Overprovisioning in AWS? Cost-control tools and strategies can help

For those organizations that have made the move to the cloud, old habits may be costing them dearly as they overprovision resources without any cost-control tools or strategies at the ready.

"No IT professional has ever been fired for overprovisioning," says Vittaly Tavor, founder and vice president of products at Cloudyn. There is plenty of precedence in the enterprise computing community to defend the concept of overprovisioning. After all, with traditional architectures, you must build your systems so they can handle peak capacities without grinding to a halt. However, resource provisioning doesn't work the same way in the cloud. The overprovisioning mindset is counterproductive, if not counterintuitive, when organizations move to the cloud. With cloud-based systems, an organization minimizes their costs when capacity is provisioned based on average, not peak, usage.

Is underutilization costing you money?

Sadly, many organizations that are leveraging IaaS- and PaaS-based systems are wasting money by underutilizing resources. And what does underutilization look like? In some cases, it is a simple as a company using the incorrect usage tier, and significant savings could be achieved without any detrimental performance impact if there was a movement from a medium-usage tier to a micro-usage tier. In other cases, it might simply be an inordinate number of EC2 instances running. It's not unusual to start up a virtual image, test something out and forget to spin the image down. Such inadvertent carelessness can result in recurring charges that can go on for months if the right checks and balances aren't in place.

Tavor admits that there are some organizations out there that run a pretty tight ship, where AWS and other cloud-based usage is monitored quite stringently, and utilization monitoring only identifies a minimal amount of waste. But at the same time, there are other organizations that have had a 70% decline in monthly usage fees after figuring out how to provision properly in the cloud. Most organizations using AWS fall between these two extremes, but even when the optimizations fall in the 5% to 10% range, that can mean a significant savings when a monthly bill is in the 10s of thousands of dollars.

In this interview with Vittaly Tavor, Cloudyn's founder explains why overprovisioning is so common, what the downside over provisioning is, what the downside of underprovisioning is and what steps organizations can take to ensure they're not wasting money on unnecessary cloud-based resources.

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