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Saturday, Dec 15th

Cost optimisation in the cloud cannot be an afterthought

Cost optimisation in the cloud cannot be an afterthought

Harnessing positive results from migration onto cloud requires business objectives with tangible business outcomes according to keynote speakers at the ITWeb Cloud Summit hosted in Johannesburg this week, who stressed that cost optimisation is paramount in every step of the journey.

Darren Bak, lead business analyst at advanced Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner Synthesis says management of cloud computing must be prioritised as it can easily spiral out of control.

"The point of cloud is that as you lay down a service that should be the most you ever want to pay for it. The smallest unit of time for which a service can be charged is one second and so one second in time should be the most you ever pay for that and the second after that should be something less. If you are not building with that kind of attitude your cost will spiral out of control because you are focusing on building the application. The cost optimisation initiatives can be automated similar to how in DevSecOps you automate the security into the build so that people don't have to build for security all the time."

Bak adds that automation can increase innovation and lower costs as well as reduce risk.

"It's simple... it costs you on average (based on Gartner) $5600 for every minute of unplanned downtime. With cloud you can increase deployments, reduce your change failure rate and increase your recovery time. This calculation alone will save your organisation untold costs. It is vital to delve into the intangible benefits and seek value for the organisation."

Showing business value

Bak believes that while the careful management of costs will help to build the business case for wider use of cloud computing, it is also vital to choose projects that demonstrate the real value to colleagues, business partners or potential clients.

"I think the best approach is to identify something that has intrinsic business value to the company and using that as the proof of concept. A lot of people tend to use workloads that are safe but have no business value like moving an intranet site but when you show that to a business executive they won't care or know. If you move something like a digital environment or you are able because of cloud to reach a different location in Africa - if you are a South African company for example thinking of opening up a branch in Kenya, then you are using business value with a specific cloud use case. That is the most effective approach."

Maganathin Marcus Veeraragloo, chief advisor for information security at South Africa's government owned electricity company Eskom cautions that moving critical or valuable infrastructure, such as ICT systems, data systems, data bases or even networks, onto the cloud needs careful consideration.

"I think the biggest challenge in any organisation from a critical infrastructure perspective is loss of governance. Imagine this with Eskom going into the cloud. Once you lose the extent of control then it's a bit of a challenge. It can be a bit of a challenge telling the cloud provider how to handle your data and other critical assets. If you are using a public cloud with multiple tenants and scaling up it does make it a bit easier but you now have your data with other people."

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