit into the cloud. From capacity needs to application dependencies – each factor impacts how the migration should occur.

For example, the migration may need to be done in stages, or the cloud migration team might need to move less complex applications first.  Cost reduction is one of the key benefits of moving to the cloud. If the organization isn’t selecting the right cloud resources to optimize usage and costs, it’s a wasted effort.

Working with tools that precisely model an organization’s current data center or servers in the cloud ensures the best possible transition to the cloud. ISI software analytic tools and services simplify, speed, and reduce errors in cloud migration and set organizations up for success as they transition to any one of multiple cloud environments.

To see how ISI’s Cloud Readiness solution works, and to avoid becoming a cautionary tale, please contact me to schedule a 10-minute demonstration.